SurveyLA Developing African American Historic Context

The Office of Historic Resources (OHR) was awarded a grant from the California Office of Historic Preservation to develop a historic context statement relating to Los Angeles' African American history.  Since the earliest days of the Los Angeles pueblo, African Americans have been a vital presence in the city. The story of settlement patterns from the late-19th to mid-20th century is shaped by various waves of migration to and throughout the city and tied to issues of racial discrimination and restrictive covenants.  The Central Avenue corridor, just south of downtown, is well-known as a vibrant and long-term hub of African American culture in Los Angeles. But beyond Central Avenue, African Americans settled in many other areas of Los Angeles including Boyle Heights, Watts, Little Tokyo (during World War II), West Adams/West Jefferson, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice, and Pacoima.

Although there are over 25 designated resources associated with African-American history in Los Angeles, many more have been identified through SurveyLA. This context will provide a clear framework for their evaluation and support further designations. These designated and surveyed resources represent associations with important individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, and social and cultural institutions, and cover themes such as religion and spirituality, social and civic life, commerce, labor, deed restrictions and segregation, civil rights, architecture, and the entertainment industry, including film, music, and radio. If you have information to contribute, please contact Janet Hansen at