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Sunny Nash Enhances Skills in Tribal and Indigenous Studies

Sunny Nash author of Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's

Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist

Protecting Our Legacies, an educational program by California Indian Museum & Cultural Center in Santa Rosa, California, features California Indian history, cultures and contributions to civilization and modern lifestyles, in a specialized study with principles useful to many cultural preservation efforts worldwide.

Sunny Nash, recipient of an Honors Diploma in Media Law from the London School of Journalism in 2018, and syndicated newspaper columnist, is the author of Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, a civil rights era memoir on life with her part-Comanche grandmother. Nash’s book was selected by the Association of American University Presses as a Book for Understanding U.S. Race Relations, and recommended by the Miami-Dade (Florida) Public Library System for Native American Collections.

Protecting Our Legacies, California Indian Museum Santa Rosa, California

California Indian Museum Santa Rosa, California

Nash is incorporating the Protecting Our Legacies training into her existing journalism projects, research and scholarship, which include human rights, cultural heritage, information and communications technology (ICT), Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), law, and other areas affecting modernization in indigenous communities.

“We still live on one planet the last time I checked,” Nash said. “Yes, ‘we are one.’ And what we do on our little part of Planet Earth may affect climate or the economy of someone on the other side. And the planet seems to have gotten a lot smaller with growth of mass broadcast communications a few decades ago, and more recently, with the explosion of the Internet that allows instantaneous communication and collaboration with anyone on any part of the planet who has an IP (Internet Protocol) address.”

Modernization offers opportunities for global thinking, strategic critical planning for digital archiving of folk knowledge, research, scholarship, instruction and information access if all people are to acquire their international human rights, intellectual property rights and financial sustainability.

“California Native Americans and also Indigenous peoples worldwide should be allowed to profit from their persistence in maintaining, growing and passing knowledge down over generations,” Nash said. “Much of what they know came to them through folklore that has never been written down, but transferred through stories and customs, knowledge management at the very root of civilization on our planet. Thinking in terms of ‘we are one,’ I want to be of service to my planet in some way, at some time. After all, ‘we‘ can’t protect our civilization if ‘we‘ don’t know how to prepare our young with the tools they need to move our civilization forward.”

California Indian Museum & Cultural Center cultivates Youth Ambassadors.

First Lady, Michelle Obama, awards Museum Youth Ambassadors at the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, November 16, 2016

First Lady, Michelle Obama, awards Museum Youth Ambassador, November 16, 2016

According to museum reports, California Indians do not control some of their most valuable tribal cultural resources. To combat this issue, California Indian Museum & Cultural Center is developing consistent controls on artifacts, materials preservation, proper presentation of historical objects, correct usage, accurate identification, and true representation of traditions surrounding collected artifacts.  In addition, the Museum is increasing its personnel’s professional consultation and coordination expertise as cultural advocates and liaisons through training programs such as Protecting Our Legacies. Along with cultural sensitivity training, tribal museum professionals can promote respect for Native perspectives when loaning artifacts and exhibitions to the general public, valuable training for museum professionals in charge of any cultural collections.

A distinguished Alumnus of the World Intellectual Property Organization Academy in Geneva, Switzerland, in Advanced Intellectual Property (IP), Nash won an opportunity to participate in a prestigious IP training program offered under a new collaboration between the World Intellectual Property Organization, Korean Intellectual Property Office, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Korea Invention Promotion Association. Due to personal circumstances, Nash did not attend, but she uses her Academy IP training in Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions, and Software Licensing Rights to explore protections against exploitation of indigenous people’s traditions, knowledge and culture, which comprise potential means of economic growth and financial sustainability for currently impoverished indigenous communities.

“Intellectual Property Rights are Human Rights that need protection,” Nash said. “There are enough resources for all of us, if none become greedy.”

Software Licensing IP training equips Nash further in the area of IP rights to understand advantages and disadvantages of proprietary and open source software to help provide developing countries, where legal options, frameworks and policy are evolving. With access to software, they can preserve and digitize their folk knowledge. In addition, software they may develop in association with their efforts is also intellectual property that can provide royalties and other forms  of software development compensation.

The possibilities are real,” Nash said. “Look out into the world at the people. Hiding inside our comfortable little environs will not solve the problems facing our existence. We learn, not by throwing away what is known, but by incorporating what has been known in all our cultures for millennia. Retaining our intellectual wealth and profiting from it, while allowing others to do the same.”

To educate herself further, Nash studied Cultural Heritage Management offered by the University of Queensland in Australia, a program that explored cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage. The program is similar to that of the California Indian programs—to manage and conserve cultural inheritance for future generations. The Australian program included archaeological sites, and cultural locations associated with indigenous traditions.


Australian Aboriginal Farmers at Parker’s Protectorate, Mt Franklin. Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Franklinford, Victoria. Authors: Fauchery, Antoine (1823 – 1861) and Daintree, Richard (1832 – 1878). Public Domain 1858

In some cases, indigenous farmers in these locations were displaced by mining, commerce, construction, building and real estate development in the same fashion as indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, India and other places. In fact, some populations and their cultures were entirely wiped off the face of the planet by not only displacement, but also by war, slavery and genocide. The invasion of commercial and money-driven activities that caused mass human displacement did not compensate or take indigenous cultures into consideration.

“Further insult,” Nash said. “Was stripping people of their identities and culture, and stealing from them their intellectual property associated with their folk knowledge and hawking it like bandits in the New World.”

In the same way the Australian program is involving indigenous communities and training museum personnel, the California Indians increasingly are participating in making decisions concerning the preservation of their cultural heritage and its preservation. This means incorporating museum curation, as well as digital archives, each requiring completely different skills and competencies to perform and maintain, skills for which community members and volunteers need training. 

“It is all about the people,” Nash said. “I believe inclusion makes people feel more secure and that makes the world more peaceful. Bringing technology to underdeveloped parts of the world, no matter where those parts may be located, will benefit the people living there and give them greater access to information, education and productivity at home and on the world stage. People should be included at the table where rights and privileges are being served, and given the opportunity to learn the rules of the table, instead of being told ‘you’re not good enough to dine here.’”

© Copyright 2019. Sunny Nash. All rights reserved.




Sunny Nash Writes Kenny Burrell Biography

Sunny Nash, distinguished scholar and leading author on U.S. race relations, wrote a biography of Grammy-award-winning jazz guitarist, Kenny Burrell for the African American National Biography.

Man At Work by Kenny Burrell

MAN AT WORK by Kenny Burrell 1966

Nash was invited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and co-editor, Evelyn Higginbotham, to join the project in 2008 to write profiles of twentieth century jazz and rhythm&blues artists whose careers had influenced modern music.

Having developed an interest in Burrell’s music in 1966 with the release of Kenny Burrell’s album, Man At Work, Nash said, “I feel very comfortable with writing about Kenny Burrell. I’ve been listening to Kenny Burrell since my mother first played his albums for me when I was a child.”

The African American National Biography is a collaborative venture between the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the Oxford University African American Studies Center and the Oxford University Press. According to Harvard, Gates and Higginbotham hope the books will be used by scholars and will have a place in schools, libraries, and in African American homes. “What better way to understand the richness, complexity, and depth of African American history than through biography, because people’s lives are so complex,” says Higginbotham.

Man At Work by Kenny Burrell, 1966, Kenny Burrell MP3 Download Page

African American National Biography

African American National Biography

Review and purchase 8-volume hardcover  African American National Biography, a compilation of more than 4,000 articles on the contributions of African Americans to the history of the United States and the world. Also on the link, see other related titles on this subject.

Product Description: The African American National Biography presents history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on the life of this nation from the arrival of Esteban in Spanish Florida in 1529 through to notable black citizens of the present day.

“Burrell’s sound on Man At Work was so mellow, it was hypnotizing,” Nash said. “I loved the album then and I love it now.” At the time, Nash was starting her own music career in Houston, Texas, and singing at jazz venues around the city like the El Dorado Ballroom on Elgin with notables such as the Conrad Johnson Orchestra. “In 1966 when I started singing professionally, I was still in high school struggling to find my style,” Nash said. “I listened to Kenny Burrell and tried my best to copy his phrasing with my voice. That’s how much his music moved me, fingers gliding gently over the strings and striking sweet little chords among subtle harmonies fading slowly and disappearing into emerging and surprising resonance, and at the same time emitting that hynotic sound of skin on wood.”

“Just to give you an idea about the era in which Kenny Burrell was born,” Nash said, “The Great Depression gripped the nation at that time, causing families all over the world, including the Burrell family, to suffer after global financial systems collapsed; and the High Plains region of the United States was plunged into darkness in 1931 by black dust, deepening the Depression’s effects on families sinking lower and lower into poverty,” all of which changed the world forever.

Using her music knowledge and performing experience, Sunny Nash completed three assignments in the music categories of Jazz and Rhythm & Blues, among more than 4,000 articles in the eight-volume set of historical profiles of well known figures throughout the world, which included Kenny Burrell, Grammy award-winning guitarist, composer and jazz educator, born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 31, 1931. Nash’s other two assignments were jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry, and Rhythm & Blues pioneer, Ben E. King.

Read more about the life, career and music of Kenny Burrell:


Youngest of three sons, he was born Kenneth Earl Burrell into a poor family that enjoyed music as part of its daily life. Burrell’s mother played piano and sang in the choir at Second Baptist Church, Detroit’s oldest black congregation, organized in 1836 and part of the Underground Railroad, an invisible route ushering slaves to freedom before Emancipation. A piano in the home became the first instrument Burrell played as a child, performing once before an audience in his school’s auditorium. Listening to Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, saxophone was Burrell’s first love but his family could not afford the instrument,  particularly expensive due to the great demand for metal to manufacture military equipment and ammunition during World War II.

Burrell’s father played banjo and ukulele, which may account for Burrell and his brother’s fearlessness of stringed instruments. At age 12, Burrell settled for guitar, an inexpensive instrument made of strings and a bit of wood, because his family could afford to buy the cheap instrument. He learned guitar technique watching his older brother Billy play guitar at small clubs around Detroit and listening to records by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and the Mills Brothers that his older brothers brought home.

In 1946, when Burrell was 15, Billy had switched to electric bass and played with the Willie Anderson Trio at Club Sudan. Influenced by his brother’s electric bass and Charlie Christian’s electric guitar on Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and Harry James records in the early 1940s, Burrell liked the ability to solo due to the volume control that amplification gave formerly acoustic instruments. Following Billy to gigs, Burrell began sitting in with professional musicians at Club Sudan and other nightspots.

At Wayne State University, Burrell studied theory and composition, took private jazz and classical guitar lessons and spent evenings in clubs listening to saxophonist, Charlie Parker; and trumpeters, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. Burrell’s style in his first group with Tommy Flanagan and Milt Jackson’s brother Alvin was inspired by The Nat King Cole Trio, but changed when Kenny became interested in hard bop, fast-tempo improvisational music that emerged from bebop, influenced by blues, rhythm and blues and gospel, especially in piano and saxophone playing.

In 1951 at age 19, while in college, Burrell played with hard-bop trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie, and made his debut recording with Gillespie; bassist, Percy Heath; vibraphonist, Milt Jackson; and alto saxophonist, John Coltrane. Gillespie wanted Burrell to go on tour but Burrell wanted to finish school. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in music in 1955, he went on a six-month tour with Oscar Peterson. Moving to New York in 1956, he performed in clubs, in Broadway pit bands and on stage or in the studio with such artists as clarinetist and bandleader, Benny Goodman; vocalist and bandleader, James Brown; vocalists, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Tony Bennett; vocalist and pianist, Nat King Cole; tenor saxophonists, Gene Ammons, Stan Getz, Yusef Lateef and Coleman Hawkins; organist, Jimmy Smith; and pianist, Tommy Flanagan, born in Detroit one year before Burrell.

In 1956, Burrell recorded Introducing Kenny Burrell, All Night Long and All Day Long with trumpeter, Donald Byrd, born in Detroit in 1930 and a Wayne State University graduate. This session was followed by sessions with John Coltrane, Paul Chambers and Kenny Clark. In 1957 he recorded under the name “Kenny Burrell and His Four Sharps” for JVB. In 1960, Burrell signed with Columbia Records and released Weaver of Dreams, featuring Burrell’s vocals and guitar, but did not attract much attention. In 1961, Burrell recorded four instrumental sessions that ended up staying on the shelf until nine of the tracks were released in 1983 on the LP, Bluesin’ Around. Complete sessions were released in 2002 by Euphoria as part of Moten Swing, its jazz guitar re-issues. In 1963, he recorded Midnight Blue and in 1964, began a series of orchestral recordings, Guitar Forms, for Verve, which included a tribute to Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian, A Generation Ago Today.

Burrell moved to California in 1971 and recorded Round Midnight and Stormy Monday for the Fantasy record label. In the mid-1970s, he led jazz workshops at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and, in 1978, taught a course on Duke Ellington’s music entitled, Ellingtonia, the first university course on Duke Ellington and recorded a tribute, Ellington Is Forever, in 1975, one year after Ellington’s death in 1974. Known as Ellington’s favorite guitarist, although he never played with him, Burrell played banjo on Hot and Bothered by Ellington’s son, Mercer, in 1984. In 1985 and ’86, Burrell toured with the Phillip Morris Superband. In 1996, Burrell accepted the position as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he continues his teaching career today.

Beginning as a hard bopper, Burrell released 96 recordings; was featured guitarist on more than 200, including ones with Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones; and played on hundreds as sideman. His compositions have been recorded by artists such as Ray Brown, Jimmy Smith, Grover Washington Jr., John Coltrane, June Christy, Frank Wes and Stevie Ray Vaughn. As his career continued, his style achieved mellow richness. In 1997, he wrote and recorded a composition which the Boys Choir of Harlem that premiered at Lincoln Center; in 1998, wrote the Grammy award-winning Dear Ella, a Dee Dee Bridgewater performance; released Lucky So and So in 2001; received the 2004 Down Beat Jazz Educator of the Year Award; and was named an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2005. Visit  for more information on similar historical subjects.
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Cultural Alliance Long Beach Sponsors School Program by Sunny Nash


Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist

Cultural Alliance Long Beach (CALB) sponsored “How a Child Builds Legacy” to celebrate the anniversary of the renaming of Bobbie Smith Elementary School.

“Cultural Alliance Long Beach supports universal concepts of art, as more than traditional forms of creative expression,” said Victor Ladd, CALB Vice President. “Art embraces traditional forms, as well as the preservation of expressions of cultural heritage, which Sunny Nash will demonstrate in her presentation to Long Beach students.”

How a Child Builds Legacy - Student "Time Capsule" Activity - Smith Elementary, Long Beach CA

How a Child Builds Legacy – Student “Time Capsule” Activity

Sunny Nash and Smith Elementary Students, Long Beach CA

Sunny Nash and Smith Elementary Students

In addition to CALB, How a Child Builds Legacy is also supported in part by the Arts Council for Long Beach; Alta Cooke, former Jordan High School Principal; community activist, Carolyn Smith Watts; Robin Perry & Associates; Building Future Leaders; and the City of Long Beach. The program features an exhibition, interactive lecture, demonstrations, and a Time Capsule. Nash’s inspiration for this program comes from her training in archaeological interpretation with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bobbie Smith Presents "Time Capsule" to Smith Elementary Principal, Monica Alas

Bobbie Smith Presents “Time Capsule” to Smith Elementary Principal, Monica Alas

Nash refined the program using her study in United Nations Programmes involving diplomacy; world culture; universal access to knowledge; public political engagement; and global conversations on historical preservation, stewardship, social and gender issues, finance, folklore and art. “All of these areas seemed to come together for me,” Nash said. “That was the impetus for the Time Capsule.”

Using her exhibit, Nash introduces and encourages students to preserve daily journals, digital data, artwork, report cards, awards, memorabilia, photographs and keepsakes to create a record of their lives. Emphasizing early academic commitment and continued scholarship, Nash will share with students how her interest in preservation while in elementary school evolved into a journalism career and her tool for contributing to national and global conversations.

Sunny Nash Helping Smith Elementary Student Understand Legacy

Sunny Nash Helping Smith Elementary Student Understand Legacy

“My legacy began with my earliest realizations that I exist,” Nash said. “When I was quite young, I developed the desire to leave a mark of my existence for kids in the future to understand how my family lived and what we did with our lives—to leave our legacy—and show how individual choices can make a difference in a family; and how collective choices of families can make a difference to society.”

Items on display will be Nash’s newspaper columns about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement, published originally in the State Lines Section of Texas Magazine in the Sunday Edition of The Houston Chronicle. The column and other articles Nash authored were syndicated nationally by Hearst, Knight-Ridder and Black Conscience in New York.

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s by Sunny Nash

Selections from her column were collected into her book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, recognized by the Association of American University Presses as a book for understanding U.S. race relations, and recommended by Miami-Dade Public Library System for Native American Collections.

Bobbie Smith was the first African American elected to the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education, where she served 16 years as president; Smith was the first African American women elected to public office in Long Beach, California; and Smith was the First African American Head Librarian and Faculty Senate President at Long Beach City College.

Bobbie Smith Front of School

Bobbie Smith

Bobbie Smith said, “I am very pleased to have Sunny Nash present her work and interact with students at Smith Elementary. I have known and worked with Sunny on many projects through the years and appreciate her dedication to contribute to the culture of Long Beach.”


Sunny Nash Speaks at Khmer Conference


Sunny Nash – Author & Journalist

“My mother’s mantra was, ‘Do not tell me what you cannot do! Tell me what you are going do!'” Sunny Nash began her address at  the Long Beach, California, Second Annual Khmer Parent Association Mother-Daughter Conference, where she also exhibited a selection of her mother’s artifacts.

“I am honored to have been chosen to deliver the keynote address to the Khmer Mother-Daughter Conference,” said Nash, former nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and author of Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s about life during the Civil Rights Movement with her part-Comanche grandmother. Nash’s book, collected worldwide by museums, universities and libraries, is selected by the American Association of University Presses as a Book for Understanding U.S. Race Relations, and recommended by the Miami-Dade (Florida) Public Library System as a Book for Native American Collections.

“When I was growing up during the U.S. Jim Crow 1950s and 1960s, I saw my mother struggling to further her professional training,” Nash said. “It wasn’t easy. That was a time in which only a few women of any color were allowed to rise, unless, through marriage. My mother and father taught me that it was important for me to be able to stand on my own and complete at the highest level.”

The annual Khmer Mother-Daughter Conference presents useful tools to mothers and daughters’ emotional, professional and economic growth. Because the conference is hosted by the Khmer Parent Association, the event does not ignore fathers and sons, who are welcome to participate in furthering the understanding of their roles in the success of women in their families.


Chan Hopson

“The Conference is not only for the Khmer community,” said Chan Hopson, co-founder of the Khmer Parent Association and the organization’s executive director for more than twenty years. “We welcome the entire Long Beach community. Our audience comes from many different cultures in the area.”

Committed to helping as many Long Beach Khmer families as possible, the Khmer Parent Association brings meaningful programs to all segments of Long Beach. Hopson’s multi-culture civic and social activities increase understanding of the Khmer culture among the larger Long Beach population. Honored in 2016 by the California State Assembly as Woman of the Year, Hopson was also  named Woman of Distinction –  International Goodwill and Understanding in 2015 by Soroptimist International of Long Beach; and named by Senator Ricardo Lara in 2015 as Woman of Distinction for her role in addressing mental health issues such as PTSD in the Khmer community.

Long Beach, a city known as the Cambodian capital of the U.S., is home to the largest Khmer community in the world, outside the Southeast Asian nation, Cambodia. Khmer women and girls face similar experiences as other females the general population. The annual conference, which presents multicultural focus groups, mother-daughter discussion panels, question and answer sessions, exhibits and other activities, is a resource for all women and girls.

Because of the need for greater communication and education, this year’s Khmer Parent Association Mother-Daughter Conference was a collaboration with 70th District Assembly Member, Patrick O’Donnell; 2nd District Council Member, Jeannine Pearce; and Long Beach Neighborhood Association, AOC7 (Anaheim, Orange, Cherry & 7th Streets, representing the borders of the 2nd, 4th and 6th Long Beach Council Districts).  Special recognition for individuals and entities came from the offices of Senator Ricardo Lara, 33rd District, Supervisor Janice Hahn, 4th District, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, 70th District and Councilmember Jeannine Pearce, 2nd District.

Fostering discussion on topics affecting women of all ages, socioeconomic status and ethnic background, Chan Hopson was assisted by many organizations and individuals. To name a few: Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, 70th District, Councilmember Jeannine Pearce, 2nd District, our grassroot AOC7 Neighborhood Association and our long term sponsors: Dignity Health, St. Mary Medical Center and the Port of Long Beach and our other supporters such as Dr. Visal Nga Medical Office, Majestic Medical Clinic of Dr. Christina Lee, Blue Shield of California, A3PCON, Cambodian Advocacy Collaborative (CAA, UCC and Families In Good Health), Cambodian Family Center of Santa Ana, Long Beach Building Healthy Community, Latinos In Action, Long Beach Immigration Rights Coalition, Orange County Credit Union, Long Beach YMCA, Healthy Active Long Beach, City Language Access Department, Sophy’s restaurant and Joseph Tappero.

“The wonderful program of the conference wouldn’t be so smooth and beautiful without the hard work of our Planning Committee,” Hopson said. “Dr. Leakhena Heng Tappero, Lillian Herrera, Lindsay Gervacio, Jocelin Padilla, Karla Estupinian, Candace Yamagawa, Susana Sngiem, Sochetra Hong, Sinara Sagn, Mary Simmons, Roth Prom, Maribel Cruz, Vattana Peong, Martha Cota, Astrid Bashmakian, and Mark Anthony Paredes.”

Second Annual Khmer Parent Association Mother-Daughter Conference, Long Beach, California

Second Annual Khmer Parent Association Mother-Daughter Conference, Long Beach, California – Introduction of Keynote Speaker Sunny Nash, by Karla Estupinian, Field Deputy of Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, 2nd District.

Silhouette of Sunny Nash by Keith Jerome Lilly, Founder of Developing Future Leaders
Silhouette of Sunny Nash by Keith Jerome Lilly, Founder of Developing Future Leaders

Addressing issues affecting women of all races, Nash’s speech and exhibition highlighted examples her mother set for success, which Nash has written about in her popular blog, Race Relations in America.

Sharing stories of her mother’s hope, education and vitality, Nash exhibited a selection of her mother’s cultural artifacts and educational credentials. Some of the credentials were earned more than 60 years ago through correspondence courses by postal delivery of books and lessons, her mother’s only route to licensure and certification during the Jim Crow era.

“Only a few decades ago, my own mother had to create a path for herself that led around racist barriers,” Nash said. “Beginning in the 1950s, my mother found a unique way to skirt Jim Crow law forbidding her admittance to certain institutions of higher education, professional training programs and even trade schools.”

On mail-in correspondence training applications, Nash’s mother obscured her gender by using only her initials, and omitted racial identification altogether to avoid the risk of being denied admittance to courses that had no class meetings to reveal her race and gender.

“Until after the Civil Rights Movement,” Nash said, “My mother gained professional credentials using this method and hoped no one in the admittance office insisted on more thorough records. When some did, my mother quietly dropped out and forfeited the tuition. But that no refund policy did not stop her from searching for programs she could eventually complete via the U.S. Postal Service.”

Her mother’s earliest correspondence course credentials have been lost over time. However, Nash was able to locate her mother’s later credentials from the 1970s and 1980s. “Without those correspondence courses, my mother would not have qualified for the employment she was able to secure at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement,” Nash said. “My mother spent a great deal of time preparing and not really knowing if or how the preparation would pay off. But it did pay off–for her and for me.”

Sunny Nash’s Mother, Littie Nash, built a career for herself and demonstrated to her daughter the power of overcoming obstacles.



Certification Awarded by the State of Texas to Littie Nash

After the Civil Rights Movement, Nash’s mother, having already qualified for certain positions, applied for and obtained employment in her field of study–dietetics, nutrition for special populations, and food safety. She also became an award-winning baker and collector of historical recipes.

“I did not fully appreciate or understand the significance of my mother’s achievements, honors and awards until I began preserving and archiving her artifacts,” Nash said. “Until I was in the process of creating her archive, it had not occurred to me that my own mother, Littie Nash, was a leader in civil rights through her defiance of segregated education. It then occurred to me that she knew her actions were important. Otherwise, why would she have saved all these documents for me to find after her death?”

state-of-texas-licensure-coverAt the Khmer conference, Nash used her mother’s artifacts to demonstrate the value of preserving a mother’s past and suggested ways they could do the same.

“My message to the mothers, fathers, grandparents, daughters and sons attending the conference was to listen to each other even when the other seemed not to be paying attention,” Nash said.

There were many times that Nash, her mother and father were distracted by life and may have thought they were not being heard by the other, but Nash learned along the way that my mother and father heard her and responded to her needs. And she heard their counsel and encouragement to get an education, no matter what or how long it may take.

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) is an organization in the largest Cambodian population in the United States, Long Beach, California.

Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) is an organization in the largest Cambodian population in the United States, Long Beach, California.

“A major problem in many communities is communication,” Nash said. “I don’t mean language, as such; I mean being able to talk things out. Many young women, for a host of reasons,  do not talk about the things that are most important to them. Sometimes it is cultural to remain silent; sometimes, young women do not feel they are being heard; and often we do not ask young women the right questions and leave them feeling left out when it comes to conversations about their lives, such as racism and discrimination.”

Teen advocacy group, Khmer Girls in Action, helped to address racism and issues surrounding discrimination when they participated in a University of California, Los Angeles, survey of 500 Long Beach Khmer youth. Greg Mellen reported in the Press-Telegram that 56 percent of the surveyed Khmer youth listed racism and discrimination at work and school, and in language access. Other academic studies, Mellen wrote, indicate high stress among young Cambodian-American women.

“I was impressed with the large number of grandfathers, fathers and sons in the Khmer conference audience,” Nash said. “Making it truly a family occasion.”

An eight-year-old boy, staring at the picture of Nash’s mother in her cap and gown said,” all of this is like a history lesson. Was your mother back there in the time of Rosa Parks? And after the Civil Rights Movement, was your mother able to go to regular college without hiding behind the mailman? Like Rosa Parks was able to sit where she wanted on the bus?”

“You know your history, don’t you?” Nash asked the boy.

“I hope it is alright that I brought my son,” one boy’s mother said. “It is important to teach our sons this information, too. I believe it will help them grow into better men, and that will be a good thing for women.”

“Yes, it will,” Nash said.



Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication, Texas A&M University; Postgraduate Media Studies Certificate, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Arizona State University; Postgraduate Diploma, Instructional Technology, University of California, San Diego; and Postgraduate Digital Literacy Studies Certificate, Simmons College, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Boston; and international studies include Intellectual Property Law, World Intellectual Property Organization Academy, Geneva, Switzerland; Diplomacy, Culture and Communication, United Nations; Research Methodology, Digital Preservation, Online Archival Information Systems, University of London; and Archival Data Governance, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne.

Sunny Nash’s Appearance & Exhibition 
Sponsor – Developing Future Leaders  Future Leaders Logo


Sunny Nash Wins Grant to Present School Cultural Heritage Program

Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist

Sunny Nash, Author-Journalist-Photographer

Sunny Nash will present a cultural heritage preservation program in Spring 2017 at Smith Elementary School, renamed in 2015 in honor of Bobbie Smith, the first African American elected to the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education.

“Everyone has a legacy, even children,” said Sunny Nash, three-time winner of Arts Council for Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowships (2003, 2009 & 2014), a 2016 Arts Council for Long Beach Micro-Grant, and recipient of a 2016 American Business Women’s Association Shine Award. “Being a journalist, I am comfortable with research, fact-checking and history, integral components in constructing news and legacy, Nash said.

The cultural heritage preservation program for K-5 students at Smith Elementary will include a literary reading, from Nash’s book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, select articles from her nationally syndicated newspaper column about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement. The book is recognized by the Association of American University Presses as a book for understanding U.S. race relations, and recommended by the Miami-Dade (Florida) Public Library System for Native American Collections.

“I hope to acquaint students with the responsibility of controlling, documenting and preserving legacies they can start building right away,” Nash said. “This can be the beginning of what they leave to the American national treasure. I began building my own legacy at that age. If we convince students early enough how important it is to evaluate and edit their life choices and activities, and to document and preserve artifacts representing those choices and activities, we can change the world.”

Based on her recognition in U.S. race relations research, Sunny Nash writes a popular blog: Race Relation in America.

Nash will also host an interactive lecture, demonstrations, student discussions and an Exhibition, How a Child Builds Legacy, supported in part by the Arts Council for Long Beach; Alta Cooke, the first African American principal of a Long Beach high school, David Starr Jordan; and the City of Long Beach, California.

Bobbie Smith, for whom Smith Elementary was named, said, “I am very pleased to have Sunny Nash present her work and interact with students at Smith Elementary. I have known and worked with Sunny on many projects through the years and appreciate her dedication to contribute to the culture of Long Beach.”

Bobbie Smith Front of School

Bobbie Smith – Bobbie Smith Elementary School, named in her honor in 2015; Smith was the first African American elected to the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education, where she served 16 years as president; Smith was the first African American women elected to public office in Long Beach, California; and Smith was the First African American Head Librarian and Faculty Senate President at Long Beach City College. (Photo: by Sunny Nash)

Smith Elementary Principal Monica Alas said, “Mrs. Bobbie Smith has been a role model to all of my students since the school was re-named in December of 2015. Her partnership with Sunny Nash will benefit our students with the exhibition highlighting authentic published journal entries and unique art collection.”

Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Texas A&M University; a Postgraduate Diploma in Online Instruction and Technology from the University of California, San Diego; and an Adjunct Professor Graduate Certificate from the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University through the Poynter Institute. Nash studied Visual and Information Literacy at the Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston, Massachusetts; and Career and Technical Education at Texas A&M University. Nash earned Research Methodology and Digital Records Preservation certificates at the U.S. Library of Congress and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in Washington DC; Texas State Library and Archives in Austin; Idaho Commission for Libraries in Boise; and the University of London.

Nash completed U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Certificate programs in Cultural Heritage Management; Cultural Resource Management; Archaeological Collections Management; Archaeology Interpretation; Interpretive Archaeology; Communications and Records; and Archaeology Administration, Law and Ethics. Recently, Nash wrote a DOI Cultural Heritage Case Study about the preservation of her childhood home. Her study reveals the historical relevance of a family that seemed typical during the mid-twentieth century when Nash was the age of Smith Elementary students to whom she will be presenting the cultural heritage preservation program.

“When I was growing up, I certainly did not think my family and my home were significant,” Nash said. “And the house does not and has never contained anything of any commercial value. However, my mother taught me to start saving little pieces of our existence and that is what I did, including family stories I heard from the elders. I want to show Smith Elementary students how to preserve and organize their journal entries, digital data, artwork, photographs, keepsakes, report cards, ticket stubs, concert programs and memorabilia to create a lasting record of how they spent their lives, similar to collections of notable historical figures archived in repositories. I want students to understand, though, that they do not have to be famous or have a lot of money in order to build a legacy they can be proud to preserve for posterity.”

The wisdom of her construction contractor, Julian Narro, led Nash to realize that her modest wood-frame childhood home may have more purpose than a shelter for commonplace household belongings her late parents left behind. “The home may have historic importance if rehabilitated properly,” Narro said. “We have to be careful not to change things too much and to use replacement materials that match the original construction materials.”

Building on her DOI Cast Study, Nash’s cultural heritage program at Smith Elementary will look beyond the structure and examine what may be commonly mistaken for junk. Although the contents of her childhood home have no resale value, Nash will demonstrate that select items in the house possess historical characteristics, as do items she will encourage the students to preserve. To demonstrate the historical worth of their collections, she will exhibit published column reproductions, based on her own childhood memories.

Students will be instructed in simple methods of preservation, care and storage their personal treasures.

Roscoe slide

Uncle Roscoe’s City by Sunny Nash Illustrated by Internationally Renowned Swedish Artist, Rolf Laub


Drawn from her childhood, Nash’s newspaper articles were originally published in the State Lines Section of Texas Magazine in the Sunday Edition of The Houston Chronicle, and syndicated nationally by Hearst, Knight-Ridder and Black Conscience Syndication of New York.

“To most people, these articles would simply be old faded newspapers,” Nash said. “But to research scholars, these old faded newspapers represent historical archaeology. And even if they do not represent anything of any scholarly value right now, I think we should get our students into the habit of cultural preservation and historical archaeology, saving what they feel should be kept because we do not know what researchers will be looking for in the future. Preservation helps all of us become stewards of our culture and society, and gives us a sense of pride and desire to protect our neighbors and communities.”

Sunny Nash’s journalism and photojournalism are collected by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, Schomburg Center in New York, Library of Congress in Washington DC, U.S. Presidential Libraries, university archives, academic collections and international libraries and museums. These items represent Nash’s life in the home where she grew up with her parents and maternal grandmother, Bigmama. “At the time I was writing these articles about my family, home, neighborhood and dreams, I had no idea they would ever serve any educational purpose, be syndicated all over the world or be collected in a book,” Nash said.

From 2005-2008, Nash won YMCA grants to conduct after-school classical music, literature and photography programs in Southern California elementary  schools. Nash also won grants to conduct literary and photography programs in Houston, Cleveland, New York, Newark, Santa Fe, Nashville, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

For decades, Nash–who completed several U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) programs in First Amendment Rights, Communications and Law, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), Forensics, and Population Genetics–has conducted literary and photography workshops in juvenile and adult criminal justice facilities around the country; published articles on juvenile justice; contributed to scholarly publications on crime; and spoken nationwide to diverse audiences on reducing crime through participation in the arts, historical projects and cultural preservation.

Sunny Nash designed Juvenile Art Programs to Help Center's Students

Sunny Nash Designed Juvenile Art Program in Mask Making to Help Juvenile Center’s Students Learn New Methods of Expression

“These activities have important effects on students–encouraging them to appreciate and protect the culture of their communities,” Nash said. “I want people to lift their vision, and develop a sense of worth other than financial and not think of their world, their existence in the world and the people in their world as disposable commodities. I want them to see this place where we all live as our world, a place we need to care for and build legacy around, based on human values, and not simply on monetary wealth.”

Sunny Nash Producer of the Year Award

Sunny Nash Producer of the Year Award

In 2006, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., invited Sunny Nash to join Harvard University’s African American National Biography, an eight-volume collection published by Oxford University Press in 2008 and now online. Winner of a 2014 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Award to moderate the national series, Created Equal, Nash was also a 2015 finalist for a Guggenheim Award, nominated by former Houston Chronicle publisher, Tony Pederson. Recognized by Women in Photography International, Nash’s photographs are currently touring internationally with the Smithsonian Exhibition, Reflections in Black: a history of black photographers, 1840-present, published as a reference volume in 2000 by W.W. Norton in New York. Nash’s historic photographic and document reproductions, and oral histories, The Peterson Legacy, exhibited at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, won a 2014 Ottis Lock Endowment Award & Research Grant. Nash received the Charter Communications 2004 Television Producer of the Year Award and, while under contract at the University of Texas Health Science Center UTTV, she won a nomination for the Robert F. Kennedy Documentary Journalism Award.

Through its mission: To foster creativity and culture, enlivening communities and enabling a thriving economy, the Arts Council for Long Beach is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for the arts, helps fund Long Beach, California, artists like Sunny Nash, arts organizations and arts projects, and encourages private individuals and donors, to give and support artists and projects like the cultural heritage preservation program Nash will be presenting next year to students at Smith Elementary School.

© 2016 Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash Fulfills Carnegie Installment

Photographers can learn from curator, Sunny Nash, how to research, restore and reproduce historical photographs and documents to create image archives for digital preservation formats and online exhibitions.


Sunny Nash installed historical materials at the Carnegie History Center in Bryan, Texas, through a grant from the East Texas Historical Association (ETHA) pertaining to her study, The Peterson Legacy: Images & Words, an oral history and exhibition of antique photographs, military records, deeds and marriage licenses, which were displayed last year at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Lock 5 Volumes

Five Hard Cover Volumes Peterson Papers, Documentation & Research

ETHA established the Ottis Lock Endowment Award and Research Grant in 1984 to commemorate Ottis Lock for lifelong interest in the history, heritage and folklore of East Texas. The grant allows expansion of a contribution by research team, headed by Shawn Carlson, of which Nash and Sue Winton Moss were members, at the Texas A&M University Center for Environmental Archaeology, commissioned in 1993 by the State of Texas. Nash conducted oral history interviews, restored and reproduced historic photographs and papers; collected genealogical data, ancestral memorabilia, military records, deeds, marriage licenses, letters and church history; and conducted an Ancestry “Case Study: From Oral History to Excavation,” which qualified Nash for the Lock grant for further research on the rural East Texas landowners.

Peterson Lifeways book cover

African-American Lifeways in East-Central Texas

The final, African-American Lifeways in East-Central Texas: The Ned Peterson Farmstead, helped facilitate nomination of the 19th Century Peterson farmstead to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C. “The research is a micro-cosmic examination of rural black life–19th Century through the present,” Nash said. To attract global online audiences to this historical study, Nash will employ the principles of the emerging discipline—visual literacy—a teachable set of skills that enables a person to understand a subject by viewing photographs, documents, illustrations, charts and graphs.

Sunny Nash - Peterson Exhibition at Bush Pres. Library

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum “The Peterson Legacy”  Curated by Sunny Nash

Nash introduced plans to create an exhibition of her research in a speech to the College Station Historic Preservation Committee, and received a Lock grant this year to enhance the exhibition with discussion aids, handbook, online scholarly research guide, and five volumes of original research documents, which are now at the Carnegie.

“Combined with text, visuals and oral history have intrinsic qualities to allow more critical examination, extraction and interpretation of meaning,” Nash said. “And pique viewers’ curiosity in a shared past, present and future. The Lock research grant allows me to become part of that future in attracting global online audiences to the study of history.”

Sunny Nash earned a Bachelor of Arts, School of Journalism, Texas A&M University; Graduate Certificate, Instructional Technology, University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor Specialization, Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications, Arizona State University; Professional Development, igital & Visual Literacy, Simmons Graduate School of Library & Information Science.

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s

Nash’s book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement was selected by the Association of American University Presses for its value to understanding U.S. race relations; and the Miami-Dade Public Library System recommends Nash’s book for Native American collections. Women in Photography International recognizes Nash for photographs collected for the Smithsonian Exhibition and international tour, Reflections in Black. A resident of Southern California, Nash is a three-time winner of Arts Council for Long Beach (California) Artist Fellowships (2003, 2009, 2014).


Sunny Nash on Artist Panel

(Photo: Ebony Hamilton)  Sunny Nash Documents Storefront Churches

(Photo: Ebony Hamilton)
Sunny Nash & Exhibition Display
Shopping for Hope: a photographic study of storefront churches across America

Sunny Nash, internationally acclaimed photojournalist, author and three-time winner of a Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowship, will be on an artist panel to discuss the popular exhibition, REINVENTORY, at the Collaborative Gallery along with the other 2015 Professional Artist Fellows and exhibition curators of .

The artist panel on Thursday, August 20th from 5–7pm, to discuss the REINVENTORY Exhibition, which opened on July 10, 2015, with a reception for about 250 guests, is an encore event before the show closes, Saturday, August 22.

Appearing on the panel with Nash will be dramatist, storyteller and performer, Yulya Dukhovny; award-winning filmmaker,Pamela K. Johnson; Textile artist, social activist and scholar, Carole Frances Lung; and award-winning artist, Olga Lah; and curators, Marco Schindelmann, Artist Professor of Voice and Director of the University Opera at the University of Redlands, who has performed as a soloist, throughout Europe and Japan, and Kamran Assadi, who has for many years been an advocate, active member and creative leader in the Long Beach arts community.

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Sunny Nash

“I absolutely love how the curators handled my storefront church images,” Nash said. “I would never have thought of the arrangement they chose. So much of the success of an exhibit depends on how curators place the art. It definitely affects how art patrons view and respond to the work.”

Sunny Nash, recognized by Women in Photography International, uses literature and visual media to preserve history, and to document contemporary urban life. Nash’s part of the REINVENTORY Exhibition includes a selection of 20 images from her collection, Shopping for Hope: a photographic study of storefront churches across America–New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Santa Fe and Nashville.

The Collaborative Gallery is located at 421 W. Broadway in Long Beach, California. For information on this event and other Long Beach arts news, contact Cynthia Lujan of the Arts Council for Long Beach.

Sunny Nash Documents Storefront Churches

Sunny Nash Author & Photojournalist

Sunny Nash
Author & Photojournalist

Photojournalist Sunny Nash first began her collection, Shopping for Hope, a study of storefront churches across America,” 20 years ago when the U.S. was experiencing a rise in violence occurring in urban, and especially storefront, churches.

“Churches were burning, ministers were being attacked and killed,” Nash said. “But those incidents were not the the only reason for my fascination with storefront churches. I saw these structures as representing an integral part of American culture and folklore, expressions of hope in hopeless neighborhoods. And they were disappearing before my eyes. In some cities, I was there days ahead of the wrecking ball.”

Nash, recognized by Women in Photography International, uses literature and visual media to preserve history, and to document contemporary urban life. A selection of 40 of the Nash Shopping for Hope images from New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Santa Fe and Nashville will be on display at the Collaborative Gallery, 421 W. Broadway, Long Beach, California, in honor of her 2015 Arts Council for Long Beach Artist Fellowship.

Screen Door Church by Sunny  Nash

Screen Door Church by Sunny Nash

The show curators, Marco Schindelmann and Kamran Assadi, will also feature works by other 2015 Arts Council for Long Beach Artist Fellowship recipients, who appeared together at the Long Beach Museum of Art. They include: Dramatist, storyteller and performer, Yulya Dukhovny; award-winning filmmaker, Pamela K. Johnson; Textile artist, social activist and scholar, Carole Frances Lung; and award-winning artist, Olga Lah. Curator, Marco Schindelmann, Artist Professor of Voice and Director of the University Opera at the University of Redlands, has performed as a soloist, throughout Europe and Japan. Curator, Kamran Assadi, has for many years been an advocate, active member and creative leader in the Long Beach arts community.

Reflections in Black: a History of Black Photographers, 1840 - Present

Reflections in Black: a History of Black Photographers, 1840 – Present

“I began photographing storefront churches in Houston in 1989,” Nash said. “And those burglar-barred structures with crooked crosses landed me a cover story when I was a columnist for the Houston Chronicle’s Texas Magazine. From there, I got a feature on ABC Network, Good Morning Houston, and an exhibition at the Houston Public Library. Soon, I got an invitation to speak at the Holocaust Museum symposium, “Church Burnings: A Community Response, A Town Hall Panel Discussion.”

In 1991, New York’s Schomburg Center for the Study of Black Culture began collecting Nash’s Hope images, and featured Nash photographs in a Schomburg symposium on religion in America. In 1992, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. acquired 52 images for its inventory on religion. In 2001, two of Nash’s photographs toured internationally with Smithsonian Exhibition, Reflections in Black: a history of black photographers, 1840 – the present, which was published by W.W. Norton.

Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement, a best-selling memoir selected by the Association of American University Presses as a book for understanding U.S. race relations; and recommended by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida for Native American collections. homepage

© 2015 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 

 ~Thank You~

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Sunny Nash Honored

Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash

The FOCUS Learning Community at Texas A&M University (TAMU) honored Sunny Nash with a FOCUS Block.

FOCUS (Foundations of Continued Undergraduate Success) is a mentoring and personal growth program for first-year TAMU Regents’ Scholars, who meet and interact with or learn about Sunny Nash, and other graduates and professionals associated with the University, such as Robert Gates—former TAMU president (1999-2001), 22nd U.S. Secretary of Defense (2006-2011), under two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom–whose FOCUS Block has also been created.

In the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Science, and the Health Science Center School of Public Health, FOCUS introduces students to a unique learning experience through FOCUS Blocks. The blocks represent an array of fields and academic areas through professionals like Nash–a 1977 TAMU graduate, among the first dozen black women[1] and the first African American to graduate with a degree in journalism [2]–who won a nomination for a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for television documentaries in education and medicine. The work was collected by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston in 1992.

In addition to its mentoring program, FOCUS also provides professional staff guidance and coordinated monthly activities for students. Students may also participate in the optional Keathley Hall Living-Learning Community. “Having a FOCUS Block[3] is an opportunity to share with students my years of studying at the University, and the professional career I pursued afterwards,” Nash said. “I hope I have done something in my life that will help others.”

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s by Sunny Nash

Regarded by contemporary reviewers as a leading writer on race relations in America,[4] Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement, selected by the Association of American University Presses for understanding U.S. race relations, and recommended by the Florida Miami-Dade Public Library System for Native American Collections.

In 2015, Nash received the Ottis Lock Endowment Research Grant and Award. Named California writing Fellow in 2009 and 2015[6], Nash is published in anthologies, journals, magazines and historical publications; collected in literary volumes; and cited by popular and scholarly references. In 2014, Nash received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to moderate a panel on the NEH program, Created Equal,[7] at the Carnegie History Center. In 2007, Nash joined Harvard University’s African American National Biography[8] (Oxford University Press, 2008). Charter Communications named Nash 2004 TV Producer of the Year. In 2003, Nash won a California Public Corporation for the Arts Fellowship.

Reflections in Black: a History of Black Photographers, 1840 - Present

Reflections in Black: a History of Black Photographers, 1840 – Present

In 1999, Nash joined the Smithsonian project, Reflections in Black: a History of Black Photographers, 1840-Present, (W.W. Norton, New York, 2000), and her images toured internationally with the Smithsonian exhibition.[9] Recognized by Women in Photography International and the African American Photographers Guild, Nash’s photography is collected by the Schomburg Museum in New York; and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

“When I was attending Texas A&M University, I never thought of myself as a pioneer. I was simply a student trying to graduate from a University I had been observing since childhood from my Candy Hill neighborhood. As it turns out, three Candy Hill girls were among the first black women to graduate; all of us in the 1970s, my neighbors and school friends–Karen Walton (’70), who became the first female African American Texas A&M graduate, and Lillian Lucas (‘71), the second.”

Sunny Nash, a popular blogger on Race Relations in America, a national speaker and former syndicated newspaper columnist, is a broadcast journalism and mass communications graduate of Texas A&M University, and studied Visual Literacy at Simmons College Graduate School of Information and Library Science in Boston, and Instructional Technology at the University of California, San Diego. Sunny Nash lives in Southern California.


[1] Intended for All, 125 Years of Women at Texas A&M,

[2] Fulfillment of a Dream African Americans at Texas A&M University,

[3] Sunny Nash FOCUS Block,

[4] Jim Crow in the American West,

[5] Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s,

[6] Sunny Nash California Artist Profile,

[7] NEH,

[8] African American National Biography,

[9] Reflections in Black International Tour,

[10] RFK Award Noination,

Sunny Nash Wins Endowment Award in History

Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash

“As a journalist, I learned many years ago that news is history in the making,” said Sunny Nash, winner of the 2014-15 Ottis Lock Endowment Award and Research Grant. “As a writer-photographer, my goal with the Lock grant is to attract audiences to history.”

Through historical research, photographic restoration and archival document reproduction Nash plans to develop approaches that excite audiences about history,  employing principles of an emerging classroom and library discipline—visual literacy—a teachable set of skills that enables a person to understand a subject by viewing images, such as photographs, documents, illustrations, charts and graphs. “I will combine technology-based visual and aural literacy with digital literacy derived from reading texts to engage several modes of learning and enhance the study and understanding of history.”

Nash’s visual literacy model to complete her photographic and oral history study, The Peterson Legacy, will depict a micro-cosmic examination of early African American life, a perfect enticement to bring academic researchers, and university and local school students into libraries and others from around the globe onto a scholarly online research guide, which Nash will develop using the Lock grant. “Online research is an ordinary part of any student of researcher’s life, one reason a guide about the Peterson family and homestead will be so useful,” said Nash, who was part of the original archaeological team that facilitated the nomination of the family farm to the 19th Century Peterson farmstead in southern Brazos County to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C.

“Scholars need to be able to find as many trustworthy sources of information on a topic in one place as possible,” Nash said. “That is simply the way the academic world and the rest of the world, for that matter, exist today. Most every aspect of life involves some form of technology.”

“The Peterson historic photographic restorations, oral history interviews and antique document reproductions have intrinsic qualities that penetrate deeper than the surface of standard data collection, allowing a more critical examination, extraction and interpretation of meaning,” Nash said. I guess my treatment of those qualities are what helped me to win the Lock Award. A combination of visuals, written text and oral history gives the viewer a glimpse of cultural history and may pique curiosity in a shared past, present and future.”


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