Santa Clara University

English department

California Legacy Project


Dear friends of California Legacy Project,

As our year draws to a close, we'd like to recap our accomplishments as well as remind you of some of our newest features.

This year, we've published two books that reflect the diversity of our California literary subjects:

Black California,edited by Aparajita Nanda, is the first comprehensive anthology celebrating black writing throughout California history. It pieces together poetry, fiction, essays, drama, and memoirs that shape the African American literary tradition in California. Ranging from excerpts from freed slaves to pieces from beat poets, these writings reveal dreams, disasters, achievements, failures, discrimination, and restoration, revealing the complexities of the black California experience.

Black California: A Literary Anthology
Edited by Aparajita Nanda
paperback, 6x9, 384 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59714-146-8

Frozen Music, edited by David Chu, reveals the stories behind California's unique and diverse architectural feats, as well as interviews with their renowned architects. These excerpts come from novels, memoirs, essays, and poetry, and demonstrate a myriad of ways in which we describe, experience, and share architecture. Whether you're interested in finding out how the iconic Golden Gate Bridge was built or are curious about the architectural styles of the historic Missions, this collection is sure to deepen and expand your thoughts on California's architectural legacy.

Frozen Music: A Literary Exploration of California Architecture
Edited by David Chu; Foreword by John King
Paperback, 6 x 9, 264 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59714-137-6

Big Read

Even in 2011, Jack London's presence is felt throughout the Santa Clara community. This year, the Santa Clara City Library Foundation was one of 75 not-for-profits- including arts and cultural organizations, libraries, and universities- to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant to host a Big Read project between September 2010 and June 2011. The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature; its mission is to "restore reading to the center of American culture." The Big Read in Santa Clara, California focused on London's The Call of the Wild. Activities took place between March-April 2011, and all were considered to be a great success.

Fifteen Santa Clara organizations were involved with this grant. Major events were hosted by the Santa Clara University's California Legacy Project, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and the de Saisset Museum; Mission College, the Santa Clara Unified School District, the Triton Museum, and the Santa Clara City Library. Activities, exhibits, book discussions, and other events were also provided by:

  • Read Santa Clara
  • Mission City Memorial Park
  • Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society
  • South Bay Historical Railroad Society
  • Anime Group of Santa Clara
  • Santa Clara Arts & Historical Consortium
  • City Council
  • City Youth Commission

This year was the first time Santa Clara undertook a city-wide reading program. The Santa Clara City Library Foundation staff wrote the grant; they were amazed that every local group they contacted about participating in The Big Read was enthusiastic. They received a $6,000 grant from the NEA, and were matched by $6,000 in local funding. Events and activities included:

  • Book discussions at various venues throughout the city
  • Demonstrations by Canadian dog sled historian Jeff Dinsdale (see our write-up in the Santa Clara Weekly!)
  • An exhibition focused on Father Bernard Hubbard, who led annual expeditions to explore the "wilds" of Alaska
  • A keynote speech by Jack London expert Dr. Daniel Dyer
  • A kick-off & book giveaway at Mission College
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read has been provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Boeing Company, the Poetry Foundation, and the Ford Motor Company. For more information about the Big Read, please visit

Nature Dreaming
Nature Dreaming, our most recent radio production, seeks to develop our understanding of place, community, and natural history within the California landscape, as well as celebrate the connections between humans and the natural world they live in. The series draws upon dramatic readings of California Landscape writing and commentary by prominent humanities scholars. Throughout the year, we've been adding videos of interviews and commentary to our site and to our YouTube channel. You can watch these on our website.

The California Legacy Project has had a great year so far. We've published more books, added more to our ever-growing website, and participated in local community events. We've enjoyed working with our fellow university organizations such as the de Saisset museum and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. We've been Twittering and YouTube-ing, incorporating the modern benefits of social media technology to enhance our California cultural and literary heritage. We even watched our own Project Director give a sledding demonstration in a 4-wheeled cart with four of his Alaskan & Siberian huskies! We are proud of California Legacy Project's developing presence in our community and we look forward to our next initiatives.

Hoping you all have a wonderful spring,
The California Legacy Project

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