African American Military Experience Exhibit to run free until next spring at cultural center in Long Beach

The new mini-museum, the “African American Military Experience Exhibit,” is delving into all aspects and nuances of military experience among Black soldiers in the United States, at the African American Cultural Center of Long Beach in Bixby Knolls.

An exhibit that kicked off on Veterans Day will be running through May 28, celebrating different themes of the lives and accomplishments of Black soldiers, according to exhibit curator and AACCLB board member Sharon Diggs-Jackson.

Diggs-Jackson said the exhibit focuses on how African Americans have supported and fought in American wars in spite of the inequalities that they were facing.

For instance, Black soldiers came home to segregated bathrooms and restaurants, she noted, “so that’s why we talk about it as the experience because military service for African Americans affected their entire life.”

“We want people to understand this totality,” Diggs-Jackson said.

The exhibit is free to the public with the following hours:

  • Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., which are days that include tour guides

The theme for this month and December will be U.S. military history and the overall military experience for Black America, Diggs-Jackson said.

Coming months are scheduled to showcase themes including:

  • January 2022: “Military Heroes and Medical Corp”
  • February 2022: “Long Beach Military Service and Heroes of the Sea”
  • March 2022: “Women’s History Month,” highlighting women who served and the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of Black aviators
  • April 2022: “Long Beach Takes Flight, featuring McDonnell Douglas and Boeing Aircraft”
  • May 2022: “Salute to all Long Beach Veterans”

The African American Military Experience Exhibit made its grand opening last week in collaboration with an existing exhibit, Forgotten Exhibits, co-owned by Sharon McLucas, who showcases a traveling museum of African American artifacts.

For more information on scheduling a group or private tour, contact Sharon Diggs-Jackson at 562-739-5276 or email the AACCLB at [email protected]

The African American Cultural Center of Long Beach is currently located at the Expo Arts Center at 4321 Atlantic Ave.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at