Cal Alumni Association Visits Paris Just Before Notre Dame Fire

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Photo by Skip Hewlett

Explored the impact of African Americans on the Parisian cultural scene

Participants in the Cal Discoveries Travel sponsored “Paris Noir,” an exploration of the indelible impact of African Americans on the Parisian cultural scene. The group was in Paris earlier this month, April 7-15, leaving the day the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire.

The group included Cal Alumni Association Executive Director Cloey Hewlett, and many alumni including State Senator Loni Hancock (retired), Tom Bates, former Berkeley Mayor, Gay Plair Cobb, co-publisher of the Post News Group and many from different professions including politicians, journalists, filmmakers, judges, lawyers, real estate developers, and sociologists, like Carl Franklin ’71, Lisa Kala ’78, Ph.D. ’93, Joyce Hicks J.D. ’77, Eric Behrens ’77, and Sara Soder MBA ’85.

The group shows their Cal banner in front of the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, where megastar Josephine Baker had her first show, and enjoys the streets of Paris. The tour included stops at the residences of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, the performance venues of Josephine Baker and the public square named after her.

They saw the nightclubs owned by Bricktop and Eugene Bullard, and the legendary Paris cafes to trace the footsteps where many Black artists, intellectuals, writers and performers met, dined and debated. They visited the Shakespeare and Company bookstore where Blacks met and still meet.

La Coupole was Josephine Baker’s favorite restaurant.

The Club Caveau de la Huchette hosted Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

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