By Douglas Flamming
Paul Bontemps made up our minds to maneuver his relations to l. a. from Louisiana in 1906 at the day he eventually submitted to a strictly enforced Southern custom--he stepped off the sidewalk to permit white males who had simply insulted him to move by means of. acquaintances of the Bontemps kinfolk, like many others beckoning their family West, had written that la was once "a urban referred to as heaven" for individuals of colour. yet simply how unfastened used to be Southern California for African americans? This fantastic heritage, immediately sweeping in its historic achieve and intimate in its evocation of daily life, is the 1st complete account of Los Angeles's black neighborhood within the part century earlier than global struggle II. jam-packed with relocating human drama, it brings alive a time and position principally neglected via historians formerly, detailing African American neighborhood lifestyles and political activism through the city's transformation from small city to sprawling city. Writing with a novelist's sensitivity to language and drawing from clean historic study, Douglas Flamming takes us from Reconstruction to the Jim Crow period, in the course of the nice Migration, the Roaring Twenties, the good melancholy, and the build-up to international conflict II. alongside the way in which, he deals wealthy descriptions of the neighborhood and its middle-class management, the ladies who have been entrance and middle with males within the conflict opposed to racism within the American West. as well as drawing a brilliant portrait of a little-known period, Flamming indicates that the background of race in la is important for our knowing of race in the US. The civil rights activism in la laid the basis for serious advancements within the moment half the century that proceed to persuade us to at the present time.
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Extra resources for Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies)
But because Los Angeles offered better racial conditions but not equality of opportunity, black Angelenos were not fully free to pursue their ultimate dreams and develop the fullness of their abilities. What’s more, the freedoms they did have in California were constantly under attack from whites who preferred a Jim Crow racial order. Black Angelenos thus fought a double battle, laboring to attain those rights they did not yet enjoy while seeking to 14 Introduction protect the rights they already had.
And that place was important. California had everything to do with who they were becoming. They were partners in marriage and in business, but as they saw it, the partnership was even larger: they were partners with California itself. On the Margins of Freedom In 1920, the federal government turned Charlotta and Joe Bass into white people—statistically speaking. It happened when the Census Bureau undertook its decennial tally of the population. Throughout Los Angeles, census agents carried ledger books door to door, gathering information on the members of every household: name, race, sex, age, marital status, occupation, and the like.
But before long she realized she really could use a business partner. Big Joe Bass When Joseph Blackburn Bass arrived in 1911, black Los Angeles knew it. He was hard to miss—nearly six feet tall, barrel chested, well over two hundred pounds, with a large head, dark complexion, thick mustache, and powerful eyes. Forty-four years old and a veteran of decades of newspaper work and backroom politics, Bass looked tough and distinguished, self-conﬁdent and imposing. He was commonly known as Joe or J.