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Susan D. Anderson is curator of “Collecting Los Angeles,” a new initiative at the University of California Los Angeles that gathers, preserves, interprets, and makes accessible collections documenting the remarkable multiplicity of cultures and at-risk hidden history of this region.

An accomplished historian, author, editor, and project manager, she served as managing director of “L.A. As Subject,” an association of archives and libraries hosted by USC Libraries, and curator of “Allensworth: 100 Years of the California Dream,” a statewide, touring exhibition sponsored by the California African American Museum, the California Parks Department, the California Legislative Black Caucus and the California Community Empowerment Foundation. Her March 2008 lecture, “Pobladores, Pioneers and Civic Power: L.A.’s Early African American History,” for the Autry National Center accompanied the exhibit, “All the Saints of the City.” As Visiting Professor at Pitzer College, she chaired the April 2007 Claremont Colleges Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies conference, “Buried Treasure: Discovering Los Angeles through its African American Past”podcast at She lectured on “Everybody’s Black History: Understanding L.A.’s African American Legacy Since the 19th Century,” for the 2007 Scripps College Humanities Institute. Two of her 2006 Lois Langland Alumna-in-Residence talks at Scripps College, "Next Stop, Allensworth: How Black Politics Shaped California Democracy, 1850 – 1918," and "’Many a Glorious Enterprise:’ The Colored Women's Club Movement and the Women of Allensworth" are podcast at She has moderated public conversations with community elders and historians on the legacy of African Americans in Los Angeles at the Huntington Library, Second Baptist Church and the Southern California Library.

A contributor to the Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion since 1999, she is the author of "Rivers of Water in a Dry Place: Early Black Participation in California Politics," in Racial and Ethnic Politics in California, edited by Michael Preston and Byran O. Jackson, published by the Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, and; "A City Called Heaven: Black Enchantment and Despair in Los Angeles," in The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century, edited by Allen J. Scott and Edward W. Soja, University of California Press. Her three-part report, African American Political Strength, Background and Implications for Los Angeles: A Framework for Analysis, Discussion & Action was commissioned by Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas. A correspondent for the PBS Frontline special, “L.A. is Burning: Five Reports from a Divided City,” she has appeared on national media, and began her career as a journalist. Her articles, essays, poetry and fiction have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Nation, Mother Jones, Black Scholar, The Massachusetts Review, Obsidian, Xavier Review, LA Weekly, LA Architect, Quarterly Review of Black Literature and other publications. Her book, Nostalgia for a Trumpet: Poems of Memory and History was published by Northwestern University Press in April 2008.

Ms. Anderson served on The Mayor’s Arts Council and was principal author of its report, The Arts and Culture: Priorities for the City of Los Angeles. She was also principal investigator for the report, The Power of Art: The Arts as an Effective Intervention Strategy for At-Risk Youth for The California Endowment. She has been an arts consultant for MOCA, ArtStorm, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Los Angeles Urban Dance Festival and the Virginia Waring International Music Competition. She is currently a member of the History Council of the California African American Museum, and The League of Allied Arts and has served on the boards of directors for the International Green Belt Movement, the Jane Addams Conference, The HeArt Project, Dunbar Economic Development Corporation and the Southern California Library. She has consulted on editorial projects for the Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The UCLA Center for Community Health.

Susan D. Anderson received her B.A. at Scripps College in Claremont, California and her M.B.A. at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she was president of Black Graduate Students in Management, and received the Thrifty Corporation Award, and the Academic Achievement Award from the Industrial Relations/Human Resource Management Department, for her original research on the history of race in the American labor movement.

Writer/Historian + Curator, Collecting Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles

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