Barbara Wilcox

Barbara Wilcox is a Bay Area writer of German-American and Navajo descent. Her research for her book World War I Army Training by San Francisco Bay: The Story of Camp Fremont (History Press, 2016) received the Stanford Historical Society Prize for Excellence in Historical Writing. Barbara is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Stanford University. She first saw Isago Tanaka’s photographs while writing College of San Mateo’s centennial history. She was moved by how his gaze as a Japanese-American activist led him to portray others of color empathetically and thereby to help change the visual discourse. Barbara is proud to help mount the first museum exhibition of Tanaka’s work at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City, Calif..

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Isago Isao Tanaka: Chronicler of the Japanese-American experience

In 1964, College of San Mateo’s (CMS) librarian hired Isago Tanaka as a jack-of-all trades photographer for the new College Heights campus. Tanaka soon distinguished himself as a sensitive chronicler of campus life. His work documents CSM’s ambition in the days of America’s “Great Society,” as led by college President Julio Bortolazzo, to lift its community through education. At the same time, Tanaka’s images offer a counternarrative to Bortolazzo’s story. They depict young people and communities of color demanding change from the grassroots up, re…

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