Los Angeles, CA pt. 1

los angeles ghetto los angeles black population los angeles black history

The Los Angeles Ghetto Story

Before the Los Angeles ghetto of places like South Central or Compton, the city’s urban 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” after being banned from living west of Main Street.

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 black history los angeles black population

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

Between the 1920s and 1950s, the Los Angeles black population grew as more people were coming from southern states like Texas or Louisiana.

Most of the Los Angeles black neighborhoods by this time were on 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.

The Los Angeles black 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 the Los Angeles black population 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 the Los Angeles black population.


With the original residents moving further away from Los Angeles County, cities like Compton and Inglewood became other Los Angeles black neighborhoods, along with areas like Long Beach starting to gain small pockets of African-Americans by the 1970s and 80s.

An important Los Angeles black history fact was that the removal of housing restrictions, school integration and society being desegregated allowed for the Los Angeles black population to move into other neighborhoods.

Since the beginning of the Los Angeles black history story, blacks have been experiencing racism and violence towards their own 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 as Mexicans and other Hispanics have been moving into the once predominantly black communities, making some neighborhoods of South Central or Compton to become more of a Hispanic community.

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


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 Black 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.