Promoting Black heritage
South Los Angeles’ historical moments and monuments share a deep connection with the Black community. From murals, restaurants, and places for the residents to gather, to art statues and museums, visiting South Los Angeles is a journey down history lane for people and researchers alike.
The Getty Conservation Institute and the City of Los Angeles partnered to recognize and celebrate the history South Los Angeles has to offer to the public.
“We have collaborated with the Getty for over a decade now, creating initiatives dedicated to preserving the heritage of diverse communities in the Los Angeles area.” Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner, with the City of Los Angeles, said as he talked about the partnership with The Getty and how it impacts the city. Their first project was called “Survey L.A.,” which was the first city-wide research project created to identify historical places and monuments across the city.
“We wanted to focus on the diverse stories of the different communities in L.A. as they collectively contribute to our cultural heritage of the city. Bernstein said as he talked about the importance of collaborations and projects. “The recognition of African American monuments grew out of an announcement made in 2021, recognition that despite the work we have done, there are still disparities in what gets designated as historical in the city.”
To address this omission, the Getty Conservation Institute and The City of Los Angeles partnered to create the African American Historic Places initiative to identify and evaluate properties related to African American history in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is full of 1,280 monuments and landmarks that are recognized, and of that total, only four percent of the monuments and landmarks are associated with African American heritage. “It’s important we begin to rectify some of these disparities and build upon the work we have done with persevering and celebrating African American history,” Bernstein said. The Getty and the City of Los Angeles held a community event in June, at St. Elmo Village to announce the four monuments nominated for funding and recognition.
The four monuments are The California Eagle Offices, the oldest African American newspaper in Los Angeles. First African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was designed by celebrated Black architect Paul R. Williams in 1968. StylesVille Beauty & Barbershop, established in 1958, StylesVille is the oldest Black barbershop and beauty salon in the San Fernando Valley, and perhaps all of Los Angeles. Also, the Tom and Ethel Bradley residence in Leimert Park. Bradley was the first African American mayor of Los Angeles from 1973-1993.
If you want to learn more about the sites, visit www.Getty.edu, and if you want to nominate a place that should be highlighted, visit African American Historic Places, LA - Community Survey (arcgis.com).