Until very recently, when most Americans thought of Los Angeles, they did not image a multiracial metropolis. Instead, Hollywood’s portrait of LA shaped their imagination with visions of Jack Webb, the Nelson family, Beaver and his brother, the Brady Bunch, and Donna Reed. The view was black and white, and not just in the early days before color television. Blacks, especially after the catastrophic Watts Revolt (or Riot, depending upon your perspective), were intruders into the suburban dream of Los Angeles. The Japanese, Chinese, and most remarkably of all, the Mexicans and other Latinos, were virtually invisible.

The city’s history is often told in a similar manner. That’s too bad since it means that some of the most fascinating history of the city, and its economic, cultural and political growth, is ignored or obscured. This course attempts to recapture some of that history, providing students with a more comprehensive history of the city and the region by looking at the interplay between the people who built Los Angeles. The story is at times tragic and painful, at others inspirational. Throughout that history is the foundation for today’s city, with its opportunities and challenges.


MRF 340, Monday/Wednesday, 8:30-10am