BLACK HISTORY MONTH – Multimedia show covers Jena 6, post-Katrina life

Daria Dameshghi

Daria Dameshghi
Contributor

In celebration of Black History month, San Diego City College World Cultures Department presented “Uncommon Grounds,” a multi-media slideshow of George LeBeaud’s photography.

LeBeaud’s photography was a touching documentation of post Katrina survivors, Mardi Gras Second Line, the Jena 6 anti-noose rally, the March for Social Justice and the rebuilding of New Orleans. His photos have brought attention to the continuous violation of Human Rights. Co-director for World Cultures Karen Lim feels LeBeaud’s photos “represent a lot of struggles African Americans had.”

George LeBeaud says he “strives to uplift people into becoming better human beings”. Uncommon Grounds is a testament to his dedication of opening peoples minds to the harsh reality of these events yet also showing hope of people uniting, helping and overcoming these struggles to make changes and thus make things better. According to San Diego City College student Tyane Lopez his photography represents a “Different side than what they show in the news.” In talking to a few of the City College students after the show, they were surprised at how little they knew about these events and how little coverage they felt it received in the media.

LeBeaud’s photography coupled with the “Uncommon Grounds” dialogue written and produced by DJ Watson and Bennie Herron intensified LeBeaud’s photos, portraying injustice and poverty and added a voice of strength during pictures of people rising up in stand for freedom and justice. George LeBeaud, World Cultures, the Black Studies department and City College have come together to bring art as a means of educating and honoring Black History.

George LeBeaud grew up in New Orleans but left his hometown to go to college and soon after enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps. During his military training in the Hawaiian Islands, the wildlife, rainforests and beautiful valleys of the tropical terrain perked his interest in photography. Yet, LeBeaud’s interest in photography was put on hold while he focused on more pressing matters like staying alive during a time of war. It wasn’t until he left the Marine Corps and went back to New Orleans that he became an active photographer. His passion for documenting the “many actions of my people’s struggle for self-determination” led him to become an activist photographer of the civil rights/liberation movement. Artists Gordon Sparks, James Vanzee and Roy Decavern have all inspired LeBeaud to become a better photographer just like “Uncommon Grounds: Photography of George LeBeaud” may be an inspiration to City College students.