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Compton Museum explores rich history of the ‘Hub City’


Especially catering to youth

The City of Compton is famous for being a hub of hip-hop,  birthing many famous Black athletes, and sitting at the apex of a number of freeways that serve as a pivotal point of Pacific Rim trade. What is not widely known, however, is that Compton is the proud host of a unique collection of art and history with the emergence of the Compton Art & History Museum at 306 W. Compton Blvd.

In February 2023, the museum opened its doors to the general public. The idea was born out of a non-profit organization created and founded by Compton native Abigail Lopez Byrd.

Lopez-Byrd, who previously  founded the non-profit organization Color Compton, said, "Color Compton really is a blend of my own personal experiences, but also my educational experiences working with communities of color, and professional experiences. We focus on art and history programming from elementary-aged students up to age twenty-four and really having deeper conversations around what are the stories we hear and where do we see our community in these stories." 

Color Compton acts as a parent organization to the Compton Art & History Museum. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Marquell Byrd, a co-founder of the museum, realized a need for an artistic space that paid homage to Black and Brown art and culture in South Los Angeles. Byrd notes that he feels his faith in God played an important part in deciding to establish and operate the museum. 

The current exhibition is entitled "We Want To Be Free", which offers patrons an inside look into Martin Luther King Jr.'s work in California. The exhibit was curated by Lopez-Byrd and Meredith Lancaster and is on display until later in the year. The first exhibit that took place was one entitled  "Sons Like Me" which highlighted Compton's visual history and Anthony Lee Pittman's, work with themes such as masculinity, blackness, community, and religion. 

“We really wanted to showcase that and highlight local artists. Having a space is a privilege and unfortunately, a lot of Black and Brown artists are not always highlighted in these major institutions and major museums,” Lopez-Byrd said. 

Connection and community are two things that are important to the Byrds. They feel very blessed to share a cultural location with many other Black business owners, making a visit to the museum very comfortable and a culturally rich environment.