SAN BERNARDINO LOCAL HISTORY
IN REGARDS TO CIVIL RIGHTS
San Bernardino, California was a small town in the early part of the 20th century. The citrus business and the Santa Fe railroad were the main industries at that time. This town was like many towns in the United States. It had many different ethnic groups. In San Bernardino there were hispanics,blacks, and orientals. Also like many towns in the United States back then it practiced segregation.
The local movie theaters had roped off sections for minorities. Many local restaurants posted "White Trade Only" signs and the local swimming pool was off limits to these groups except for a certain day of the week.
Minority children could not join the Boy Scouts or have a paper route. Even as adults working at the Santa Fe they had to use seperate washrooms. They were discouraged in high school from taking College preparatory classes and guided instead into vocational education classes. Those that made it to college were also steered clear of certain fields because of prejudicial feelings and encouraged to take another.
Carl Clemmons, Masako Hirata and Irene Leon all grew up in San Bernardino and were interviewed to share their perspectives of life growing up in San Bernardino during those times in the early half of the 20th century.