Skip to content


Pasadena African American History Walk Offers Glimpses Into Past of City’s Black Community

Pasadena African American History Walk Offers Glimpses Into Past of City’s Black Community

The NAACP Pasadena Branch will host the Pasadena African American History Walk Saturday, Oct. 21, a guided 3.5-mile tour that explores significant historic sites of the city’s Black community.

Branch President Allen Edson, Branch President, said that the walk is an opportunity to learn more about meaningful historical events that shaped today’s local Black community.

“The tour reflects some moments in history in Pasadena for the Black community and an opportunity to provide some education about those moments,” Edson said. “The audience typically has been people that have been in Pasadena for 20 years or less. So they weren’t aware of this history, and me personally, I’ve learned much of this history in the past 10 years.”

The walk was originally designed as a bus tour, Edson added, but due to the pandemic, it evolved into walking tours and a bicycle tour. He said that this year’s walk will include some new locations in the route to highlight some current events that are very talked about.

“We made some additions to this particular version of the tour to really highlight some current events that are very talked about,” he said. 

“Those are about the history of the Pasadena Improvement Association, one of the court cases that came about because of the Fairchild v. Raines involving a city resident who was denied the right to live in a certain neighborhood because she was African American. We also discuss the incident of a city employee who was denied the ride on a float because city officials found out she was African American and claimed they couldn’t afford a float that year.”

“So as we extended the tour, we added some additional sites such as the site of the freeway stub once planned for the 710 freeway extension north, and the changes to zoning regulations that will increase shelter capacity for the homeless community in Pasadena to fill up the program.”

The walk will also delve into the city’s heritage, including insights into the Brookside Plunge, which served as the public pool before the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center came to be. Participants will also discover the pivotal figures who have left their mark on Pasadena’s African American community.

Edson said that the collaboration between the NAACP Pasadena Branch, Day One, and the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition contributes to the success of the event and the broader community.

“It just adds value to the tour. It helps us attract a broader audience. It helps to provide education to more people, which helps,” Edson said. “And I think in the bigger picture, you want to always grow your relationships with the community.”

The event is part of Walktober, a month-long celebration of walking and city streets, sponsored by the City of Pasadena, Day One, and the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition. Walktober offers various walks and tours throughout October, highlighting the benefits of walking for exercise, mental health, community engagement, city exploration, and daily commuting.

This year marks the first time the City of Pasadena is sponsoring Walktober and the fourth time the NAACP Pasadena Branch is partnering with Day One and the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition for the African American History Walk.

The walk is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about Pasadena’s African American history and culture. To register for the event or to learn more, visit