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Historical Narration of Race-Ethnic Majority Maps by Phil Ethington

by Phil Ethington

1940: LA County Population: 2,809,946. The Majority Map for 1940 shows the harshness of the segregation regime, as Whites openly attempted to contain non-whites to downtown and a few outlying enclaves. These boundaries were strictly enforced by the LAPD and the municipal police departments of LA City's adjacent municipal neighbors, like South Gate, Whittier, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. The key boundary, visible in the 1940-1970 maps, is the North-South artery, Alameda Blvd, which has always been the corridor from the LA and Long Beach Harbors, to the Warehouses and circulation points in Downtown Los Angeles. A phalanx of white, working-class suburban cities, with boundaries along Alameda, openly prevented non-whites from crossing that border. 1950: LA County Population: 4,317,984. The 1950 census year reflected the massive growth of Los Angeles during the Second World War military build-up in Los Angeles and the sunbelt more generally. War-worker migrants from Texas and Louisiana swelled the African-American population, while the Bracero program brought brought almost 200,000 Mexicans to East LA, re-building the Mexican Barrio to majorities for the first time since the Anglo influx of the 1880s. East LA re-emerged as the heartland of Latino Los Angeles, but long-standing enclaves in San Fernando and elsewhere sprouted new majorities during this wave of Mexican immigration. Also striking is the visible patterns of White resistance to the territorial expansion of the Black neighborhoods. A Goodyear Rubber plant employed thousands on a parcel just south of Slauson, extending a half-mile south of its northern boundary on Slauson. White workers jealously prevented Blacks from moving across Slauson, and even harassed them if they tried to walk through to the Watts neighborhoods to the south. African Americans preferred to ride street cars or automobiles through this white zone of South LA. [For the remainder of this narration through 2000, see Ethington, Ghost Metropolis]

Race-Ethnic Majority Maps, Los Angeles County, 1940-2000

Slow animation of 7 static maps showing majorities by census tract for four race-ethnic categories: African-America, Asian, Latino, and White. Cartography by Phil Ethington 2013.

from Ghost Metropolis (2013)
Creator: Phil Ethington
Distributor: Creative Commons License: Free to Download and Post
Posted by Phil Ethington