Los Angeles, CA

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los angeles ghetto

The Los Angeles Ghetto Story

Before the Los Angeles ghetto of places like South Central or Compton, the black community did not begin to be established in Los Angeles until the early 1900s.

During the early days of Los Angeles blacks would work as servants, small time laborers, or as caretakers, with most living in the Central Avenue district or “The Avenue” and being banned from living west of Main Street in the beginning.

Before the 1950s and 1960s, the East Side was a lower income area with people from different racial minority groups, while the West Side (west of Main Street, before the 110 Freeway) was home to the city’s wealthy class.

los angeles ghetto black history

A mural in the historic Central Avenue district. Courtesy of OnCentral.KPCC

Between the 1920s and 1950s the black population of Los Angeles grew over the years with most people coming from southern states like Texas or Louisiana.

Most of the neighborhoods by this time were the West Side around the West Adams District, S. Central Avenue on the East Side, Watts and a couple of other neighborhoods like parts of Compton.

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The population growth was due to the second World War as black families moved into the city with the opportunity for employment through the war-related industries, along with escaping the extremely racist and violent southern United States.

During the 1950s and 1960s, white flight from South Los Angeles allowed blacks to begin to move into other parts of the city, especially as Watts and the Central Avenue district was expanding and West Adams was becoming the middle class community for Los Angeles’ black population.

With the original residents moving further away from Los Angeles County, cities like Compton and Inglewood became predominantly African-American  and other places like Long Beach gained small pockets of black neighborhoods by the 1970s and 80s.

The main reasons for African-Americans to be able to live outside of their traditional neighborhoods was that housing restrictions were being lifted, school integration, and society being desegregated.

Since the beginning of time in Los Angeles, blacks were experiencing racism and violence towards their race.

The African-American experience of police brutality in the Los Angeles ghetto, with the hatred and violence towards them as well as segregation and discrimination, led to a number of altercations and riots, like the “Watts Riot”s in the 1960s or the “L.A. Riots” of the 1990s.

Today’s community has been changing in the Los Angeles ghetto, as Mexicans and other Hispanics have been moving into the once predominantly black communities, making some blocks of South Central and surrounding areas to become more of a Hispanic community.

With the changes of the Los Angeles ghetto, many families are moving further South or East, into other neighborhoods of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside counties.

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Los Angeles Gang History

los angeles ghetto

Courtesy of Alonzo of Flickr.com

While black gangs in the Los Angeles ghetto being around since the early 1900s, the affiliations of Los Angeles’ present day started around the 1970s.

Before the Bloods and Crips were formed, the city had many small cliques or neighborhood affiliations in the Los Angeles ghetto that were not necessarily gangs.

Started by Raymond Washington, the Crips originated from a subset of the Avenues, called the Avenue Cribs. Eventually, the Avenue Cribs would become the Crips, who in the early and mid-1970s, and would recruit other neighborhoods to become affiliated with the Crips.**

As the Crips were growing, many neighborhoods that were not affiliated to them became tired of the problems that they were causing and decided to come together and form their own alliance, which would later become the Bloods as many of the original neighborhoods still existing to this day.**

As the years passed, the city’s number of gangs began to increase due to the amount of different conflicts within the community that caused people to separate themselves from other blocks.

By the 1980s and 90s, mostly every urban community of the Los Angeles ghetto had some type of affiliation towards the Bloods or the Crips.

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The West Side of the South Los Angeles ghetto would have two of California’s largest sections of the Eight Tray Gangster Crips and the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips.

According to UnitedGangs.com, “By 1979, when the feud between the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips and the Eight Tray Gangster Crips, gangs started pleading alliance to either the Rollin 60s Crips or the Eight Trays. Gang’s who aligned themselves with the Rollin 60’s adapted the Neighborhood Crips also known as Deuces or Deuce Gang’s (2x) and gang’s who aligned themselves with the Eight Tray Gangster Crips adapted the “Gangster Crips” also known as Trays or Tray Gang’s (3x).”^^

Other well-known affiliations of the West Side of South Los Angeles is the Hoover Criminals, who started out as the Hoover Groovers and eventually linked up with the West Side Crips in the mid-1970s and became part of the Crip alliance. But during the 1980s and 1990s, the Hoovers became rivals of mostly all nearby Crip sets, making the Hoovers to change their name from Hoover Crips to Hoover Criminals.^^

Outside of these gangs, there are smaller blocks throughout the West Side of the Los Angeles ghetto that is affiliated to the Gangster or Neighborhood Crips, alongside the different Bloods sets of the West Side.

While the West Side had a number of affiliations, the East Side would be known for the East Coast Crip sets, Mad and Family Swan Bloods, or the Avalon Gangster Crips, all being nearby to the legendary Watts community with Grape Street in the Jordan Down Projects and the Bounty Hunters of the Nickerson Garden Projects.

While South Central is the largest part of the Los Angeles ghetto, it is definitely not the only section to have affiliated neighborhoods.

Venice Boulevard would be known for a number of small Gangster Crip sets that are near the legendary Black P. Stone factions of the Jungles and the Bity (the City), which according to UnitedGangs.com, were formed by a former member of Chicago’s Blackstone Rangers in the late 1960s.

Los Angeles County would also have well respected areas, from the predominantly Blood community in Inglewood to the all Crip community of Long Beach’s East, North, and West sides, as well as the city of Compton.

Compton, one of Los Angeles legendary communities, is made up of Piru’s and Compton Crips on Compton’s East and West Sides. Pirus originally started out as Crips, but being a rival with other Compton Crips, mostly on the East Side, made them to become Bloods.**

Other than Compton, Inglewood, and Long Beach, there is other affiliations in Los Angeles County cities of Carson, Gardena, Lynwood and a few others, especially as the community expanded south of the 105 freeway.

Check out more on California communities from TheRealStreetz.com

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Los Angeles History Sources and Resources

Hunt, Darnell and Ramon, Ana-Christina. “Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities”. New York University Press. 2010.
Flamming, Douglas. “Bound For Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America”. University of California Press. 2005.
**Alonso, Alex. Hunt, Darnell. Ramon, Ana-Christinia. “Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities”. “Out of the Void”. New York University Press. 2010. pg 150-
^^UnitedGangs.com “Hoover Criminals”. http://unitedgangs.com/hoover-criminals-gang/

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