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By Jane Theresa Jones                Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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February 16, 2014                           
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Photo of table in black history exhibit
                                          Photo courtesy of Jane Theresa Jones
This photo shows one of the exhibit tables in the black history museum
that opened in Menlo Park on Saturday, February 8, 2014.


Parents, teachers and anyone else who is interested in American history will see a lot of history on display in the black history museum, which opened on Saturday, February 8 in Menlo Park.

The museum is officially named the Dominic Hoskins Black History Exhibit and Learning Center and it is an amazing display of black culture and history.

The museum’s exhibits feature a plethora of African American history from the slave ships to the election of President Obama. There are rooms built around themes such as: inventions, sports, dolls, and music.  In the music room, for example, one can see a real jukebox which plays music and shows album covers. Magazines like Ebony, and Jet and 45 rpm single records decorate parts of the walls.

The museum, which is currently located at 190 Independence Drive in Menlo Park, was founded by Carolyn Hoskins, who is its executive director and curator. Hoskins is the widow of Robert "Bob" Hoskins, a former S.F. 49er defensive tackle. She is also a member of the NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter executive committee.

Hoskins named the nonprofit museum after her grandson, 22-year-old Dominic Hoskins.  The idea for the museum occurred to Hoskins when her grandson was working on a Black History report. 

Hoskins explained, ”My grandson said, ‘It seems like we write about the same people all the time. Are there any other people we can write about?’”

That’s when she began teaching him about the African-American culture and decided that this knowledge needed to be shared with others. "This is very, very passionate for me," said Hoskins. "Kids in school are just not getting the knowledge about black history, which may be featured in school one month out of the year.”

Not surprisingly, Dominic’s favorite part of the museum is the sports collection.
Although, Ms. Hoskins is affiliated with NFL alumni, the exhibit does not have a permanent home.  The Mayor of Menlo Park, Ray Mueller, located the current building in which the museum is housed, and Hoskins put the exhibit together in two weeks, with the assistance of her daughter Kathy and her son Steve.
California State Senator Jerry Hill presented a proclamation in Hoskins’ honor commending her on the display.

Visitors to the museum’s exhibits, which could aptly be described as spectacular, should allocate at least an hour to see the entire show. It could take two hours, maybe even a second trip just to make the entire exhibit is seen.

Now, Hoskins’ goal is to secure a permanent location for the extensive exhibit. 

She asks that community members interested in assisting her reach this goal write, call or email Senator Hill at http://sd13.senate.ca.gov/send-e-mail to ask for his assistance in finding a permanent home for the exhibit.


Reach the author of this article, Jane Theresa Jones, at epatoday@epatoday.org. 


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