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Leimert Park, Los Angeles

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Black u s history in leimert park los angeles pt 1

Leimert Park is a residential neighborhood in the south region of Los Angeles, California. It is a master planned community built in the 1920s with Spanish Colonial Revival homes and tree-lined streets. It is also considered the center of both rich historical and contemporary African American art, music, and culture in Los Angeles. The neighborhood is located in the park of the same name.


Map of Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Jefferson Park flanks Leimert Park to the north, the Exposition Park neighborhood and Vermont Square afre on the east, Hyde Park on the south and View Park-Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw on the west. Leimert Park angles to the West Adams district on the northwest. Leimert Park is bounded by Exposition Boulevard on the north, South Van Ness Avenue and Arlington Avenue on the east, West Vernon Avenue on the south and Victoria Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west.


Leimert Park is named for its developer, Walter H. Leimert, who began the subdivision business center project in 1928. He had the master plan designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, of the sons of New York's Central Park landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Leimert Park was one of the first comprehensively planned communities in Southern California designed for upper and middle-income families. It was considered a model of urban planning for its time: automobile traffic near schools and churches was minimized, utility wires were buried or hidden from view in alleys, and densely planted trees lined its streets. Walter Leimert envisioned a self-sufficient commercial district community, with a town square, movie theatre, transportation, and retail shopping. Leimert Park became a desirable community, and one of the first to have a Home Owners' Association (HOA).

The Mediterranean Revival Style Leimert Park Theater, now renamed the Vision Theatre, is located at the south end of Leimert Park Village at 3341 West Forty-Third Place and Degnan Ave. It was designed in 1931 by the architectural firm Morgan, Walls & Clements, and opened on April 21, 1932. It is named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Initially white-dominated, Japanese Americans integrated Leimert Park after World War II.

The Crenshaw Square Shopping Center was inspired and designed by Japanese architecture.Tak's Coffee still resides and operates on Crenshaw Blvd. Japanese gardens as well as elderly Japanese American residents, still exist in Leimert today. With African Americans integrating Leimert Park in the 1950s, Leimert and the neighboring Crenshaw District eventually became one of the largest black middle class neighborhoods in the United States.


Today, Leimert Park is considered the center of a contemporary African-American arts scenes in Los Angeles. One former resident, filmmaker John Singleton, has called it "the black Greenwich Village."


Leimert Park has blues and jazz night clubs, theaters for musicals, dramatic performances, award ceremonies, comedy specials, poetry readings and venues for hip hop. Project Blowed is the longest running hip hop open mic in the world, started in 1994 by Aceyalone and friends. It is hosted by Kaos Network, and held every Thursday night at 43rd Place and Leimert Boulevard.

Leimert Plaza Park is at the district's center park, adjoined by retail shops and the historic Vision Theatre. It is a popular place for live performances and neighborhood gatherings. It has a landmark cascading fountain, and a drum circle that convenes every Sunday.

The Lucy Florence Coffee House and Cultural Center came to Leimert Park in early 2000, hosting an array of talent, art, and music. Lucy Florence is located at 3351 West 43rd Street @ Degnan Ave and is owned by America's Next Top Model's (Aswirl Twins) Richard and Ron Harris. The coffee house was named after their mother Lucy Florence on her 75th birthday, when it was located in the Hollywood neighborhood.

Another famous jazz venue is the 5th Street Dick's Coffee and Jazz Emporium, founded by Richard Fulton in 1991, continued to be a mainstay for jazz music lovers, professional chess players, poets and famous comedians.

Tavis Smiley, the producer and host of National Public Radio (NPR) and the nationally synicated late-night talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS has production studios called The Smiley Group, Inc located within the Leimert Park neighborhood.

Crenshaw/LAX Line

The Leimert Park station, on the Los Angeles Metro light rail Crenshaw/LAX Line is currently under construction, and will be located near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue. Nearby Leimert Plaza Park is planned to be part of a new walkable corridor with a direct entrance into the station. It will also have new parking structures. A section of 43rd Place will be closed to car traffic and converted to a public plaza. Some businesses may be required to have a front entrance for people strolling down the street.

Real estate

In 2013 and 2014, resurgent home prices in South Los Angeles spurred much interest among many young professionals into moving into Leimert Park and among other areas within the region, reigniting mixed fears of gentrification and hope for increased business investment.


A total of 11,782 people lived in Leimert Park according to the 2000 U.S. census— counted 9,880 residents in the 1.19 square mile neighborhood, about the same as the population density in the city as a whole. The median age was 38, considered old as opposed to the rest of the city. The percentage of residents aged 65 and above was among the county's highest.

Within the neighborhood, African Americans made up 79.6% of the population, with Latinos at 11.4%, Asian 4.9%, White 1.5% and other 3.2%. El Salvador and Mexico were the most common places of birth for the 10.7%% of the residents who were born abroad, considered a low percentage of foreign-born when compared with the city or county as a whole.

The median household income in 2008 dollars was $45,865, considered average for the city but low for the county. The percentage of households earning $20,000 or less was high, compared to the county at large. The average household size of 2.2 people was low for both the city and the county. Renters occupied 54.1% of the housing units, and homeowners occupied the rest.

In 2000 there were 23 families headed by single parents, or 8.7%, a rate that was low for the county and the city. There were 990 veterans, or 11.1% of the population, considered high when compared with the city overall. The percentage of veterans who served in the Vietnam War was among the county's highest.

  • These are the ten neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of black residents:
    1. View Park-Windsor Hills, California, 86.5%
    2. Gramercy Park, Los Angeles, 86.4%
    3. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, 79.6%
    4. Manchester Square, Los Angeles, 78.6%
    5. Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Los Angeles, 71.3%
    6. Ladera Heights, California, 71%
    7. Hyde Park, Los Angeles, 66%
    8. Chesterfield Square, Los Angeles, 58.6%
    9. West Compton, California, 57.6%
    10. Westmont, California, 57.5%


    Leimert Park residents aged 25 and older holding a four-year degree amounted to 55.9% of the population in 2000, about average within the city and the county; but there was a high percentage of residents aged 25 and older with college education.

    Leimert Park is served by Los Angeles Unified School District. Within Leimert Park are the following schools:

  • C.A.T.C.H High School, charter high school, 4120 11th Avenue
  • Audubon Middle School, 4120 11th Avenue, LAUSD
  • Tom Bradley Global Awareness Magnet, LAUSD alternative, 3875 Dublin Avenue
  • Transfiguration Elementary, 4020 Roxton Avenue (private)
  • Creative Learning Center Elementary, 1726 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (private)
  • New Heights Charter Elementary, 2202 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (LAUSD)
  • Forty-Second Street Elementary, 4231 Fourth Avenue (LAUSD)
  • Other schools

  • Libertas College Preparatory (on the Tom Bradley campus), 2875 Dublin Avenue (charter)
  • Recreation and parks

  • Leimert Plaza Park is located on 4395 Leimert Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, unstaffed, with picnic tables, park bathrooms, benches, decorative water fountain, and under construction Metro Crenshaw/LAX Line.
  • Pocket Park at Degnan Boulevard and Norton Avenue, unnamed
  • People St Plaza, between the Leimert Plaza Park and the Vision Theater on 43rd Place.
  • Notable residents

  • Former Los Angeles Mayor- Tom Bradley
  • Late Singer Ray Charles
  • Late Singer Ella Fitzgerald
  • Mark Bradford, artist known for grid-like abstract paintings combining collage with paints, incorporates found objects from around his home in Leimert Park.
  • Carl C. Rasmussen (1901–1952), Los Angeles City Council member
  • Dom Kennedy, rapper
  • References

    Leimert Park, Los Angeles Wikipedia

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