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A Map of California for the Blind

Braille Map of California (header)
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California’s outline is easily recognizable to most of its inhabitants. Our eyes have traced it on countless maps since at least our fourth-grade California history class. But how is the state’s geography represented for those who cannot see?

How is the state’s geography represented for those who cannot see?

This Braille map, furnished by map curator Chris Salvano of the California State University, Northridge, Geography Department Map Library, augments the state’s familiar silhouette with Braille identifiers for its geographic distinctions. Though understanding Braille isn’t required in order to grasp this map, it does force us to consider it from a unique perspective.

Fittingly, The Braille Institute of America is located within the state's borders, its headquarters spanning an entire city block at 741 North Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1919 by J. Robert Atkinson and has continued to expand ever since – unlike California's boundaries, which have remain fixed.

Braille Map of California
A Braille map of California, courtesy of the California State University, Northridge, Department of Geography
Braille Map of California (Index)
The index to the above map, courtesy of the California State University, Northridge, Department of Geography

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Photographic portrait of Mrs. Arcadia de Baker; previously Mrs. Abel Stearns, Arcadia Bandini, ca.1885. She can be seen from the waist up turned slightly to the left in an oval cutout. Her long dark hair is parted up the middle and pulled back to her neck. She is wearing a frilly shawl over a frilly dress with a low neckline.

The Powerful Mexican Woman Who Helped Shape Early Santa Monica

Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker was rich, beautiful and connected. This savvy businesswoman would be an important player in early California and helped shape Santa Monica and the west side of Los Angeles.
A black and white photo depicts a row of cabins are arranged in a line along a steep slope. Each one is affixed with screened porches.

They Built This City: How Labor Exploitation Built L.A.'s Attractions

In the early 1900s, Los Angeles’ temperate climate and natural attractions drew droves of tourists seeking an escape from crowded, industrial cities. But behind the pristine curtain of Mt. Lowe’s tourism industry was a harsh reality of labor exploitation that continues to disproportionately affect Los Angeles’ Latinx population today.
An African American man holds a record while leaning on a music booth.

Before Motown: L.A.'s Black-Owned Soul Music Empire

During the 1950s and 1960s, Los Angeles had its own Motown records — Dootone Records. The label's owner, Dootsie Williams, was a trailblazing Black music executive and entrepreneur who not only left an impact on the music industry, but also in his community.