California Educator

April / May 2018

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the desk of the prison's public information offi- cer. When she expressed interest in them, he handed her a banker's box filled with negatives taken at the prison between 1935 and 1986, and said there were five more waiting. e California Faculty Association member immediately knew she'd been handed a treasure trove of artifacts and decided to undertake the huge project of organizing, scanning and producing prints from thou- sands of negatives. She devotes hours to what she calls a labor of love, and sees no end in sight. She encourages a group of inmates she works with to help interpret the photos and guide her understanding of what might have happened. Not all the photos are sad or violent; many are touching. In one photo, inmates are helping firefighters rescue a seal. Another, which has been titled "Mother's Day," shows an inmate having a Professor finds compassion, fulfillment in project with prison inmates By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Sacramento State professor Nigel Poor stands next to a few of the historical images from San Quentin Prison that she is helping organize. I N O N E P H O T O is a broken chair. In another is a man with a battered face. e disturbing black-and-white images tell a stor y about a violent incident that took place decades ago in San Quentin State Prison, and are among thousands of pho- tographs that Sacramento State professor Nigel Poor is documenting and interpreting for a history project illu- minating the untold stories of those behind bars. It all started four years ago. Poor, who taught history of photography classes at San Quentin through the Prison University Project, saw aerial photos of San Quentin on Work Humanizing 22 Perspectives M E M B E R S P O T L I G H T

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