Alumna, educator and oral historian, Charlene Marine Riggins, died Oct. 29. Riggins’ 43-year career at Cal State Fullerton began as a graduate unit evaluator in the Office of Admissions and Records from 1975-2003. She later worked as a lecturer and oral historian in the Department of African American Studies until 2018.
With a love for art and history, Riggins earned a B.A. in history and ethnic studies in 2001 and a M.A. in history in 2004 from Cal State Fullerton. Her teaching interests spanned the following areas: Antebellum South and Civil War, African American history, Native American history, U.S. women’s history, and community and oral history. In addition, she developed and taught the following courses: “Introduction to African American Studies,” “The Black Family,” “Intercultural Socialization” (now “Race and Relationships”), “African American Music Appreciation,” “U.S. History From 1865,” “Women in U.S. History” and “Black Representation in Film.”
Riggins also was the author of two books documenting histories of marginalized populations in Southern California, “Forgotten Patriots: Voices of World War II Mexican American Veterans of Southern California (2007)” and “A Different Shade of Orange: Voices of Orange County, California Black Pioneers (2009).” She was a member of such organizations as the Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, American History Society, Association of Black Women Historians, Oral History Association and Southwest Oral History Association.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. at the McAulay and Wallace Mortuary, 902 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made online to support a scholarship/award in her name or by check to: Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation, In Memory of Charlene Riggins, Acct. #37000. Checks can be mailed to: Attn. Alina Mircea-Trotz, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, 800 N. State College Blvd., H-211, Fullerton, CA 92831.