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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From Los Angeles to the Inland Empire: The Flourishment and Implication of Jim Crow, Housing Discrimination in Postwar Southern California


This paper explores the tragic story of African American O’Day H. Short and his family in 1945 Fontana, California. The piece is an excerpt from my March 2022 Senior Honors Thesis titled "The American Dream Denied: The Inland Empire and Southern California’s Legacy with Postwar, Anti-Black Racial Housing Discrimination." Alongside my complete thesis, this paper’s examination of O’Day H. Short’s background, hostility with local white neighbors in his new Fontana home, and eventual fatal conclusion will ultimately expose the hidden legacy of harmful housing discrimination in post-World War Two Southern California. Focusing on Short’s story further highlights the underappreciated stories of the Black Americans who migrated to Inland Empire cities – including Fontana and Riverside, between the 1940s and the 1960s. By tracing the explicit racial violence that fueled housing discrimination, I will show how and why the Postwar promise of guaranteed housing and greater socioeconomic stability went unfulfilled for this subset of Black Californians.

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