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Sat, 05.26.1928

Leimert Park, Los Angeles Established

Leimert Park, a neighborhood is considered the center of the African American arts community in Los Angeles, CA, is celebrated on this date's Registry.

Leimert Park was established in 1928.  It’s boundaries are roughly Rodeo Road on the north, Sutro Avenue on the east, Vernon Avenue on the south, and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west. The district's main street is Leimert Boulevard, which bisects the neighborhood from northeast to southwest. Developed by Walter H. "Tim" Leimert (for whom it is named), in 1928, it was designed by the famous landscape architects, the Olmsted brothers. Leimert Park was one of the first planned communities in Southern California designed for low- and middle-income families, and was considered a model of urban planning for its time.

Traffic near schools and churches was minimized, utility wires were buried or hidden from view in alleys, and densely planted trees lined its streets. Initially a white area, it and the neighboring Crenshaw District, eventually became one of the largest Black middle-class neighborhoods in the United States.

Rising crime in the 1970s, significant damage during the 1992 Rodney King Riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake hurt the area, but Leimert Park has experienced rebirth in recent years. More middle-class Black families from other parts of South Los Angeles have settled down in its Spanish Colonial bungalows.

Unlike other parts of South LA, Leimert Park remains predominantly Black, with a very small Latino population. It is considered the center of the African American arts scene in Los Angeles. It has flourishing blues and jazz clubs, and numerous venues for dramatic performances and poetry readings.  Former resident, filmmaker John Singleton, called it "the Black Greenwich Village." The park at the district's center, adjoined by shops and a theater, is a popular place for performances and gatherings.

Reference:
Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI):
Shannon Jaax, Program Manager,
(213) 627-1822 Ext. 16

Leimert Park

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