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Marin County Free Library branches will host “The Legacy of Marin City: A California Black History Story (1942-1960)” through Sept. 30.Photo courtesy of Marin County Free Library

Now through Sept. 30, Marin County Free Library patrons can experience a view of Black American life during World War II in Marin with a comprehensive exhibit, “The Legacy of Marin City: A California Black History Story (1942-1960).”

All 10 branches of the library system will host a display of photographs, keepsakes and personal remembrances from Black shipyard workers and their families that feature the journey of many families and individuals from the Jim Crow South to Marin City. Patrons can visit various branches to view each unique exhibit.

“A public library is a repository of stories, and those stories open windows and doors to lives you may not know or understand,” said Free Library Director Lana Adlawan. “We celebrate the stories of Black pioneers who came to Marin to start new lives, against incredible odds. This exhibit showcases the power of hope and love in families creating better lives for themselves and their future generations. MCFL honors this history and centers it as a story of the place we call home.”

The cumulative exhibit builds on the existing partnership with the Marin City Historical and Preservation Society, Marin Community Foundation, County of Marin, Dominican University and the Marin County Office of Education.

Author Felecia Gaston’s book about Marin City, “A Brand New Start … This is Home,” is now available at school and public libraries across Marin County. The book focuses primarily on the relocated workers and families who experienced housing and societal challenges during the war afterward.

The Free Library and its partners worked closely with Gaston to create the exhibit. A historian and respected leader in Marin City for decades, Gaston is the founder and curator of the Marin City Historical & Preservation Society, designed to celebrate Black American contributions to Marin City. She is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Performing Stars of Marin and was a 1999 inductee into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame.

“I am beyond excited to see Marin City’s Black history in 10 different libraries throughout Marin County,” Gaston said. “We are building community, increasing visibility to promote equality, connecting our communities, fostering appreciation and understanding of the significant contributions made by the many residents throughout the years.”

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