Wednesday, 22 May 2013 07:15
"When Little Tokyo Went Bronze"
In February of 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration of World War II. For the section of Los Angeles known as Little Tokyo, the removal of its Japanese American residents created a ghost town of empty houses and businesses. The abandoned neighborhood soon became a source of opportunity for the influx of southern African American citizens that were migrating to LA, who, like the Japanese, were barred from living anywhere west of Central Avenue by the city?s racially restrictive housing covenants. As thousands of African American families moved into homes and retail spaces vacated by Japanese Americans, the Little Tokyo neighborhood became known as "Bronzeville".
Few remnants remain of the time when the streets of Little Tokyo became Bronzeville and were known for the jazz and "breakfast clubs" that operated until the wee hours, and leading citizens such as Leonard Christmas who organized the Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce. A long-time fascination with the period led artist Kathie Foley-Meyer to create Project Bronzeville, a combination of fine art, theater, a panel discussion and music coming together to commemorate this brief but vibrant part of LA history.
Programming will include:
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