As a history nerd, I've often wondered what exactly it is that draws me to certain people or times. For example, I love me some medieval India, especially the Mughal Empire. Maybe it's some past life thing, who knows? But it came up again for me while wandering around the National Hispanic Cultural Center exhibition New Mexico's African American Legacy: Visible, Vital, Valuable. I was reminded of this freelance job I had a few years ago in which I wrote short biographies of notable African-Americans, anyone from John James Audubon to Charity Adams Earley, people about whom I knew nearly nothing when I started but who inspired me through their courageous actions.
His brother, Chester, however, is totally my kind of guy. Chester and his wife Corine (aka Pert) owned Chet and Pert's Flamingo Lounge, the first African-
This is one of those exhibits that teaches you things you didn't know you wanted to know.
The compelling part of Legacy is the part many people ignore: the words. Yes, those giant placards on the wall, the ones normally full of information we all overlook—they're really awesome. I want to sneak into the NHCC late at night, take them off the wall, make photocopies and take them home with me. Or I just want them published in a book somewhere so I don't have to test whether the Alibi is willing to offer up bail money for my inspired, artistic shenanigans (I'm guessing no). But seriously, the information here is the kind of thing you just can't easily find with an Internet search. People such as Dr. James Dennis, who surely had a lasting impression on the community, are featured. Dennis' contributions came in the form of editing a newspaper called Southwest Review, being one of the first licensed African-American medical doctors in the state and helping to form the New Mexico chapter of the NAACP.