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mpm1In 1942, President Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans the opportunity to be recruited into the Marine Corps. The African Americans who responded to this call were not sent to the traditional Marine boot camps; instead they were segregated – experiencing basic training at Montford Point, a facility located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Between 1942 and 1949, nearly 20,000 recruits moved through Montford Point.

Learn more about the Montford Point Marines when Sergeant Major Melvin O. Chestnut (retired) discusses “Fighting for the Right to Fight: A History of the Montford Point Marines” on November 6 at 3 p.m. in Room LL430 of the San Diego State University Library. The lecture is free, and reservations are not required. Sgt. Maj. Chestnut is quarter master, awards/scholarship at Montford Point Marine Association, San Diego Chapter 12 and is a speaker for the national organization.


The Marines who trained at Montford Point went on to serve as members of support units in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Some remained in the Marine Corps and later served in Korea and Vietnam. In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal—the nation’s highest civilian honor—to the Montford Point Marines.

This talk is part of the Veterans and Student Success lecture series of the SDSU Library sponsored by the Aztec Parents. Project partners include the Student Veterans Organization and The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center. Guests are welcomed to join the reception following the talk.


Last night’s “Saving the Murals & Lovin’ the Music” event was a big hit: good food, nostalgic music, cool decorations, and an entertaining and informative talk by Seth Mallios, chair of SDSU’s anthropology department, about the history of rock ‘n’ roll at SDSU. The winners of our writing contest were announced by former SDSU President Stephen Weber; congratulations to Cheryl Hinton, Donna Duarte, Edward Ortiz, Michael J. Anderson, and Dorothy Marshall! You can read excerpts from their stories online.

Below are some photos from last night’s event.

Enlarged images of posters and ticket stubs from SDSU's Backdoor concert venue.

Enlarged images of posters and ticket stubs from SDSU’s Backdoor concert venue.

Dr. Stephen Weber gives a prize to one of the winners of the library's writing contest.

Dr. Stephen Weber gives a prize to one of the winners of the library’s writing contest.

Photographs from past concerts at SDSU.

Photographs from past concerts at SDSU.

A member of the audience who is definitely in the Valentine's spirit!

A member of the audience who is definitely in the Valentine’s spirit!


Dr. Mallios tells the tale of the Ramones and the San Diego Chicken!

Good eats!

Good eats!

Seth Mallios studies the Rock 'n' Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

Seth Mallios studies the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

It’s been seen by Jimmy Buffet, Patti Smith, REM, and the Talking Heads. Eventually, you’ll be able to see it, too, once the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural has been restored and relocated to the San Diego State University Library.

Fundraising is underway to restore the 9’ x 14’ mural, which was painted in 1976 by students in the Chicano Art class and features a rock band composed of stylized Aztec warriors. The mural was located in an unfrequented hallway near the rear stage entrance to the Backdoor, a once popular concert venue in the former Aztec Center. While the mural wasn’t visible to concertgoers, musicians passed by it when they walked to the stage.

Seth Mallios, chairman of SDSU’s anthropology department, became concerned about the mural when the plans to demolish Aztec Center didn’t include saving the mural. He raised the necessary $15,000 to have the mural removed from the wall and stored. Now the San Diego State University Library is trying to raising the remaining funds needed to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural’s restoration and have it relocated to the library.

In conjunction with the mural project, the library is sponsoring a music-themed writing contest this year. In 500 words or less, you can share your favorite music memory, whether it was a rock concert, festival or band practice. The deadline for the contest is February 3, and the winners will be announced and prizes awarded at an event at the library on February 14. More information about the event and an online entry form can be found at Entries will also be accepted by mail at Great Music, SDSU Library, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-8050.

To raise awareness of and interest in the mural, the library is presenting a Valentine’s Day event called “Saving the Murals and Lovin’ the Music.” The evening begins at 7:30 in Love Library Room 108 with a free dessert reception, followed by a lecture by Seth Mallios titled “The Legendary Yet Unknown History of Rock ‘n’ Roll at San Diego State.” Winners of the writing contest will be announced during the event. Information and images of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural, as well as other murals the library hopes to preserve, will also be available at the event.

More information:

Writing Contest Entry Form
Saving the Murals Valentine’s Day Event
Seth Mallios’ list of the “20 Most Important Rock ‘n’ Roll Concerts at San Diego State”
SDSU Library’s efforts to save the Rock ‘n’ Roll (Backdoor) Mural

The Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series is sponsoring what should be a truly interesting panel on Monday, March 19. At 4 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library, four individuals involved in small press and cooperative publishing will discuss the ins and outs of their trade and take questions on the subject. Later, at 7 p.m., they’ll read from their own works. The panel members are

Chris Baron received his MFA in poetry from SDSU in 1998. He is an editor with San Diego City Works Press and is on the executive board for the Border Voices Poetry Project. He also teaches English and writing at San Diego City College and consults on writing programs at other schools. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals, including Pearl, Aethlon, The Journal of Sports Literature, Sierra Club Press, and City Works. Chris Baron
Tony Bonds has an MFA in creative writing from SDSU. He is the editor for Rainbow Publishers and Legacy Press, which publishes Christian children’s books. He has had short stories published in various online and print magazines, including Thieves Jargon, The Coffee Shop Chronicles, and A Year in Ink, Volume 5. Tony Bonds
Elizabeth Myhr is a managing editor for Marick Press, co-editor of Web Del Sol Review of Books, and online editor of Shining Horns at Raven Chronicles. She is an editor at Calypso Editions, which is an artist-run, cooperative press dedicated to publishing quality literary books of poetry and fiction with a global perspective. Her tasks at Calypso Editions also include online media, social marketing, and managing the day-to-day business. She also works as a freelance editor, and her writing has appeared in several journals including Alaska Quarterly Review and Poet magazine. She is the author of the vanishings & other poems. Elizabeth Myhr
Martin Woodside is involved with content production, finances, and development for Calypso Editions. His poetry chapbook Stationary Landscapes came out in 2009. He studied Romanian poetry on a Fulbright in 2009-10 and is currently translating Romanian poets into English. Martin Woodside

Whether you’re majoring in business, criminal justice, or biology, there’s a lot you can learn from these folks. Chances are, sometime in your future career, you’re going to need or want to publish, and it will benefit you to know what the editors, marketing people, and production people at the publishers of your choice actually do.

David MatlinAuthor David Matlin will read from his recently released novel, A HalfMan Dreaming, on March 14 at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library as part of the Spring 2012 Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series. The event is free and open to all.

Matlin is a novelist, poet, and essayist and the author of 10 books. His first novel, How the Night Is Divided, was nominated for a National Book circle Critics Award. Prisons: Inside the New America, published by San Diego State University Press, is based on a 10-year experience teaching in one of the oldest prison education programs in the nation. Matlin is an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at SDSU and teaches in the MFA program.

For more information, contact Meagan Marshall at Additional information can be found on Facebook by “liking” The Living Writers Series.

magic lantern showLovers swing over the city on bell clappers, defend an Indian princess from the ghosts of Famine and Fever, battle rampaging billy goats, turn marble statues to living flesh, rescue Maidens-Fair from the Fearsome Fire, and send “Vinegar Valentines” to the people they hate.

It’s all from an age before television and movies, when the Victorians mixed boisterous fun and touching pathos in their Valentine’s entertainment. Now The American Magic-Lantern Theater has recreated a gay nineties “Victorian Valentine Show” that captures the wonder and hilarity of the period. The SDSU Library is presenting two performances—one at 10 a.m. and the other at 7 p.m.—on February 14 to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and the library’s magic lantern exhibit, “Sources of Wonder: The Homer and Betty Peabody Magic Lantern Collection.” The performances, which are appropriate for adults and children 6 and above, will be held in Room LL108, and admission is free.

The show uses an antique “magic-lantern”—the multimedia projector of 100 years ago. The lantern rapidly projects spectacular color slides on a movie screen. The slides, many of them animated, illustrate Victorian Valentine stories, songs, and comedy. They’re dramatized by a costumed showman, singers, musicians, and by the audience, which provides the sound effects, claps, stomps, and joins in chants and sing-alongs.

For more information, email

Magic lanternBefore television and motion pictures—before even filmstrips and slide projectors—magic lanterns entertained and educated people by projecting colorful and fantastic images on walls and screens. From the late 18th century through the early 20th century, showmen and conjurers traveled from town to town, their lanterns strapped to their back, performing in taverns, barns, homes, auditoriums, and churches.

Outside of antique stores and museums, magic lanterns are now scarce, but the San Diego State University Library and Information Access has a sizeable collection of these fascinating devices, as well as more than 4,000 glass slides. Through June 29, 2012, you can experience the marvel of magic lanterns at the library’s exhibit titled “Sources of Wonder: The Homer and Betty Peabody Magic Lantern Collection.” The lanterns and slides on display in the library’s Donor Hall were donated by Betty and Homer Peabody, for whom the collection is named.

magic lantern slide
The exhibit features around 30 professional, toy, and domestic lanterns dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries and a large sampling of the different types and themes of slides, including caricature and comic slides, narrative slides, medical slides, elementary education slides, travel slides, temperance slides, and advertisement slides. It also includes a case displaying the different types of slides, including mechanical slides, as well as chromolithographic, photographic, and hand painted.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the American Magic-Lantern Theater will perform “A Victorian Valentine Show” on February 14. The show will be held at 7 p.m. in Room LL108 of the SDSU Library, and admission is free.

For more information about the collection and exhibit, please contact Special Collections at (619) 594-6791 or visit the online magic lantern exhibit. For exhibit hours, visit the Hours page on the library’s Website.

Some of you may remember a popular exhibit we had in 2009 titled “Creating Community: African Americans in San Diego.” The exhibit featured materials from various African American archives and collections housed in Special Collections. Since the time of that exhibit, a lot of people have been working hard to build a broader collection, one with a strong emphasis on the Civil Rights Era in San Diego.

That hard work has resulted in The Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection, named after Harold K. Brown, a prominent leader of the civil rights movement in San Diego. Brown is an SDSU alumnus (class of 1959) who later became the first African American administrator at SDSU. Mr. Brown is one of those people who worked hard to create this collection, so I’m going to let you listen to what he has to say about it in this video created by the Urban League of San Diego County:

On October 22 at 4pm, we’re celebrating the Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection with a reception at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Lynn Hawkes at

More about the collection:
Oral Histories in Special Collections
Creating Community Online Exhibit

For the first time in the series’ 30 years, the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series is being offered as a course at SDSU (ENGL 579). The folks who organize this program have done an excellent job of assembling an impressive roster of writers for their inaugural course, and, as always, the public is invited to hear these writers speak at evening readings during the fall 2011 semester. All of the readings listed below will be held at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library.

September 19: Fred Moramarco is a professor emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at SDSU and founding editor of Poetry International. He is the author or editor of seven books, including his most recent, The City of Eden. Fred Moramarco
Sarah Maclay is a clinical professor of English at Loyola Marymount University, book review editor of Poetry International, and the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Music for the Black Room, as well as three chapbooks. Her poems and criticism appear in APR, Ploughshares, FIELD, The Best American Erotic Poetry: 1800 to the Present, The Writers Chronicle, and elsewhere. Sarah Maclay
October 3: Daniel Shapiro is director of literature and editor/managing editor of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas. He is the author of the poetry manuscripts The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems and Child with a Swan’s Wings. His poems and translations have appeared in the literary magazines American Poetry Review, Grand Street, and Poetry Northwest and in the anthologies Burnt Sugar, Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, and many others. Daniel Shapiro
October 10: Ishion Hutchinson is a native of Jamaica and an MFA graduate of New York University. His work has appeared in the LA Review, Caribbean Review of Books, Poetry International, and the chapbook Bryan’s Bay. He recently won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry for his debut collection, Far District. Ishion Hutchinson
October 24: Shirley Geok-Lin Lim’s first collection of poems, Crossing the Peninsula, was published in 1980 and won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Her memoir, Among the White Moon Faces, received the American Book Award in 1997. She is the author of five books of poems, three books of short stories, two books of criticism, and two novels (Joss and Gold and Sister Swing). Lim is a professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Shirley Geok-Lin Lim
November 7: Richard Burgin is the author of 15 books, including the novels Rivers Last Longer and Ghost Quartet and the short story collections The Spirit Returns and Fear of Blue Skies. His book The Identity Club: New and Selected Stories and Songs was listed in The Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2006 and was listed in The Huffington Post as one of the 40 best books of fiction in the last decade. Burgin was the founding editor of Boston Review, New York Arts Journal and the founding and current editor of the internationally distributed literary journal Boulevard. Richard Burgin
CANCELED – November 21: Chris Abani’s first novel, Masters of the Board, published when he was 18, landed him in prison, as the Nigerian government believed the book to be a blueprint for a real coup. He has since published two more novels, two novellas, and five books of poetry, including his most recent, Sanctificum, in 2010. His 2005 novel, Graceland, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and a silver medal from the California Book Award For Fiction. Abani is a professor at the University of California, Riverside, and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award. Chris Abani
December 5: Tayari Jones is the author of three novels: Leaving Atlanta, which received the Hurston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction; The Untelling; and Silver Sparrow. She has received fellowships from organizations such as the Illinois Arts Council, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and The MacDowell Colony. Jones is an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University and will spend the 2011-12 academic year at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, researching her fourth novel. Tayari Jones

For more information about any of these readings, please contact Meagan Marshall at or “like” the Living Writers Series on Facebook.

Admiral Leendert heringRetired Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering, Sr. will discuss “America’s Dream Realized: Why You Are So Important” on Thursday, September 8, at 2:30 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library. The lecture and reception are sponsored by the Aztec Parents Fund and are free and open to the public.

During the last 10 years of his Navy career, Admiral Hering advocated for programs and supported efforts to better the lives of those who serve. He was instrumental in securing a number of highly visible legislative efforts–from payday lending protections to education benefits–for veterans and their families. He was recognized as a leader in sustainability and has received a number of prestigious state, local, and federal awards for his efforts in ensuring the Navy was responsible and accountable to the environment and a diligent servant of those resources provided by the taxpayer.

Admiral Hering retired from the Navy in 2009 after more than 32 years of service. He now serves as the vice president for Business Services and Administration at the University of San Diego. Please join us for the important event.

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