A walk through life in South Colton from 1890-1960

(L-R) Henry Vasquez, Tom Rivera, and Frank Acosta

15-04-13-CSUSB–(L-R) Henry Vasquez, Tom Rivera, and Frank Acosta at California State University, San Bernardino on Monday, Apr 13, 2015. Photo by Robert A. Whitehead/CSUSB

When Tom Rivera, Henry Vasquez and Frank Acosta embarked on their South Colton Oral History Project, they merely wanted to interview those who made their homes in what was known for years as “the Mexican side of town.”

From left, Henry Vasquez, Tom Rivera and Frank Acosta.
The interviews gave them what they wanted in the rich, sometimes hard, remembrances of growing up there. But in the doing they also introduced residents to Cal State San Bernardino, a campus on which most of their subjects – beyond 70 by now — had never set foot.

On Wednesday, March 2, at 6 p.m., the three friends will share the stories of growing up in South Colton, and how those stories parallel the history of Cal State San Bernardino, which is in the midst of commemorating its 50th anniversary.

The free event will take place in the university’s John M. Pfau Library, PL 4005.

A 5:30 p.m. reception will precede the presentation.

“The experience of participating in an interview on campus,” said Rivera of so many long-time Colton residents they spoke to, “has resulted in a new-found appreciation for CSUSB as a valuable community resource, and as a vehicle for furthering their family’s educational and professional advancement.”

Armed with a $10,000 grant from Cal Humanities, Rivera, Vasquez and Acosta launched their project in 2013. The videotaped interviews document the life stories of people born and raised in a part of Colton that for 70 years had isolated the city’s Mexican-American population.

The proposal for the project was first presented to Cesar Caballero, dean of the CSUSB Pfau Library, by Rivera and local retired educators Acosta and Vasquez. Rivera retired from CSUSB a few years ago as associate dean of undergraduate studies after 40 years at the university.

The video interviews will be housed in the library’s Special Collection Archive.

Complimentary parking will be available for the event. Visit the parking kiosk at the main entrance of campus on University Parkway to secure a free parking permit.

For more information on the lecture, call (909) 537-3447.

Set in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, CSUSB is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015-2016, CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually.

Posted in 50th Anniversary, Community Events, Events