Hello to all readers of the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum Blog!
My name is Marisela Hernandez and I am an undergraduate History major and Music minor at CSU Fresno. I was born and raised here in Fresno and come from a large family of eight siblings in total. My hobbies include playing guitar, collecting records, and spending hours on end surfing YouTube. One "hobby" of sorts I've always liked doing from a young age is writing. Though now this "hobby" has basically consumed my entire collegiate existence, causing a great deal of stress in some cases, I am always proud and excited to read the final product.
Being a History major at a university, we typically enroll in a certain class that cover a specific time period, place, peoples, event, etc. From here we read a couple of books on such topics, attend class lectures, study our butts off for midterms and finals, and finally produce a paper on the subject. Although I've genuinely enjoyed the subjects and what I've learned about my own writing from papers, I'd grown a bit tired of not being able to truly create something new about our history.
It was during the time that I took a history class that actively contributes to Fresno State's public history project called "The Other Football", which covers the history of soccer in the San Joaquin Valley, where I really grew an appreciation and affinity for public history. We as students actually gained both the experience and knowledge to produce an archive that covered local people and areas. I was really excited to finally find a field of history I actually pictured myself becoming part of. It was possible to see and study the history of here and now, which is exactly what I get to discover, study, and create with my internship at the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum.
The Local AAHCMSJV Black Artist Profile Project I work on at the museum allows me to immerse myself in the subjects' world, both of whom so far have been recognized as Trailblazers in the community. Will Portis, a native of Akron, Ohio, came to California in the late 70s, and ever since then has used his artistic talent to give back to the community by painting murals and teaching his craft to the youth here in Fresno. Dr. Fitzalbert Marius, a history-making heart surgeon, World War II veteran, artist, poet, and author grew up in New York, living among the buzz of the Harlem Renaissance, and now shares his wisdom and experience with all those who cross his path.
The stories of these two incredible men took me down countless hours of rabbit holes because what I do requires a lot of background research to really understand the world they grew up in, and how the experience for African Americans in America has shaped them over time. I am very honored to share their stories, and be able to showcase what I can do as a “mini-historian” myself. I hope you enjoy the short documentaries that we’ve created with these two men, and I cannot wait to get more of them done.
Thank you! :)