By Michele Kane, Chief of External Affairs
California Prison Industry Authority
The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) hosted its annual Black History Month event at the Green Valley Training Center in Folsom on Feb. 28, 2014, with special guest speaker, James C. Shelby, President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League.
Shelby provided inspirational stories of his life including his family, his military service, and his career.
Shelby was a founding council member of the City of Citrus Heights and the first African American elected to serve on the Council.
He was elected mayor in 1999 and re-elected in 2003 and 2006. For the past 13 years, he has grown the urban league to more than 1,000 members.
Shelby emphasized the importance of respecting each other and that diversity within America is a positive thing.
In keeping with the theme “Civil Rights in America,” members of the Black History Celebration Committee presented CALPIA staff with historical information and highlighted some important African-American inventors who made outstanding contributions to this state.
One inventor was Jan Ernst Matzeliger who created the automated shoe-lasting machine, which was patented in 1883. The same process and principles of manufacturing invented by Matzeliger are currently being used in CALPIA factories at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo and RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
Besides the informational and inspiring presentation, organizers provided many home-cooked dishes for CALPIA staff and guests to enjoy.