Centro de La Raza: John A. Taboada Legacy Photo Collection, 1970-1985
The 1960’s saw the largest and fastest growth of the Latino community in Long Beach—a growth of nearly 400%. This, coupled with political and social change, the rise of student unrest, the Chicano student movement at California colleges and universities, including CSULB, and the implementation of multiple federal War on Poverty programs, resulted in the establishment of the East Long Beach Neighborhood Center, also known as Centro de la Raza (Centro). The organization served thousands of diverse and economically disadvantaged community members with social programs in labor, housing, arts and culture, mental health, education, and more. In addition, the Centro launched the careers of many Latino leaders in the greater Long Beach area.
John A. Taboada
Between 1970 and 1985, the Centro’s programs were chronicled through the photography of John A. Taboada (aka “JT”), a former CSULB student and member of the local Chicano community. Members of the Long Beach Chicano Community History Committee, made up of former Centro members, have recently devoted countless hours to the digitization and identification of these rare images. The committee and the Historical Society of Long Beach have partnered to publicly display these photographs for the very first time in the exhibition Centro de La Raza: John A. Taboada Legacy Photo Collection, 1970-1985 which explores the story of this impactful community organization.