• 619.435.7242
  • 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado CA 92118

Current Exhibit

Now Open!

The Coronado Historical Association is proud to announce the opening of its latest exhibit, "An Island Looks Back: Uncovering Coronado's Hidden African American History".

Coronado, once a barren peninsula in 1886, witnessed the birth of a town that would become a thriving community. Little known to most, African Americans played a significant role among the early pioneers who shaped Coronado's foundation. Despite the challenges of the land bust of 1888, a resilient group of African Americans laid down roots, establishing successful businesses, owning property, and becoming civic leaders at the state level. Their children attended integrated schools, participated in local clubs, excelled in sports, and went on to achieve success in higher education.

Many of these pioneers were also patriotic military veterans, serving in the segregated American military. The ranks included Civil War veterans, Buffalo Soldiers, and those who fought in both World Wars. However, by the late 1920s, racial restrictions emerged, implemented through restrictive property deeds common throughout the United States, leading to a decline in Coronado's African American population by the early 1940s.

A transformative moment occurred in 1944 with the construction of the Federal Housing Project, bringing nearly 3,000 residents to Coronado, including over 400 African American individuals and families. Despite ongoing challenges, this housing development remained until 1969, fostering a surprising diversity in Coronado compared to other cities in San Diego County. The era concluded with the demolition of the Housing Project coinciding with the opening of the Coronado Bridge. Since 1969, Coronado's African American population has been primarily connected to Navy families, retired military and non-military, and families who chose to make Coronado their home.

The "An Island Looks Back" exhibit explores these remarkable, yet often overlooked stories — both tragic and triumphant. It serves as a powerful reminder that African American history is an integral part of American history and Coronado history.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the donors and advisory members whose support made this exhibit possible, including Kevin Ashley, May Brouhard, Bobby Brown, David Grant-Williams, Palma Lawrence Reed, James Love, Claudia Ludlow, Susan Marrinan, Fern Nelson, Yvette Porter Moore, Asante Sefa-Boakye, Jason Sevier, and Brad Willis. Their commitment to preserving and sharing these stories ensures that Coronado's rich history is accessible to all.

Press Coverage of An Island Looks Back:


NBC Nightly News:

After kindness shown them decades ago, Chinese American family pays it forward

NBC Top Story (extended cut):

Why a Chinese American family is donating $5M to Black college students


Chinese American family repays decades-old favor with $5M donation to SDSU Black students


NYT Article

KPBS (1) 

KPBS (2)


San Diego Reader 


Coronado Eagle & Journal 

Coronado Times (1)

Coronado Times (2)

Coronado Times (3)

Coronado Magazine


LA Times


The Museum presents thought-provoking exhibitions on a wide variety of subjects each year. Past exhibitions include Wings of Gold the Centennial of Naval AviationThe Kingston Trio: A World of Music, and Inspired: 100 Years of Coronado SchoolsExhibition sponsorship is a wonderful way for you or your company to reach new audiences while demonstrating support for the history and culture of Coronado. Each exhibition sponsorship package is customized depending on your or your company’s sponsorship level, preferred recognition, and promotional goals. Examples of exhibition sponsorship benefits may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Invitations to the exhibition opening previews and events

  • Name or logo credit in all exhibition and program materials, including invitations, History Matters, signage, press releases, website, e-newsletters, and mailings to members

  • Direct link between your website and the Coronado Historical Association website

  • Opportunity to host private receptions at the Museum’s Lecture Hall

We are pleased to develop a customized exhibition sponsorship package for you or your company.  For more information, please contact Christine Stokes at cstokes@coronadohistory.org or 619.435.7242.

Become a member

Join us and help preserve and share Coronado's unique and wonderful history with intriguing exhibits and innovative programs for all ages.


  • Two complimentary tickets to our Historic Walking Tour of Coronado
  • Invites to members-only events
  • ...and much more!
Membership information