From Ernest Dillihay, Executive Director
The Cultural Legacy Project
The past is prologue. The Beginning of our 3-year / 3-phase series of 50th anniversary celebrations acknowledging milestones in the history of the Inner City Cultural Center took place in 2015, with a stopover in 2016.
At “The End” of the 3 / 3 process, we acknowledged and celebrated our 1967 inaugural season that took place 50 years previously.
This past is prologue to a new beginning and a new chapter in the annals of the Center’s history, which is what our Cultural Legacy Project is all about.
The Inner City Cultural Center foreshadowed events to come. Our 1967 inaugural season reflected the ICCC’s basic operating principle of multi-cultural diversity and inclusion that went on to launch a thousand careers, and began an unparalleled cultural and historical legacy in the city of Los Angeles, if not the nation.
Talents from all ethnicities gathered to create art, write and present classical productions and premiere new productions, and to witness the dedication of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library.
Hollywood royalty such as the wife of the late Gregory Peck, Ms. Veronique Peck, held fundraisers to support the Center and its Langston Hughes Library.
C. Bernard Jackson, the ICCC co-founder, artistic and executive director, envisioned the Langston Hughes Library as a place for an “…. increased collection of documents and artifacts by and about the cultural and artistic life of the Afro-American, Asian-American, American-Indian and Spanish-speaking Americans…”.
The Inner City Touring Company, traveling around to the surrounding communities, could “… demonstrate some of the works created by minority authors, playwrights and composers.” This was to be a cultural oasis in the urban cultural core of the inner city.
Even before multi-culturalism was a word in the English lexicon, its original genesis was the Inner City Cultural Center. Thus, the “O.G.,” i.e., the “original genesis” of the multi-cultural arts movement -- based on diversity, equity and inclusion -- was the Inner City Cultural Center. This is the cultural and historical legacy that we honor and preserve.
As we acknowledged the 1967 inaugural season, we presented the Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center Legacy and Diversity & Inclusion Awards to artists and cultural workers who have embraced the work of diversity and inclusion in their respective stage, screen or television careers.
At the same time, we announced our Cultural Legacy Project to honor and preserve the legacy of the Inner City Cultural Center and C. Bernard Jackson.
The Cultural Legacy Project will begin with housing, preserving and digitizing the 55-year archives of ICCC, its alumni, and L.A.-based artists, arts organizations and cultural workers associated with ICCC, and will culminate with the design and construction of a new Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center and the C. Bernard Jackson Memorial Library.
This Library will fulfill the original genesis of the 1967 inaugural season and Langston Hughes Library dedication, and will also honor C. Bernard Jackson, the man and his mission. As Mr. Jackson said, “Art may be the only tool we have left to save ourselves from destruction.”So, as we embark on this project, we hope you will help us build The Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center / C. Bernard Jackson Memorial Library and the vision of the society we imagine in our mind’s eye, a better world supporting the people’s art and cultural history.
The End? We doubt it. We have arrived full cycle and the past is indeed prologue. Thank you.