San Bernardino was a small town in the early part of the 20th century. The citrus industry and the Santa Fe railroad were the main employers at that time. This town was like many California towns and was populated by many different ethnic groups. There were and still are Hispanics, Afican-Americans, Japanese -Americans and Chinese-Americans. Also like many towns during this time these groups faced segregation in their daily lives.
The local theaters had roped off sections for minorities. Many local restaurants posted "White Trade Only" signs and the local swimming pool was off limits to minorities except for the day before the water was changed. Minority children could not join the Boy Scouts or have a paper route. Even as adults working at the Santa Fe railroad whites and minorities had separate washrooms. Carl Clemons, Masako Hirata, and Irene Leon, grew up in San Bernardino before World War II and offer first hand accounts of life at that time.