Chinese farm laborers working in the strawberries north of Watsonville in the 1870s. The Chinese were the most important agricultural laborers in the region in the 19th century, and Santa Cruz and Watsonville fought bitterly over their presence. Watsonville saw them as being necessary to the economy of the Pajaro Valley, while Santa Cruz became the epicenter of the regional anti-Chinese move


Only the Good Stuff!
A 50th Anniversary Lecture Series

Favorite Animals, People, Themes and Stories

In commemoration of his 50th year of teaching, Sandy Lydon will present a series of lectures and discussions highlighting his favorite subjects and themes. Some will be light, others serious, but all original, gleaned from fifty years of wandering the Central California historical landscape, and recounted by one of the region’s most celebrated teachers.

What: A Lecture Series on Occasional Fridays
Where: Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA
When: Three Fridays at 7:00 PM

March 11 - Completed
The Horns of the Scapegoat – Cycles of Racism
April 15 - Still Open
Strange Bedfellows: That Santa
Cruz-Watsonville Thing

May 13 - Still Open
The Courage of their convictions

Fee: $20 each lecture – tickets may be purchased ahead of time – or at the door if there are any remaining.

Lecture #2

Strange Bedfellows:
That Watsonville-Santa Cruz Thing

From the day that Santa Cruz County was conceived in early 1850, the residents of the Pajaro Valley and Surf City have been feuding, fussing, wrangling, and wrestling over matters large and small. Sometimes the spats are humorous – like the time that Santa Cruz suggested that Watsonville should change its name – to tiresome, to downright nasty. From his neutral position at Cabrillo College, Lydon will explore the roots of the conflict, its various historical manifestations, and some current examples. He will also include some examples of successful cross-county collaborations and how the feud might be ended.

Date/Time: Friday, April 15, 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Location: Room 450
Fee: $20.00

Ed “Doc” Ricketts is known for his work in marine biology and his friendship and collaboration with John Steinbeck. He is less well-known for publicly stating his welcome to the Monterey Japanese community in 1945 when they were being released from the concentration camps.

Pat Hathaway Photo, California Views
Lecture #3

The Courage of their Convictions:
Stories of Inspiration and Bravery in the Monterey Region

The Monterey Bay Region’s history has its share of courageous acts that deserve illumination and celebration. There were those who stood up and spoke out against racism and prejudice, such as attorney John McCarthy of Watsonville who publicly defended the local Japanese community during and after World War II, and Edward “Doc” Ricketts who did the same in Monterey.

Sometimes it’s a person who, despite public opposition and nay-saying, has a vision and sees it through to completion, such as F. Norman Clark who conceived and built Roaring Camp Railroad despite being told it couldn’t be done. Or, the dog named Towser who saved his master’s life during a fearsome grizzly bear encounter near Scott Creek in the 1860s. You may not have heard these stories, but once you do, you’ll never forget them.

Date/Time: Friday, May 13, 7:00-10:00 PM
Room: 450, Cabrillo College, Aptos, California
Fee: $20
Note: We expect the tickets to go quickly and recommend you buying them early.