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A People's Guide to Los Angeles

A People's Guide to Los Angeles

Laura Pulido
Laura Barraclough
Wendy Cheng
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    A People's Guide to Los Angeles
    Book Description:

    A People's Guide to Los Angelesoffers an assortment of eye-opening alternatives to L.A.'s usual tourist destinations. It documents 115 little-known sites in the City of Angels where struggles related to race, class, gender, and sexuality have occurred. They introduce us to people and events usually ignored by mainstream media and, in the process, create a fresh history of Los Angeles. Roughly dividing the city into six regions-North Los Angeles, the Eastside and San Gabriel Valley, South Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Harbor, the Westside, and the San Fernando Valley-this illuminating guide shows how power operates in the shaping of places, and how it remains embedded in the landscape.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95334-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. xi-xi)
  4. An Introduction to A Peopleʹs Guide to Los Angeles
    (pp. 1-13)

    In the middle of the day, the sun shines indifferently on the paved lot at 4115 South Central Avenue. The north side of the long, narrow lot at this address faces a two-story strip mall painted yellow. Hand-painted lettering and vinyl banners slung over the railings advertise photo services, seven-dollar haircuts, and“toda clase de herramientas”(all kinds of tools). The south side of the lot abuts a faded brick building with“frutas y verduras[fruits and vegetables], 99 cents & up” hand-painted on the wall. A row of small, irregular metal squares runs along the top—fasteners of support beams...

  5. 1 North Los Angeles
    (pp. 15-71)

    For hundreds of years the region we will call North L.A. in this book has been the historic core of Los Angeles. When the Tongva, the local indigenous people, dominated the region, one of their largest settlements was Yang-Na (near the current L.A. City Hall). Spanish and Mexican settlers also concentrated nearby, at the plaza. In the U.S. period, the central business district and political infrastructure, too, developed in this area. Starting in the 1900s, however, following the rail, Los Angeles grew in a leapfrog fashion, with multiple urban centers spread across the landscape. Since then, many observers have claimed...

  6. 2 The Greater Eastside and San Gabriel Valley
    (pp. 73-115)

    Smog. Freeways. The San Gabriel Mountains looming to the north. Signs in Spanish, English, and Chinese. Endless miles of incredibly varied housing interspersed with industrial clusters and large expanses of retail. World-renowned Chinese food. Welcome to the Greater Eastside and San Gabriel Valley (which we’ll typically refer to simply as the “Eastside” throughout the rest of this book). The Eastside was the first part of Los Angeles settled by nonnatives. It is divided from the rest of the county by the L.A. River, which was the region’s primary water supply for centuries. When the “Spaniards” (who were really a diverse...

  7. 3 South Los Angeles
    (pp. 117-161)

    Along with Hollywood and Beverly Hills, South Los Angeles—which was known until 2003 as “South Central L.A.,” a name that still sticks in the minds of many people—is one of the most famous communities in Southern California. The region’s notoriety derives not from its reputation as a place of wealth and glamour but from the countless films, television shows, news programs, and songs that depict South L.A. as a Black space haunted by poverty, gangs, crime, and bad schools. While there is no denying that these factors exist in South L.A., our task in this guide is to...

  8. 4 The Harbor and South Bay
    (pp. 163-189)

    Although most people think of Olvera Street and the San Gabriel Mission as the birthplace of Los Angeles, the first point of European contact was actually near San Pedro. In 1542, the Portuguese sailor Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo found his way to San Pedro and dubbed it the Bay of Smokes because of the fire the locals used when hunting. The Spaniards subsequently ignored the bay for the next several centuries, during which time they established a solid foothold in the interior. California Indians had lived on the coast for centuries, and beginning in the 1830s they were joined by ethnic...

  9. 5 The Westside
    (pp. 191-217)

    Breathtakingly beautiful beaches, sunny skies, and young, tanned bodies glistening on the sand. These are the iconic images of Los Angeles broadcast to the world everyday by films, television shows, and other media. They represent the mythic “California Dream” of fantastic year-round weather and the leisurely good life. Southern California’s boosters have promoted the California Dream for more than a century, attracting migrants with expectations of fame, fortune, good health, and recreation in the California sunshine. As a result, such images, along with everyday celebrity encounters, are what many people associate with and expect from Los Angeles. And, in fact,...

  10. 6 The San Fernando Valley and North Los Angeles County
    (pp. 219-249)

    The history and contemporary life of the San Fernando Valley is deeply informed by its unique geography. This area is bounded by mountain ranges, which create a natural bowl separating the northern and western parts of L.A. County from the vast central Los Angeles basin. “The Valley,” as the San Fernando Valley is often called, is also the connector between L.A., the Central Coast, and California’s Central Valley. Consequently, the San Fernando Valley is both a self-enclosed region and a gateway that connects L.A. to the rest of the state. Partly because of these geographic conditions, the San Fernando Valley...

  11. 7 Thematic Tours
    (pp. 251-280)

    This chapter includes seven tours that will guide you to important places whose history and geography relate to a particular theme. All are full-day tours and will be most easily completed by car, for which we include point-to-point driving directions. Frequently, in addition to the main sites, we suggest nearby sites of interest to visit or organizations at which you may meet with staff members or arrange to volunteer. We also provide suggestions for good places to have a meal, although we invite you to choose any of the other restaurants listed in the “Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants” section of each...

  12. Recommended Reading
    (pp. 281-286)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 287-290)
  14. Credits
    (pp. 291-292)
  15. Index
    (pp. 293-310)