Creating Community Oral Histories
President's Leadership Fund
In conjunction with "Creating Community: African Americans in San Diego," the President's Leadership Fund generously sponsored the oral histories of Leon Williams, Reverend George Walker Smith, Bishop George McKinney, and Harold Brown. Facilitated and conducted by SDSU Outreach Librarian Gloria Rhodes, the histories primarily document the political and social struggles and successes these men faced as African Americans in San Diego. Also included in this section is Dr. Shirley Weber's oral history, conducted by oral historian Dr. Susan Resnick and sponsored by the John and Jane Adams Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Harold K. Brown
Civil Rights Leader and SDSU Administrator
Hal Brown first attended San Diego State College in 1953, on a basketball scholarship. His studies were interrupted by two years of military service, but he eventually graduated from SDSC. In 1971 Brown became the first African-American administrator at SDSU.
Bishop George McKinney
Bishop George Dallas McKinney was born the ninth of fourteen children on August 9, 1932, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In San Diego, McKinney started St. Stephen’s Church of God in Christ in 1962 with a vision for the church to be a lighthouse in the community, teaching and equipping people to live abundantly.
Reverend George Walker Smith
Reverend George Walker Smith was born in Hayneville, Alabama in 1929. After seminary, Smith left Pittsburgh to lead the congregation at the Golden Hill United Presbyterian Church in San Diego. In 1956, when Smith arrived in San Diego, Golden Hill United Presbyterian Church was, according to Smith, the only integrated church in San Diego at the time.
Dr. Shirley Weber
Chair and Professor of the Africana Studies Department
In 1972 Dr. Weber became an assistant professor of speech at San Diego State University. She helped to develop the curriculum for the then newly-created Africana Studies Department. She is currently Chair of the Africana Studies Department.
Leon Williams was born in Oklahoma, but moved to Bakersfield, California during the Great Depression. He received a BA in psychology from San Diego State College in 1950. In 1969, Williams became the first African American elected to the San Diego City Council as a representative for District IV. He later became County Supervisor in 1982.