Few would dispute the significance of the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood in the history of L.A. race relations. It’s where Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’s first black mayor, once had to enlist white “dummy buyers” to purchase a home. For decades, discriminatory practices, including the use of racially restrictive covenants on deeds to prevent people of color from buying homes, kept the area off-limits to non-whites.
After the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed housing discrimination, and segregation was scaled back, black residents moved west into the formerly white enclave of Baldwin Hills. That movement, paired with stepped-up integration efforts between neighborhood groups and grass-roots civil rights organizations, established the first of L.A.’s black middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.
“The Baldwin Hills is one of the epicenters of African American excellence in the nation, along with Sugar Hill in Harlem, and the White House during the Obama administration,” said Robert García, a civil rights attorney and founder of The City Project, a nonprofit that has worked on social justice issues in the neighborhood for 20 years. “There is no better place to commemorate his accomplishments as president.”
Read the inspiring story by Alexa Diaz in the L.A.Times . . .
The City of L.A. will dedicate President Barack Obama Blvd. May 4, 2019, near the intersection with Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The City Project for 20 years has helped lead community victories in South L.A. from Baldwin Hills Park and Watts to Compton. We have helped create and protect the largest urban park space designed in the US in over a century, stop a power plant there, stop a garbage dump there, and save the Baldwin Hills Conservancy when the governor threatened to eliminate its budget. We filed a successful lawsuit with allies that resulted in the Baldwin Hills-Inglewood Oil Field becoming the most heavily regulated oil field in the nation, according to the county. We worked with US EPA and others to reach a $2 billion clean water justice agreement with the City of L.A. to eliminate noxious sewer odors that plagued the community for decades, monitored by a community advisory board.
MLK Mural at Baldwin Hills Park