Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

July 24, 2011
In History's Spotlight: Cornel West

WEST.JPGBorn: June 2, 1953

Known for: Cornel West, a John F. Kennedy High School graduate, is a social and economic philosopher. He is professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.

Background: West was born in Tulsa, Okla. His father was a civilian Air Force administrator and his mother a teacher. West grew up in Sacramento before moving east and earning degrees from Harvard and Princeton. West's 1993 "Race Matters," which sold 400,000 copies, touched a nerve in the American public and triggered a national debate on race issues. He was also part of former President Clinton's National Conversation on Race. West received the Lannan 2005 Prize for Cultural Freedom at Shiloh Baptist Church in Sacramento, his childhood house of worship. The award recognizes work celebrating the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry and expression. His latest book is "Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism."

A highlight: Irene B. West Elementary School in North Laguna Creek is named for West's mother, who was a teacher and a principal in the Elk Grove Unified School District for 27 years.

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at mdolgushkin@library.ca.gov.

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at agraham@saclibrary.org.

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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