Black Housing Politics in 1940s South Los Angeles
- Author(s): VESTAL, MARQUES
- Advisor(s): Stevenson, Brenda E
- et al.
What if you made it to an urban "promised land" and had nowhere decent to live? For African Americans in 1940s Los Angeles, housing was a major problem and focus of political activity. WWII caused the African American population in Los Angeles to surge throughout the 1940s, placing severe stress on a restricted housing market. This study investigates black housing politics in the 1940s in South Los Angeles, along with the ideological formation of race restrictive covenants. It was observed that black women played a central role in the mobilization of community resources to combat segregation and poor housing conditions. Black activism around housing issues was shared between a cross-section of civic, religious, and labor groups, with particular focus on black news media. Furthermore, residential segregation was identified not as an inherent pathology of racism, but as a deliberate practice to construct white ideals of residential space, and hence white identity itself.