Sunday, February 3, 2008

Black History Tour of Los Angeles Feb 2, 2008

Dr. Shepherd was kind enough to reach out to the Community and take 6 bus loads of people of all walks of life, from 3725 Don Felipe Dr., Consolidated Realty - to some of the most interesting places throughout Southern California. It was very nice to know that in 1845, the last Californian Governor under Mexican rule was Pio de Jesus Pico - an African-Mexican. We went down to Olivera Street and read the names of those who were amongst the founding families of Los Angeles - LOS POBLADORES. Children and people young and old were gathered there at the sight of the plaque that lists the names of the founding families. It also lists their ethnicity. We also went by the three block area that African Americans had to live in from 1890-1905. The area is in the Temple District. It was very interesting... We visited Sugar Hill/West Adams District, Marvin Gayes' home where he met an untimely death. We then drove past the first, second and third Black Fire Stations and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (2270 S. Harvard Blvd.)We then drove by the former houses of Ethel Waters (1919 S. Harvard Blvd.), Johnny Otis(2077 S. Harvard Blvd.),

Hattie McDaniel (1910 S. Harvard Blvd.) and Louise Beavers (1911 S. Harvard Blvd.)

It was so nice to see how Black Hollywood lived during the 1920's-40's. (Check out the book on Hattie McDaniel's life, 'Hattie McDaniel:Black Ambition, White Hollywood', Jill Watts, Author)

Shirley Smith told us all about the Black Saints that are buried here in LA, and showed us the first Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles. She's a Docent at the very nice new Cathedral down town.

We also went down on Weller Street, and area that Black folks used to shop and hang out back in the 1910-1930's. We went by Bridgette " Biddy" Mason's dedicated plaque/wall. Biddy Mason was (Biddy Mason Wall - USC Dornsife) brought here from Texas for a visit with her slave master. With the help of several people, she hired an Attorney and fought for the right to remain here in California, as a free person. After the judge heard her story, he freed her and her daughters.
She purchased property in what is now downtown Los Angeles, and became one of the wealthiest women in Los Angeles. She helped feed the poor, heal the sick and helped birth children(Biddy Mason studied Midwifery, and carried a medical bag, because she was a bonafied healer, and helped so many) as a Mid-Wife.

The next time that you're in the downtown area, I dare you to look up Biddy Mason!
(The Biddy Mason Wall is located at 333 S. Spring St., LA, CA)

Thank you Dr. Sheperd, Shirley and Pat for inviting me on such a lovely, educational journey in Los Angeles.

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