Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles 0520275284

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Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles
 0520275284

Table of contents :
Subvention......Page 3
Title......Page 6
Copyright......Page 7
Dedication......Page 9
Contents......Page 10
Introduction......Page 11
1: Luisa Moreno, Charlotta Bass, and the Constellations of Interethnic Working-Class Radicalism......Page 29
2: Spatial Entitlement......Page 79
3: Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s)......Page 119
4: “Teeth-Gritting Harmony”......Page 159
5: Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles......Page 207
Conclusion......Page 233
Acknowledgments......Page 241
Selected Bibliography......Page 246
Index......Page 264

Citation preview

THE GEORGE GUND FOUNDATION IMPRINT IN AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES The Goerge Gund Foundation has endowed this imprint to advance understanding of the history, culture, and current issues of African Americans.

The publisher gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the African American Studies Endowment Fund of the University of California Press Foundation, which was established by a major gift from the George Gund Foundation.

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity

AMERICAN CROSSROADS

Edited by Earl Lewis, George Lipsitz, George Sánchez, Dana Takagi, Laura Briggs, and Nikhil Pal Singh

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement

in Los Angeles

Gaye Theresa Johnson

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS Berkeley

·

Los Angeles

·

London

The publisher gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Lisa See Endowment Fund in Southern California History and Culture of the University of California Press Foundation.

University of California Press, one of the most distinguished university presses in the United States, enriches lives around the world by advancing scholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Its activities are supported by the UC Press Foundation and by philanthropic contributions from individuals and institutions. For more information, visit www.ucpress.edu. University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Ltd. London, England © 2013 by The Regents of the University of California Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Johnson, Gaye Theresa. Spaces of Conflict, sounds of solidarity : music, race, and spatial entitlement in Los Angeles / Gaye Theresa Johnson. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-0-520-27527-0—ISBN 978-0-520-27528-7 eISBN: 9780520954854 1. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Race relations—History. 2. Minorities— California—Los Angeles—Social conditions. 3. Minorities—Political activity —California—Los Angeles—History. 4. Community development— California—Los Angeles—History. 5. Popular music—Social aspects— California—Los Angeles. 6. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Social conditions. I. Title. F869.L89A2533 2013 979.4’94-dc23 2012039813

Manufactured in the United States of America 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 In keeping with a commitment to support environmentally responsible and sustainable printing practices, UC Press has printed this book on Rolland Enviro100, a 100% post-consumer fiber paper that is FSC certified, deinked, processed chlorine-free, and manufactured with renewable biogas energy. It is acid-free and EcoLogo certified.

For Mary Ella and Theresita, for Shanti and Fauna, for Clyde . . . with thanks. For Juanita and Hymon, for abiding love and faith. For Chuck and our Cayeloncita, for always.

Contents

Introduction: The Future Has a Past 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Luisa Moreno, Charlotta Bass, and the Constellations of Interethnic Working-Class Radicalism Spatial Entitlement: Race, Displacement, and Sonic Reclamation in Postwar Los Angeles Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s): Coalitional Politics in an Age of Violence “Teeth-Gritting Harmony”: Punk, Hip-Hop, and Sonic Spatial Politics Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles

Conclusion: In This Great Future. . . Acknowledgments Selected Bibliography Index

Introduction The Future Has a Past

The unmistakable roots of the universal solidarity of the colored peoples of the world are no longer ‘predictable’ as they were in my father’s time—they are here. —Lorraine Hansberry1

This is a book about interracial antiracist alliances, about divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and about the cultural expressions that emerge from shared urban spaces. Examining Afro-Chicano politics from the 1940s to the present, I reveal the radical antiracist and egalitarian cultural politics that helped nurture and sustain working-class alliances, intellectual advances, and cultural practices that challenge traditional boundaries of race, space, and region. These politics have resulted in critical interethnic challenges to structures of dominance in Los Angeles, making this story relevant to the history of diverse urban political cultures in every American city. Relationships between African Americans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles from World War II to the present have been characterized by both Conflict and coalition, by antagonisms and alliances. The histories of these two groups have been linked in the City of Angels (and all across the nation) by parallel but not identical histories of labor exploitation, housing segregation, and cultural demonization. Yet while sharing the experiences of containment and confinement, Black and Brown people have also been continually pitted against one another, manipulated by a white power structure to compete with each other for jobs, housing, prestige, and political power. Sharing struggles, spaces, and sounds has enabled Black and Brown people to work together for social justice in Los Angeles over the decades. This is a story of both continuity and rupture. Although racism persisted, resistance always existed. Different eras posed different problems and provoked different solutions. The racial order and racial landscape of today’s neoliberal global city is very different from that of the high-

employment, high-wage metropolis of the 1940s and 1950s. Yet in the midst of enormous changes and transformations, Black and Brown residents of Los Angeles used the physical places they inhabited and the discursive spaces they imagined to assert their common humanity and forge shared struggles grounded in mutuality and solidarity. The political histories of these aggrieved communities entailed the creation of cultural forms that served as key conduits for the collective aspirations of disaffected youth in every generation. The key point underlying this book is that contemporary multiracial struggles for social justice did not emerge in a vacuum. Furthermore, the agents of these struggles deserve to hear and tell a better story about themselves as people and as a collective seeking freedom—a better story than the one that now dominates the discourse on Black–Brown relationships. In other words, the just future envisioned by radical social actors and multiracial movements has a past. I advance here a concept that I call “spatial entitlement,” a way in which marginalized communities have created new collectivities based not just upon eviction and exclusion from physical places, but also on new and imaginative uses of technology, creativity, and spaces. In many instances overlooked by social historians, everyday reclamations of space, assertions of social citizenship, and infrapolitical struggles have created the conditions for future successes in organized collective movements. 2 Spatial entitlements created new articulations, new sensibilities, and new visions about the place of Black, Brown, and working-class people on the local and national landscape. They were also “diagnostic” of authority: following Lila Abu-Lughod and Robin D.G. Kelley, I suggest that spatial entitlement illuminated the “complex interworkings of historically changing structures of power.”3 Understanding it in this way renders everyday acts of resistance and survival demonstrative of more than just the courage of freedom seekers. The variety of strategies enacted by working-class youth to imagine and articulate new modes of social citizenship have been underestimated as a site and mode of scholarly inquiry. In the face of persistent repression, particularly in the meaningful spaces of interracial congregation, these actions can be studied as a barometer of the power relationships between oppressed and oppressors. Taken together, they constitute a philosophy of action that allowed the futures of Black and Brown people to be considered using the same lens of possibility. Spatial entitlement provides a means for understanding how working-class communities and individuals secure or create social membership, even when the neighborhoods and meaningful spaces of congregation around them are destroyed. Spatial entitlement requires an alternative understanding and

construction of the meaning of citizenship. Traditionally, citizenship is defined in terms of social membership in a particular society or national identity. In this regard, Rogers Smith has argued that “citizenship laws literally constitute—they create with legal words—a collective civic identity. They proclaim the existence of a political ‘people’ and designate who those persons are as a people, in ways that often become integral to individuals’ senses of personal identity as well.”4 Excluded from these collective identities, aggrieved people have fashioned alternative expressions of collectivity and belonging. The United States’ use of citizenship as a qualifying category of national belonging reveals an unsavory legal history. Time and again, rather than endowing citizenship with affirmative characteristics of national membership, the United States has historically defined its citizens not as much by who they are, but rather by who they are not: at both federal and local levels, a desire by whites to sustain racial and class privilege has been the driving force behind legislation authored to exclude people based on race, gender, origin, and legal status. When these exclusions constitute the conditions for citizenship, the “civic myths” that inevitably arise as nations define why persons form a people can become what Smith argues are “noble lies . . . [that] cloak the exploitation of citizens by their leaders [and] demonize innocent outsiders.” And “they may also be “ugly, ignoble lies. And they are often likely to be so. . . .”5 These lies have been the basis for the exclusion of generations of racial outsiders. The 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford case demonstrates that such ignoble lies require extraordinary measures of maintenance and justification. In Scott, Chief Justice Taney was forced to execute several legal contortions in order to distinguish the difference between the denial of rights (particularly the franchise) to free Blacks and the denial of rights to white women and minors. In order to preserve the myth of racial inferiority, Taney declared that unlike Blacks, women and minors were U.S. citizens as well as state citizens, entitled to privileges and immunities clause protection. Such women and children were, Taney said, “part of the political family” of those “who form the sovereignty.” Blacks were outside the “family.”6 In the past three years, the United States has passed a series of antiimmigration laws that function to discriminate and exclude with increasing sophistication and malice. Laws such as Arizona’s HB 1070,7 Georgia’s HB 87,8 Alabama’s HB 569 hijack the language of civil rights to exclude racialized subjects from national membership by proclaiming them a threat to the civil liberties of white citizens. Even when these laws have been overturned or modified at the federal level, which is increasingly rare, the

de facto consequence remains, evidenced by anti-immigrant racism: populations perceived to be expendable or unwanted can be excluded not just from citizenship rights but human rights as well. Legal scholar Patricia J. Williams has argued that since citizenship rights have been a crucial terrain of struggle against the totalizing domination of racialized capital, we cannot abandon them as a category of analysis. Williams insists that for Black Americans and others, the discourse of rights embedded in citizenship can still be deployed against the social system that they are supposed to uphold. 10 Spatial entitlement recognizes that for Black and Brown communities in LA, expressions of collective entitlement to national membership have been an important site of resistance over time. The history of this resistance contains significant lessons for understanding not just how these claims are made, but why, as a cumulative political practice, they form a counternarrative to privileged constructions of public life. 11 My discussion of spatial entitlement values the ways in which freedom seekers have attempted to claim human and social rights and recognizes the philosophies of freedom and equality that connect local articulations to international movements. Within this framework, the struggle for social membership and human rights by and among local populations becomes something larger, more just, and more complex than a conventional discussion about citizenship. The spatial articulations these struggles enact become a multireferential practice that holds that imagination and freedom struggles at the center of some of its strongest foundational elements. Struggles for social justice in Los Angeles involved changing the meaning of existing spaces and creating new ones. African Americans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles recognized that ghetto and barrio segregation could also produce unique and creative forms of congregation. 12 The city streets that served as commercial conduits could also become sites for festive celebration and display. Dance halls, night clubs, and youth centers could be transformed into laboratories for the creation of new identities and identifications. Moreover, spatial entitlement was not confined to physical spaces. When housing segregation, police containment, and transit racism made it difficult to move across urban spaces, young Black and Brown people used the discursive spaces of popular music to create shared soundscapes. They did not have to be in each other’s physical presence to enjoy the same music at the same time as it was broadcast to them on radios in living rooms, bedrooms, neighborhood hangouts, and automobiles. These strategies and affinities speak to the power of popular music and of popular culture to envision and create new political possibilities.

Studying the ways that entitlements of space and social membership were enacted through popular culture reveals the history and the promise of shared cultural politics among Black and Brown communities. Spatial entitlement has enormous implications for the study of Black and Brown working-class opposition, because it redresses inattention to the profound role that space plays in everyday life, as well as the cumulative role that everyday life plays in the development of mass movements. Kelley’s analysis of Black working-class resistance on public transportation is instructive here. Segregated public spaces in mid-twentieth-century Birmingham were “daily visual and aural reminders of the semicolonial status Black people occupied in the Jim Crow South.” As such, they constituted important sites of contestation and struggle, and such struggles “offer some of the richest insights into how race, gender, class, space, time and collective memory shape both domination and resistance.” Furthermore, these struggles remind us that Birmingham whites encountered public space as “a kind of ‘democratic space’ where people of different class backgrounds shared city theaters, public conveyances, streets, and parks.” But for Black people in the same era, “whitedominated public space was vigilantly undemocratic and potentially dangerous.”13 Black working-class opposition on Birmingham’s streetcars and buses during WWII, as well as many of the spatial entitlements examined in this book, can help us to understand how marginalized historical actors have worked under injurious conditions to produce, elaborate upon, and defend emancipatory identities. There is an old saying, popular among Black church congregations, that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has even put on its shoes. Contemporary conservative news sources have been a relentless source of characterizations that depict the relationship between Black and Brown communities as little more than eternally tense, inherently competitive, and sometimes mutually violent. At times this has been the only audible discourse in discussions about the futures of these communities, and it has been more lie than truth. While in the record of Black–Brown interactions there have been devastating examples of intergroup tension, there are far more examples of mutually meaningful Black–Brown antiracism struggles and radical creative affiliations. Writing a cultural history of post-war Black–Brown struggles and cultural expressions in Los Angeles shares some of the same methods and aspirations as beat juggling, which involves using a turntable as an instrument. A new sound emerged from hip-hop turntablists in the 1990s that reflected the musical dexterity and competence that DJs must command for their craft. “Beat juggling” indicated unprecedented

advances in digital technology, and helped create a soundscape appropriate for the needs of its listeners. Beat juggling isolates drum and snare hits, vocal phrases, or sound effects by the recording artist and “flips” or combines the sounds with a cross fader; turntablists take what is already contained in a record to create new rhythmic patterns. At times, DJs work together, using two or three turntables each. Together they form a sort of band, with each DJ responsible for a different sound. For example, one DJ will isolate the drums behind a particular song, another will manipulate a record to make a bass line, and yet another will be responsible for a horn riff. One sound alone, or the work of one DJ or sound in this form of beat juggling, means very little until it is joined with other sounds and results in a collective sonic production. When multiple DJs beat juggle in one performance, they must manage multiple turntables and cross faders to break down beats on records and then recreate them. The records they choose when creating these new rhythmic and melodic patterns are as diverse and complex as the styles developed to execute the movement necessary to perform these physical manipulations quickly and accurately. A turntablist has to know records, to have a mental archive not only of songs, but also of phrases, tempos, lyrics, and instrumentation. Turntables have pitch controls to alter the tempos and tones as well, so DJs must be masters of both mixing and memory. 14 The musical productions that emerge from this practice can use eclectic combinations of jazz, soul, rock, hip hop, blues, and funk, resulting in a fusion not only of musical styles, but also of sonic patterns associated with different time periods and diverse social spaces. A listener might hear the sounds of Herbie Hancock, Mongo Santamaria, Cannonball Adderley, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Public Enemy, and the Eagles all in one song. Beat juggling must anticipate audiences’ collective memories and produce an appealing textual combination of those memories. The practice encodes and communicates centuries of musical memory, minimizes the distance between diverse geographical spaces, collapses the time elapsed between different albums and songs, and interpolates a wide range of life experiences into a new beat. In this book, instead of turntables, records, and cross faders, I use the history of Black and Brown people in Los Angeles, spatial studies, music studies, and a desire to see the freedom dreams of interracial struggles met with equity and social justice. The Black and Brown expressive cultures I examine have served as concrete social sites where new forms of social relations are envisioned, constructed, and enacted. These overlapping cultural forms emerged not just as practices containing the memory and history of specific ethnic groups, but also as artistic creations representing the mutual influence and

locally shared experience of LA’s Black and Chicano communities. In this context, music serves as a rich discursive terrain for examining the emerging consciousness that helped shape the personal identities and political struggles of these communities. My inquiry into Black and Brown Conflict and coalition in Los Angeles builds on the work in George Sánchez’s Becoming Mexican American,15 Laura Pulido’s Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left,16 Daniel Widener’s Black Arts West,17 Luis Alvarez’s The Power of the Zoot,18 and Anthony Macías’s Mexican American Mojo. 19 As a book on Los Angeles that examines multiracial resistance and cultural production, my work is in step with these exemplary studies. But I also try to push the theoretical framework of interracial politics further by offering new perspectives about space and representation that utilize historical and cultural examples with enormous relevance to the present. My history of interethnic affiliations and coalitions between African Americans and Chicanos in Los Angeles blends evidence about expressive culture with the story of social movements. I argue that while the institutional records of interethnic alliances in politics in Los Angeles are sparse, the rich repository of evidence contained in the memories of cultural workers and activists offers important insights into the infrapolitics that informed and shaped a common urban antiracist culture of struggle within these two communities of color. Recognizing the value of antiracist struggles requires a belief in the significance of cultural politics, both as a tool of scholarly inquiry and as a means of community mobilization. This book focuses on cultural histories and memories because I believe that they are an invaluable terrain, where social, economic, and political values and meanings are created and contested. By arguing for a new framework with which to view the history of excluded populations in urban areas, I emphasize the significance of studies that interpolate race, memory, class, gender, and popular culture to understand social change. Because Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles were engaged in struggles with and in opposition to other minority groups, the history I offer challenges traditional perspectives on the history of Los Angeles, as well those about its future. This story draws from different kinds of archives—those found in the valuable work of Vicki Ruiz, Robin Kelley, and Robert Lee—and also in the practices that Robert Farris Thompson describes as the “alternative academies” of aggrieved people—their music, dance, and art. While this book begins in 1940, it is important to explicate a partial history of Black– Brown affiliation and struggle, both to establish the “past” that I spoke of as so vital to the future, but also to delineate a mutual and enduring

pattern of resistance among these groups. Though there are many cities with important traditions of Afro-Chicano interaction, the development of Los Angeles is an Afro-Mexican story. AfroMestizos comprised the majority of those recruited to establish a civilian settlement between the mission in San Gabriel and the Presidio of Santa Barbara by the governor of Alta California in the 1780s. The majority of settlers were recruited from Sinaloa (one third of whose residents were of African ancestry) and Rosario (two thirds of whose residents were listed in the census as mulattoes). Lonnie Bunch’s history of Afro-Mestizo settlement of Southern California reveals the racial composition of these first Angelenos: eight mulattoes, two mestizos, two Blacks, and one Mexicano. 20 For almost fifty years Afro-mestizos were an important component of city and state politics. Pío Pico, an Afro-Mexicano from Rosario, was the last Mexican national to govern California. His brother Andrés Pico represented California at the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga (which ended the Mexican War in California) and twice served as a state senator. Until the mid-nineteenth century, many Afro-Mexicanos received land grants, which established them as a landed elite: among them they controlled vast amounts of land in the San Fernando Valley, Topanga Canyon, Eastern San Gabriel Valley, and Simi Valley; by 1820, Maria Rita Valdez was granted Rancho Rodeo de Las Aguas, which is now Beverly Hills. 21 Beyond California, Afro-Mexicanos founded Albuquerque, San Antonio, Nacogdoches, Laredo, and the Presidio de La Bahia. 22 The early contributions of Afro-Mexicanos in California are singularly extraordinary, but also represent an enduring legacy of a particular embodied radicalism. The African-, Native-, and Mexican-American revolutionary anarchist and labor activist Lucy Parsons gained fame among workers during the Chicago Haymarket strike of 1886 and fought against poverty, racism, capitalism, and the state her entire life. Vicente Guerrero, born to an impoverished Black indigenous family in Mexico, taught himself to read and write as he trained troops in the Sierra Madre Mountains. He contributed to the writing of Mexico’s constitution, freed its slaves, and endorsed the education and elevation of its poor and people of color, serving as Mexico’s first president of African and Native American descent. Africans, African Americans, Mexicans, and Indians have co-created communities with radical legacies for centuries. 23 As early as the mid1500s, marronage communities near Veracruz such as San Lorenzo de los Negros, San Lorenzo Cerralvo, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Morenos de Amapa, and Yanga functioned as nuclei of the African legacy in

Mexico, but also as sources of rebellion and resistance. 24 From 1560 to 1580, a group of escaped Black miners from Zacatecas joined with free Chichimec Indians northwest of city and waged rebellions against the settler communities for two decades. As Cedric Robinson has demonstrated, maroon societies in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Texas supplied a radically alternative picture of slavery, race, class, and history by establishing communities that “frequently acquired the multicultural and multiracial character that liberal historians of the early twentieth century had expected of the whole nation.”25 Once Mexico outlawed slavery in 1836, Blacks inhabiting regions in ambiguous reach of Mexican law demanded their freedom: Prefiguring the Dred Scott case, in 1846 a woman known only as “Mary” became the first Western slave to win her freedom through the legal system. Mary was brought to San Jose by her owner. When she learned that Mexican law prohibited bondage, she sued for her liberty by arguing that her enslavement was void. 26 African-American artists, intellectuals, athletes, and ordinary citizens have historically identified Mexico and the border region as places of refuge from racism and inequality in the United States. 27 In 1937, Nannie and Carl Hansberry deliberately challenged the legal system of restrictive covenants in Chicago, which precluded the sale of property to Blacks by white owners. With the help of several white realtors and Supreme Liberty Life Insurance President Harry H. Pace (who did not disclose the race of the home loan borrowers to white property owners in the area) the Hansberrys secretly bought two properties in white neighborhoods on the East and South sides of Chicago. Their daughter Lorraine (future author of the prize-winning play A Raisin in the Sun) described the area around their home on Rhodes Avenue as “a hellishly hostile white neighborhood in which literally, howling mobs surrounded our house.” After a prolonged court battle, the Supreme Court of Illinois upheld the legality of the covenant and forced the family to vacate their home. Although the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision on a legal technicality, this turn of events did not curb white hostility toward the Hansberry children, who were, as Hansberry recounted, spat at, cursed and pummeled in the daily trek to and from school. . . . The fact that my father and the NAACP “won” a Supreme Court decision, in a now famous case which bears his name in the law books, is—ironically—the sort of “progress” our satisfied friends allude to when they presume to deride the more radical means of struggle. The cost, in emotional turmoil, time and money, which led to my father’s

early death as a permanently embittered exile in a foreign country when he saw that after such sacrificial efforts the Negroes of Chicago were as ghetto-locked as ever, does not seem to figure in their calculations. 28 In 1944, Carl Hansberry moved to Mexico to make a home for his family, but died of a cerebral hemorrhage before they could join him. The tragic example of Hansberry and his family demonstrates the severe social and psychological costs of the brutal racism exacted upon Black Americans, and the prominent position that Mexico occupied in the midtwentieth-century Black imagination. Novelist Richard Wright’s travels in the 1940s led him to write that in Mexico, “people of all races and colors live in harmony and without racial prejudices or theories of racial superiority.”29 During his own stay in Mexico, Langston Hughes reported, “here, nothing is barred from me. I am among my own people . . . for Mexico is a Brown man’s country.”30 Willie Wells, three-time U.S. Negro League batting champion remarked, “not only do I get more money playing here, but I live like a king. . . . I am not faced with the racial problem. . . . I’ve found freedom and democracy here, something I never found in the United States. . . . Here in Mexico I am a man.”31 When Lorraine Hansberry attended the University of Guadalajara, she followed a strong tradition of Black American education in Mexican institutions: between 1930 and 1960, African-American artists Charles Alston, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Sargent Claude Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, John Wilson, and Hale Woodruff reinvigorated the concept of the “New Negro” by studying in Mexico or with Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. 32 Hughes’s and Wells’s characterizations of Mexico demonstrate something worth noting here, that the desire for a homeland free of Jim Crow has sometimes generated descriptions of race relations in Mexico that are too generous and uncomplicated. Racism was and remains powerful in Mexico, though it has evolved differently from the United States at different historical moments. Yet for these early-twentiethcentury Black artists and athletes, the identification of the border and Mexico as an escape from U.S. racism prevailed despite Mexico’s attempt in the 1920s to limit Negro emigration. 33 Coalitions among oppressed minorities in California have always been present, even when they have not always ended in victory. As early as

1903, Japanese and Mexican beet workers collaborated against unfair working conditions in Oxnard. The Longshoreman’s Union that emerged from the Los Angeles General Strike of 1934 was racially integrated, as were the farm workers’ unions of the 1930s. In the latter part of that decade, Mexicana employees at CalSan protested discriminatory practices in the hiring of African Americans, so that by the early part of 1942, factory owners were forced to relent under union pressure and hire close to 30 Blacks. As third world nationalism was at its height in Los Angeles, Réies López Tijerina and the Black Panthers co-authored a peace pact; César Chávez and Bobby Seale made visible efforts to demonstrate mutual support for each activist’s constituents, and it was working-class women’s organizing that inspired the coordinated efforts of Ralph Abernathy and Corky Gonzalez for the Poor People’s March to Sacramento and Washington, DC, in 1968. 34 I have chosen to write about Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles because they have long been pitted against each other in debates about civil, economic, and immigrant rights. These narrow depictions undermine collective memories of interracial solidarity by denying existing material and ideological connections between these communities. It is important to acknowledge the power of racial and economic divisions between these two groups, but given all the efforts to divide them, instances of unity and cross-pollination become all the more important. Five chapters reveal the spatial struggles and cultural expressions that comprise a rich record of Black–Brown affiliation in Los Angeles since the 1940s. In Chapter 1, I examine two historically important yet still understudied activists, Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno, who deployed spatial entitlement as a mechanism for fighting racial subordination and spatial exclusion in this era. They laid claim to physical and symbolic spaces in forging networks of political and cultural resistance among Blacks and Mexican Americans. Charlotta Bass’s attempt to move across space to participate in an international congress of women meeting in China and Luisa Moreno’s efforts to stay in the United States by resisting deportation provide a generative point of entry into the politics of space and sound. Bass and Moreno advanced cultural pluralism, integration, and intercultural understanding in the 1930s and 1940s, prior to some of the more renowned interracial activism of later periods. Moreover, the strategies of cultural pluralism these women employed shaped and reflected unprecedented neighborhood and workplace sensibilities that incorporated a mosaic of racial and ethnic groups, a precursor of urban activism in the 1950s in Los Angeles. This chapter delineates the

relationship between the formation of interracial alliances in the 1930s and the repression of interracial spaces in the 1940s and 1950s. It also fills a gap in recent scholarship on Los Angeles: a gender analysis in the history of interracial politics. Chapter 2 reveals how Los Angeles African Americans and Chicanos managed to deploy cultural resources to survive in the midst of racial backlash and the evisceration of working-class neighborhoods during the urban renewal period in Los Angeles. It is here that I explicate in more detail my theory of spatial entitlement. Though both African Americans and Mexican Americans achieved broader geographical opportunities for housing and employment in the postwar era, and though both subsequently observed a modicum of progress in integration and employment, both were also witness to pointed and devastating disregard for their communities, even when the physical space of their neighborhoods expanded. I show how as the boundaries of segregated Black and Brown neighborhoods were expanding incrementally, the social agencies and institutions that served these areas were under persistent attack by city and federal policies in the postwar era. Facing the evisceration of historically Black and Brown neighborhoods under urban renewal, and restricted from accessing the rights of full citizenship, Black and Brown youth claimed alternative, often discursive spaces in which important democratic and egalitarian visions were fashioned. These spatial claims were manifest in temporary locations and ephemeral pronouncements that proclaimed the relevance and rights of Black and Brown people in Los Angeles. In Chapter 3, I show how third world internationalism—often mischaracterized as simply ethnic nationalism—among Blacks and Chicanos culminated differently in LA than in other parts of the country for demographic and historical reasons, and resulted in a moment of radical transformation in the meanings of race and community, despite the material and ideological divisions engendered by the disbursement of funds in LA from the War on Poverty. This chapter underscores themes of solidarity among working-class minorities, such as coalitions between Réies López Tijerina and the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party; between La Raza groups and the LA Black Congress; and among working-class organizations and churches in South Los Angeles. It also examines the divisions engendered by local and national developments in the realms of racial and cultural politics. I use the music and performances of WAR and The Mixtures to demonstrate the complexity of interracial politics and memory in the midst of changing racial and spatial identifications. I show how some of the most significant articulations emerged from interethnic coalitions, which held city officials and the

federal government accountable for the rights of poor people and workers. Chapter 4 examines Chicano, Latino, and Black punk music, arguing that the emergence of a multifaceted resistance in the 1980s is akin to what Louis Althusser (in another context) has called “teeth gritting harmony.”35 In the 1970s and 1980s, supply-side economics exacted devastating fiscal damages upon working-class people. In response, a radical new cultural form emerged. Punk music and its subcultures created new categories of identity through dreams of colorless solidarity, but in the process predicated these categories upon a color-blind anarchy that demanded the subversion of all other forms of identity before it. One of the most illustrative examples of the articulation of the right to retain spatial and cultural identities rooted in meaningful history is registered in the cultural creations of Black and Latino punk musicians and their audiences from the late 1970s to the 1990s. These punk subcultures reveal more than the damaging effects of economic downsizing and deindustrialization upon communities of color: they reveal new social identities adopted under the press of damaging social realities. These punk musicians and participants created a liminal space where new social relations were possible. In Chapter 5, I show how the militarization of urban space, antiimmigration policies, loss of assets, and disenfranchisement all contribute to what I term “spatial immobilization” among the black and Latino urban poor. 36 I explore the ways that Black–Brown-led movements have countered that immobilization since the 1990s, and I consider the spatial entitlements expressed and enacted by cultural workers and social activists. Struggles for freedom and equality currently engaged by multiracial social justice movements emerge from the enduring historical relevance of Black–Brown spatial struggles and coalitional politics. It is a past whose legacy has too much power to remain unacknowledged and unexamined, particularly as evidence of what cultural workers and community activists have already accomplished on the road to a just future. History has shown that the record of interracial coalitional politics can be as demoralizing as it is powerful. The social problems and internal tensions that plague us in separate struggles can feel—and be—more complex when we form movements and share dreams with other collectives. If we wish to envision and enact a future in which mutual and separate struggles will come to just fruition, we have to rewrite the story we’ve been told about who we are and about our value to each other. Many of the activists and cultural workers whose stories comprise this book testified brilliantly to that future in their practice of coalitional

politics, but those of us who are subjected to the constant characterization of Black–Brown relations as unproductive have forgotten that this future has a past. The roots of universal solidarity, as Lorraine Hansberry wrote, are here. They are realized in the actions and cultural productions of freedom seekers around the world. Even when struggles for human dignity and social justice take place in one locale in which all participants work and live, they increasingly take on radical practices exchanged across figurative and regional borders. The articulation of spatial entitlements by cultural workers, activists, and ordinary people flow from the knowledge that meaningful space is essential for the survival of communities, but also for the discursive practices encoding the stories that define and redefine who people are, where they fit into the world, and what they envision for the future. Like the practice of beat juggling, this book benefits from the rich repository of histories and cultural productions enacted by Black and Brown people, tries to find where expressive culture links up with radical struggle, and presents one version of a critical historiography of Black– Brown spatial struggle and cultural expression in postwar Los Angeles.

NOTES 1. McKissack, Pat, and Fredrick L. McKissack. Young, Black, and Determined: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry. New York: Holiday House, 1998. 2. Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 56; James C. Scott describes infrapolitics as circumspect struggles “waged daily by subordinate groups [which] like infrared rays, [are] beyond the visible end of the spectrum. That [they] should be invisible . . . is in large part by design—is a tactical choice born of a prudent awareness of the balance of power.” Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990, p. 183. 3. Abu-Lughod, Lila. “The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power through Bedouin Women.” American Ethnologist 17, no. 1 (1990): 55; Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 8. 4. Smith, Rogers M. Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997, pp. 30–31. 5. Ibid., pp. 33, 34.

6. Dred Scott v. Sanford 60 U.S. 393 (1857). 7. SB 1070 requires the police to “detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment. It also makes it a state crime—a misdemeanor—to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.” Archibold, Randal C. “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration” New York Times, April 23, 2010. 8. HB 87 required police officers to check people arrested for certain crimes, permitting them to retain these people if the person taken into custody is found to be undocumented. It made it a crime to “knowingly and intentionally” transport or harbor any undocumented immigrants. Lastly, it made it mandatory for any company that employs more than 10 workers to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of potential employees. In June 2011, a federal judge blocked major parts of the law, finding them unconstitutional. 9. HB 56 allows local police to check the immigration status of people stopped for other crimes, requires public school officials to collect data on the number of illegal immigrants enrolling, and forbids illegal immigrants from entering into private contracts or conducting any business with the state. Gomez, Alan. “In Wake of Immigration Law, Some Migrants Return to Alabama.” USA Today, February 20, 2012. 10. Williams, Patricia J. The Alchemy of Race and Rights. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991. 11. Fraser, Nancy. Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989, p. 164. Rachel Buff’s remarkable dissertation, Calling Home was of invaluable assistance to me in understanding the arguments against citizenship as a category of analysis. 12. Here I invoke Earl Lewis’s important work on the way in which Blacks turned the limits of segregation into vital forms of congregation. Lewis, Earl. In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in TwentiethCentury Norfolk, Virginia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991, pp. 91–92. 13. Kelley, Race Rebels, p. 56. 14. I was first made aware of beat juggling through a conversation with turntablist Brendan “BK-One” Kelly. I thank turntablist Lord “DJ Lord”

Aswod for his instruction on pitch controls and the technicalities of beat juggling. 15. Sánchez documents the civil rights struggles, cultural politics, and formal and informal economies of Mexican immigrants in LA from 1900 to 1940. Sánchez, George. Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 16. In her history of multiracial activism and struggle in LA from the 1960s through the 1970s, Pulido examines critical historical developments in the Black Panther Party, El Centro de Acción Social y Autónomo (CASA), and East Wind to consider the mutual and autonomous relationships of their relevant communities. Revealing the third world radical politics nurtured and produced in Black, Chicana and Chicano, and Japanese organizations and communities, she reveals a largely untold history of alliance politics and their challenges. Pulido, Laura. Black Brown Yellow and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. 17. In Black Arts West, Widener examines the significance of Black cultural politics and productions in Los Angeles from 1945 to 1992. He argues that the distinctive, collective cultural productions of Black artists, cultural workers, and activists in LA constitute a unique and significant social movement. Widener, Daniel. Black Arts West: Culture and Struggle in Postwar Los Angeles. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. 18. Luis Alvarez argues that Black, Mexican, Asian-American, and white youths deployed popular culture as a means to assert new identities and oppose dominant narratives of acceptable style politics and behavior. Alvarez’s history compels readers to consider the multiracial community of zoot style practitioners on its own terms, as a generation and demographic who self-consciously created new multiracial affiliations and cultural productions. Alvarez, Luis. The Power of the Zoot: Youth Culture and Resistance during World War II. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. 19. Macías’s narrative of postwar Mexican-American urban culture in LA reveals the centrality of Mexican-American youth in LA’s popular music, car culture, and zoot phenomenon. Macías argues that the cultural productions and experiences effected by interracial congregation and second-generation identities created important new standpoints and vernaculars of entitlement, transforming what it meant to be Mexican American both within the Mexican community and in relation to the

postwar nation. Anthony Macías, Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935–1968. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008. 20. Bunch documents: “Luis Quintero, a 55-year-old Black tailor accompanied by his mulatto wife Maria Petra Rubio, 40, and their five children. Quintero was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1725. Jose Moreno, 22, and Maria Guadalupe Gertrudis, 19, a recently wed mulatto couple, born in Rosario, Mexico. Manuel Camero, 30, and Maria Tomasa, 24, two mulattoes also from Rosario. Antonio Mesa, 38, a Negro born in Alamos, Sonora, his mulatto wife, Ana Gertrudis Lopez, 27, and their two children. Maria Manuela Calixtra, 43, the mulatto mother of six and her Indian husband, Basilia Rosas, 67. Maria Rufina Dorotea, 45, also a mulatto, brought her three children and her mestizo husband, 42-year-old Jose Antonia Navarro.” Lonnie Bunch III, Black Angelenos: The African American in Los Angeles, 1850–1950. Los Angeles: California AfroAmerican Museum, 1989, pp. 10–12. 21. Ibid., pp. 10–12. See also, Rios-Bustamante, Antonio. “Los Angeles, Pueblo and Region, 1781–1850: Continuity and Adaptation on the North Mexican Periphery” (PhD dissertation, UCLA, 1985), pp. 56–59, 71–72. 22. Menchaca, Martha. Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001. 23. The literature on Afro-Indian-Mexican communities and encounters is impressive: for example, Ivan Van Sertima has demonstrated evidence of an African presence in Mexico centuries before Columbus; Dennis Valdéz has documented a Black population in Oaxaca as early as 1523. Van Sertima, Ivan. They Came Before Columbus. New York: Random House, 1972; Valdéz, Dennis Nodín. “The Decline of Slavery In Mexico.” Americas 44, no. 2 (1987): 167. 24. This is evidenced, for example, by Gaspar Yanga’s revolt on the sugar plantations of Veracruz in 1570. He led his followers into the nearby nearly inaccessible mountains and kept the forces of the Crown at bay for many years. 25. Cedric J. Robinson, Black Movements in America. New York: Routledge, 1997, pp. 12–13, 15; Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. London: ZED, 1983, pp. 184–185. 26. Katz, William Loren. The Black West: A Documentary and Pictoral History of the African American Role in the Westward Expansion of the

United States. New York: Broadway, 1996. 27. In 1917, thousands of Blacks escaping brutal conditions in the South migrated not northward, like so many of their counterparts, but southwestward, establishing an agricultural community in Baja, California. According to Ted Vincent, with strong cooperation between these Black immigrants and Mexican locals, the community endured until 1960. Vincent, Ted. “Black Hopes in Baja California: Black American and Mexican cooperation, 1917–1926,” Western Journal of Black Studies, 21, no. 3 (1997): 204. 28. Hansberry, Lorraine. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. New York: Vintage Books, 1969, p. 20. 29. Quoted in Horne, Gerald. Black and Brown: African-Americans and the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920. New York: New York University Press, 2005, pp. 183–192. 30. Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume 1: 1902– 1941: I, Too, Sing America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, pp. 40, 42. 31. Horne, Black and Brown, pp. 183–192. 32. In her important work, Lizzette LeFalle-Collins has demonstrated that the work of Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco provided a visual model that expressed and encouraged communal interaction toward the shared goals of fighting oppression and celebrating their cultural heritage. LeFalleCollins, Lizzetta. “The Mexican Connection: the New Negro and Border Crossings.” American Visions 11, no. 6 (1996): 20. 33. Horne, Black and Brown, pp. 183–192. 34. Dymally, Mervyn M. “Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americas: The Politics of Coalition.” In: Wollenberg, Charles (Ed.), Ethnic Conflict in California History. Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, 1970, p. 166. 35. Althusser, L. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” In: Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. New York: New Left Books, 1971. 36. African Americans and Latinos, together, constitute 67 percent of the total state-prison population, though the rate of incarceration is significantly higher for the former. Hayes, Joseph M. “California’s Changing Prison Population.” San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, August 2006.

CHAPTER 1

Luisa Moreno, Charlotta Bass, and the Constellations of Interethnic Working-Class Radicalism One person can’t do anything; it’s only with others that things are accomplished. —Luisa Moreno 1 [W]hole communities became witness to the importance of what appeared to be singular causes. —Robin D.G. Kelley2

In Los Angeles during the Second World War and the immediate postwar period, Black and Mexican-American activists, artists, and youth cultures deployed the strategy of spatial entitlement as a way of advancing democratic and egalitarian ideals. Spatial entitlement entails occupying, inhabiting, and transforming physical places, but also imagining, envisioning, and enacting discursive spaces that “make room” for new affiliations and identifications. Locked in by residential segregation and territorial policing, locked out of the jobs, schools, and amenities in neighborhoods of opportunity, and sometimes even locked up in the region’s jails and prisons, Blacks and Mexicans in Los Angeles turned oppressive racial segregation into creative and celebratory congregation. They transformed ordinary residential and commercial sites into creative centers of mutuality, solidarity, and collectivity. Precisely because they experienced race as place, changing the racial realities of their society required them to challenge its spatial order as well. Spatial entitlement encompasses sonic spaces as well. Sound travels even when people cannot. Individuals in separate spaces can savor the same sounds. The sonic realm is not merely a matter of frequency and vibrations in that it also entails the construction of social “soundscapes.”3 Scholars of the blues, salsa, and banda music have long argued that among displaced and dispossessed populations, music serves as a home from which listeners can never be evicted. 4 Blacks and Mexican Americans in

Los Angeles were not only visible to one another in the physical spaces they shared but also audible to one another in sonic spaces that they inhabited separately as well as together. Popular music performed publicly but also consumed privately through radio and recordings produced a shared sonic space that promoted mutual identifications and prefigured subsequent political affiliations. As Michael Bull and Les Back remind us, “sound makes us rethink our relation to power.”5 For Blacks and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s, the physical and sonic spaces of the city were places of containment and confinement. They were not only isolated from white residential and commercial spaces but also constantly pitted against each other in desperate competition for scarce resources. Yet the tactics of spatial entitlement enabled them to perceive similarities as well as differences, to build political affiliations and alliances grounded in intercultural communication and coalescence in places shaped by struggles for spatial entitlement. I use the spatial metaphor of “constellations of struggle” to trace these activities. Stars in constellations are related to one another because taken together they reveal patterns, but they also have independent existences. The spatial and racial politics of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s created constellations of struggle that tell us a great deal about how alliances and affiliations coalesce into coalitions, even though participants did not necessarily think of themselves as creators of a common cause. Two historically important yet less-studied activists, Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno, deployed spatial entitlement as a mechanism for fighting racial subordination and spatial exclusion in this era. They laid claim to physical and symbolic spaces in forging networks of political and cultural resistance among Blacks and Mexican Americans. Charlotta Bass’s attempt to move across space to participate in an international congress of women meeting in China and Luisa Moreno’s efforts to stay in the United States by resisting deportation provide a generative point of entry into the politics of space and sound. Early in 1949, Charlotta Bass was ecstatic. As editor of the most enduring Black newspaper in Los Angeles, she was invited to attend the Women’s Asiatic Conference in Peking. “It never dawned on me,” she wrote, “that I would ever have the opportunity even to consider a visit to that part of the world.”6 The invitation reflected the international attention she had garnered after nearly three decades of social justice work among the multiracial members of the working class in Los Angeles. From the time she began editing the California Eagle (often called just “the Eagle”) in 1912, Bass’s writings and activism transformed the political import of

Black Los Angeles to both local communities of color and international organizations. Well known for her public campaigns against racially restrictive covenants in housing and persistent efforts on behalf of Black community development and empowerment, Bass also championed the rights and dignity of Mexican Americans. She served as a member of the sponsoring commission for the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, which was organized on behalf of a group of young Mexican Americans falsely accused of murder, and she campaigned forcefully against the racial brutalities exacted upon Mexican American zoot suiters during the summer of 1943. Congress of Industrial Organizations activist Alice McGrath recalled that even before the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión took up the cause, the California Eagle was “one of the first papers to recognize and publicize the racist and discriminatory nature of that case.”7 When Bass arrived at the airport for her trip to China, she was detained. In an organized effort, officials delayed the processing of her paperwork for so long that she missed her flight. “After a night’s wrestle with sleep, I awoke the next morning . . . with a renewed determination to make the California Eagle a bigger and better newspaper . . . and as I settled down to the production of the next issue . . . I whispered to it, ‘I can’t go to China, but you can. And you will tell the people how disappointed I was.’”8 Bass’s resolve to enable her newspaper to travel where she could not— to use discursive space as a response to the constraints placed on her movement inside physical space—constituted an exercise in spatial entitlement. Her decision to disperse the disappointing news of repression took its place in a long tradition among aggrieved community members who have used the press to expose injustice. For years she had been articulating the connection between domestic racism and international imperialism and also among the seemingly particular grievances of besieged communities. Six years earlier, at the time of the violence of the Zoot Suit Riots, Bass, like many of her contemporaries, had come to believe that those opposed to equality in America “shared ideals, goals, and tactics with enemies abroad.”9 To miss an opportunity to share these insights with a pan-Asian audience was a loss that held singular significance for Bass. She had something to say about interethnic identification and affiliation, and it was an expression honed by sustained, radical engagement with working-class struggle. Halted by city officials, Bass was forced to articulate from a liminal space between the enduring mobility of her words (via the California Eagle) and the sudden imposition of immobility on her body (in her physical detention). In another context, geographer David Harvey has argued that the

politics of space lie in the contradiction between mobility and immobility. Following him, I argue that it is in this space between mobility and containment that many Black and Brown people in Los Angeles struggled to preserve their neighborhoods, to enjoy the freedom to congregate, and to create the mutual spaces of political and cultural expression that inspire collective success. 10 At nearly the same moment, Luisa Moreno, one of the most visible Latina labor and civil rights activists in the United States from the 1930s to 1950, was facing deportation for her own interethnic activism that she had begun two decades previously. Moreno had organized Latino, Black, and Italian cigar rollers in Florida, cannery workers in California, migrant workers in the Rio Grande Valley, and pecanshellers in San Antonio. In her work from 1935 to 1947 in Los Angeles, she had encouraged cross-plant interethnic alliances and women’s leadership inside several area foodprocessing firms. Rather than emphasize the primacy of the individual, Moreno distinguished herself as an educator, agitator, and mobilizer by focusing on the relationship between individuals and their communities. 11 In 1950, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was thirteen years old, and averaged five—often highly publicized—trials per year in California. 12 Its focus on un-American and subversive activities was based on the assumption that the Communist Party had infiltrated social programs such as those started by the New Deal and also influenced the strategies and intentions of social justice workers and organizations. The HUAC perceived the particular accumulation and deployment of Moreno’s experience, coupled with her sustained commitment to collective action among Black, Brown, and working-class white women, as sufficient justification for her deportation that year. Moreno’s sentiment on the question of her eviction from the United States was that the HUAC could “talk about deporting me . . . but they can never deport the people that I’ve worked with and with whom things were accomplished for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of workers—things that can never be destroyed.”13 Like Bass, Moreno focused her activism on challenges deployed in what often appear to be the interests of singular racial groups, but both women kept a steady emphasis upon the common oppressions suffered by Mexican-American, Black, and Jewish communities in Los Angeles and later San Diego. This sensitivity to interethnic unity stemmed from more than abstract ideals: it emerged from the spaces that members of these groups shared at work places, in neighborhoods, on public transit vehicles, and in their leisure time pursuits in recreational, artistic, and cultural venues.

FIGURE 1. Demonstrators marching along Broadway in Los Angeles demand the repeal of the Smith and McCarran Acts, circa July 19, 1950.

Studying these women as part of the same frame of interracial antiracist struggle in Los Angeles reveals a critical moment not visible when we study them separately. The rhetorical strategies of interethnic affiliation and identification created by and around these women’s mutual endeavors significantly shaped the narrative of the Black–Brown political alliance and its cultural corollaries for years to come. Bass and Moreno were principal architects of midcentury cross-racial politics. That these women of color were likely the most influential local activists in these LA communities at this time is a fact that cannot be overestimated. They made critical interventions against structures of racism, imperialism, and spatial oppression over several decades, and both were among the most visible participants in the infrapolitics that informed and shaped a common urban antiracist culture of struggle within the Black and Brown communities of Los Angeles. Even without material evidence of their interactions, it strains common sense to assume that Bass and Moreno never met. In 1943, the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (SLDC) was formed in Los Angeles by an interracial, intergenerational—and at times, trans-national—coalition of labor leaders, journalists, and community activists in defense of Mexican

youths falsely convicted of murder. Both women were active on the SLDC and in its relevant communities at the same time. Undoubtedly, each was aware of the other’s work to generate new political sensibilities and identities among the women and men in their respective communities. Both engaged in affirmative declarations of the rights of minority communities in order to convey their disappointment in the difference between the rhetoric of American universality and the realities of home-front inequality. This chapter argues that Bass and Moreno, in the same moment and city, envisioned and enacted a plural, egalitarian, democratic, and intercultural “America,” in concert with artists, intellectuals, and activists and that this vision and practice deployed spatial and cultural politics that have tended to be overlooked or underestimated in the historiography of this period and these struggles. To understand their significance in this context, it is helpful to consider this story within my theoretical framework of a constellation of struggle, which delineates the array of activism, histories, and identities that each woman symbolically brought to her activity with the SLDC. “Constellations” suggest mobility, as well as the ability of these activists to re-form around different nuclei of causes and struggle. The constellations of struggle that coalesced around the SLDC were foregrounded by the radical critiques raised by Black and Brown working-class communities in Los Angeles. Civil rights struggles in and for both communities had long made their mark on the national landscape of civil rights struggles and created a genealogy of empowerment critical for the articulation of social membership in the post-WWII era. A constellation of struggle is likewise a feminist intervention in the androcentric characterization of this time as the era of the GI generation. 14 Looking at constellations enables us to take seriously the intersection between women’s embodied social identities and the larger historical developments of the moment. The particular timing of the SLDC politics precipitated an intensification of persecution against Bass and Moreno by government and city officials. By the end of the decade, The California Eagle would no longer be in Bass’s hands and Moreno would be deported. For these reasons and many more, the coalitional politics of the SLDC mark an important historical moment. And though this interracial mobilization arose out of the violence of the Sleepy Lagoon case, its consequences created a far more important legacy: new language about and strategies for the assertion of humanity and social entitlement. The particular alliance politics practiced by Bass and Moreno set a crucial precedent for the committee’s strategic interracial mobilization and for subsequent spatial and sonic politics in Los Angeles.

EACH IN THEIR OWN CONTEXTS The full import of the constellations of struggle brought by each activist to the SLDC is best understood by considering their respective histories of activism and community sensibilities, including the community activism that engendered and resulted from their work. Moreno was born into an elite Guatemalan family and traveled as a teenager to Mexico City, where she worked as a journalist and pursued her talents as a poet. Vicki Ruiz conjectures that it may have been Moreno’s “sense of adventure and certainly . . . a streak of rebelliousness” that may have underpinned her early rejection of her family’s privilege. In any case, Moreno’s renunciation of her family’s wealth “permanently strain[ed] her relationship with her parents and siblings. . . .”15 After a few years in Mexico’s artistic circles, she migrated to New York with her husband in 1928 and became a mother the same year. Her experience as a garment worker living in Spanish Harlem provided the impetus for her political awakening: In 1930, Moreno joined the Communist Party. Her activism in Spanish Harlem’s Centro Obrero de Habla Española, a leftist community coalition, led her to mobilize her peers on the shop floor into a small-scale garment workers’ union called “La Liga de Costureras.” In 1935, she accepted a job organizing Latino, African-American, and Italian cigar rollers in California as an American Federation of Labor (AFL) organizer. In 1938, after resigning from the AFL to join its newly established rival, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), she joined the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA). 16 That year, Moreno also helped organize El Congreso del Pueblos que Hablan Española (Congress of Spanish-speaking people), held in April of 1939. It was the first national civil rights assembly for Latinos in the United States; it attracted over a thousand delegates representing over 120 organizations. El Congreso addressed employment, housing, education, health, and immigrant rights; they fought for workers’ and women’s rights while advocating for Latino studies curricula and bilingual education. 17 This event was particularly extraordinary, since Moreno and other congress leaders rejected the as-similationist strategies proposed by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); instead, they insisted that whites accept blame for the racial and ethnic stratification that had evolved in the Southwest. 18

FIGURE 2. Luisa Moreno at the 1949 California CIO Convention.

The twofold demand for the full spectrum of human rights, as well as white historical accountability, illumines a long-shared philosophy among Blacks and Browns in the United States about the nature of their rights as human beings. For example, in the struggle for emancipation, slaves in the mid-nineteenth century created what W.E.B. Du Bois named “abolition democracy.”19 In the years leading up to the victory of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, Blacks articulated a radical political perspective that demanded freedom in its entirety—nothing less than the material realization of all of the rights supplied to elite whites. In so doing, they critiqued a democracy compromised by its racist institutions and created a

legacy that “opened the door for subsequent claims for social justice by immigrants and their children, religious minorities, women, workers, and people with disabilities. From voting rights to affirmative action, from fair housing to fair hiring, the 14th Amendment is an enduring and abiding force for social justice in US society.”20 These shared histories of radical critique among Blacks and Mexican Americans helped make it possible for them to view their related but nonidentical struggles as part of the same constellation. El Congreso’s call for equality in labor, housing, education, and health, as well as for the positive and consistent representation of their history and worth as human beings in school curricula constitute an audible echo of the radical tenets of abolition democracy. Moreover, Luisa Moreno and Josefina Fierro de Bright co-authored an unprecedented resolution indicting “the discriminated status of women within the Mexican community as well as without . . . [demanding] the full recognition of women’s equality, independent of their relationship to men.”21 This resolution upended stereotypes of the docility of women in the face of a culture of machismo, recuperating women’s activism and dispelling stereotypes about their passivity: Whereas: The Mexican woman, who for centuries had suffered oppression, has the responsibility for raising her children and for caring for the home, and even that of earning a livelihood of herself and her family, and since in this country, she suffers a double discrimination as a woman and as a Mexican. Be it Resolved: That the Congress carry out a program of . . . education of the Mexican woman, concerning home problems . . . that it support and work for women’s equality so that she may receive equal wages, enjoy the same rights as men in social, economic, and civil liberties, and use her vote for the defense of the Mexican and Spanish American people, and of American democracy.”22 In their challenge to the traditional distinction between the public and the private spheres, the demands made by women within the organization constitute important examples of spatial entitlement, as do the demands of the El Congreso as a whole. Women activists chose and utilized the discursive and political spaces they made in the organization to articulate a long-standing grievance relevant to their communities. Indeed, the identification of sexism and a collective inclination to hold the members of the organization and constituent communities accountable to advancing gender justice may not have been successful in another organization,

place, or time. Women such as Moreno and Fierro de Bright made strategic choices as they pertained to human rights and to the meaningful spaces their struggles were born of and created. Similarly, this is what makes Moreno’s contributions to El Congreso and the organization’s impact so significant: both focused on the potential to represent and be represented in a variety of spheres on the literal and symbolic landscape of American democracy, or at least what aggrieved communities expected it could be. This expectation and the process of struggle to fashion them into a realizable reality created counternarratives that called into question the relationship of aggrieved minorities to nation and to citizenship, rendering visible the material conditions of work, geography, education, race, gender, and class as they pertain to social membership. In other words, in demanding white accountability and an equal place at the table, they fashioned a counternarrative of citizenship that included aggrieved minorities. They exposed the inequities and material hardships faced by non-whites in a racial hierarchy that granted privileges to white citizens. The success of El Congreso was a significant milestone in Moreno’s record of activism, but it was the UCAPAWA that remained at the core of her commitment. The union’s dedication to rank-and-file leadership was important to Moreno. Its official commitment to recruiting members across race, nationality, and gender resonated powerfully with her political aims. This was true of UCAPAWA’s allies as well. The Community Service Organization (CSO) was not a labor union, but it functioned powerfully as a community agency that occupied many of the same spaces where UCAPAWA did its work. The CSO recognized that building multiracial alliances was “the most effective strategy for protecting and advancing their various interests, especially given financial constraints, the absence of any majority minority with enough strength to act alone, and mounting Cold War red-baiting that threatened civil rights activists.”23 The CSO was responsible for launching the political career of Edward Roybal, who began as a member of the Los Angeles City Council and eventually became a member of Congress. Roybal was elected in 1949 by a multiracial political coalition that “reflected the racial interaction in multicultural neighborhoods and the geographic concentration of liberal-left politics in them.”24 This coalition, nurtured and strengthened by the CSO and its principle organizer, Fred Ross, was comprised of Mexican Americans and Jews in Boyle Heights and was influenced by the civil rights struggles in adjacent communities. Roybal’s subsequent reelection in 1951 and later climb into the U.S. Congress was remarkable, considering his unflagging support of social justice struggles waged by laborers, Communists, and

Black, Mexican, and Jewish working-class communities in one of the most conservative postwar eras. Subjected to intense and consistent pressure to capitulate to conservative policymakers, Roybal maintained an unswerving allegiance to equality. His record of support for fair hiring and labor practices, as well as his commitment to desegregation in city jobs and public stance against police brutality targeting Black and MexicanAmerican youth, secured him key endorsements by the California Eagle and by the Black community as a whole. Moreno remained with UCAPAWA for the remainder of her career, rising to the position of vice-president in 1941, which marked the first time a Latina would be elected to a high-ranking national union post in the United States. 25 Best known for organizing Chicana cannery workers and for her work as cofounder of the Congreso, Moreno championed the interests of Black workers as well. She garnered a little-documented victory in a struggle by UCAPAWA to break discriminatory hiring practices at CalSan. That effort forced factory owners to hire Black women in early 1942, creating a new interracial space from which the constellation of struggle could draw supporters and support. 26 Moreno also viewed the sites of struggle as extending beyond the geographic and juridical boundaries of the United States. Alicia Camacho offers a critical understanding of the value of Moreno’s contributions to Latina/ Latino cultural and political identities, arguing: Moreno and others called for the recognition of the trans-border polity that linked Latinas/os in the United States to a broader field of social, economic, and political affiliations. To deny these relationships in favor of a limited path to naturalization, Moreno and others warned, would not only reduce Latinas/os to a laboring caste within the United States; it would also deform American democracy at its source, its definition of “the people.”27 Moreno’s vision of relationships of Latinas/Latinos to the “social, economic, and political affiliations” of other aggrieved groups constitutes a keen awareness of what David Harvey calls a “cartographic imagination”: an understanding of how lives in one place are affected by the unseen actions of distant strangers elsewhere. 28 Moreno had personal knowledge of and political experience in many “else-wheres,” making every place she worked in significant for its mutual others. 29 This flexible cognitive mapping of relations between places no doubt assisted Moreno in recognizing how Blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles could form relations between races. They did not need uniformity to have unity. They did not

need to be identical to share similar identities. When Moreno testified before the HUAC in September 1948, she displayed a determination to hold the United States accountable to its own stated ideals, echoing the deployment of moral arguments in the political movements that constituted abolition democracy and eventually led to the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. “Citizenship . . . means a lot to me,” Moreno declared when she was threatened with deportation, “but the Constitution of the United States means more.”30 Moreno knew, just as Carter G. Woodson had known when in 1921 he argued publicly and compellingly that “the citizenship of the Negro in America [was] a fiction,”31 that in the absence of the most basic of human and civil rights, citizenship would mean very little. Charlotta Bass shared a similar view, as evidenced by her sustained commitment to an uncompromising vision of total freedom for the oppressed. Born in Sumter, South Carolina, in the late 1870s, Bass was the sixth of eleven children. She moved to Rhode Island at the turn of the century, then in 1910 migrated to Los Angeles to improve her health. Soon after arriving, Bass sold subscriptions for the Eagle, a Black newspaper founded by John Neimore in 1879. Bass became the editor and publisher of the Eagle in 1912, upon the deathbed request of Neimore. She held those positions for more than forty years. In 1914, Bass hired and subsequently married Joseph Blackburn Bass, a Kansas newspaperman, who edited the paper until his death in 1934. Bass ran for several elected offices, including the Los Angeles City Council, Congress, and the U.S. Vice Presidency. She was also a founding member of California’s Independent Progressive Party. Moreover, she established, participated in, and led numerous civil rights organizations, and in these she met and befriended prominent activists such as Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois. Bass was always active at the national level, but she used her positions as journalist, candidate, and activist to expose and oppose racism and injustice in Los Angeles. 32 Both Moreno and Bass made white accountability and intercommunal affinities central components of their activism, long before their work on the SLDC. In her important and generative work, Regina Freer has argued that Bass’s activism in defense of Chicanos on the issues of police brutality and repatriation “implicitly challenged racialized definitions of citizenship, revealing the speciousness of hyper-sanctioned cultural purity and authenticity of the 1940s and red-baiting in the 1950s.”33 Indeed, from the time she began editing the Eagle in 1912, Bass’s writings and activism made black Los Angeles relevant to both local communities of color and international organizations. After joining the SLDC, she campaigned

forcefully against the racial brutalities exacted upon Mexican-American zoot suiters during the summer of 1943. 34

FIGURE 3. Charlotta Bass and Paul Robeson, circa 1949.

LOS ANGELES’S UNIQUE RACIAL POLITICS Los Angeles became one of the first cities outside the South where

antidiscrimination and civil rights struggles incorporated a mosaic of racial and ethnic groups. Of her time in LA working-class communities, Communist organizer Dorothy Healey remembered that “a strong sense of national identity held these workers together, but did not prevent them from making common cause with others.”35 Because several events in LA during the period under consideration had spatial implications for minority communities, this “common cause” takes on particular significance. African-American citizens had no choice but to settle within the narrow corridor situated just to the south and east of downtown Los Angeles. Mexicans were also limited to specific neighborhoods: in 1940, most still lived in Central, South, and East Los Angeles. Neither Mexicans nor Blacks could purchase homes in other areas because of racially restrictive covenants supported by real estate companies, developers, and banks. The Federal Housing Administration made the adoption of racially restrictive covenants a condition for the insurance of new construction, while savings and loans associations refused to lend money to people of color who wanted to buy in white residential areas. Therefore, Mexican Americans and African Americans were forced to reside several miles away from the burgeoning industrial neighborhoods of Maywood, Pico Rivera, South Gate, and Vernon. Even if there had been no racial discrimination in hiring in wartime industries, many residents in Black and Chicano neighborhoods could not easily work the high-skill, high-wage jobs available in shipbuilding, aircraft assembly, or munitions because very few of the mass transit red cars could transport them to these sites: “There were no runs after dark, and bus, taxi, and jitney drivers were reluctant to drive into or out of South LA at night.”36 White resistance to residential integration kept most African Americans and Chicanos in urban areas while postwar jobs, which historically had been disproportionately in the suburbs, continued to flow into outlying regions. 37 Although rooted in national patterns of economic racism already familiar to people of color, Los Angeles’s structures of exclusion manifested in unique ways and produced Conflicted racial experiences for Blacks and Mexicans who arrived in the city during the Second World War. Los Angeles was different from most major cities of the WWII era in that it did not develop an industrial core surrounded by an industrial suburban network. Instead, the working class worked in the industrial suburbs, but did not necessarily live or vote there. Immigration, patterns of segregation, location of defense industries, and city planners’ organization of space scattered the multiethnic working class in fragmented suburbs and produced spatial patterns in wartime and postwar Los Angeles that furthered the hegemony of business owners and their efforts to maintain

LA as an open-shop city. 38 While wartime manufacturers in oil, movies, apparel, automobiles, rubber, and aircraft were drawn to the region’s climate, land availability, and supply of workers and consumers, they also found the weakness of most Southern California unions to be a desirable condition for establishing industry. Aircraft manufacturing and allied industries were not centrally located, but instead surrounded the central city in “suburban industrial clusters.”39 Aircraft manufacturing had pioneered the economic foundation on which postwar community builders —promoting the ownership of low-cost, mass-produced homes in communities that reflected the principles of modern community planning— could flourish. Federal agencies encouraged, and city planners and contractors capitulated to, the establishment of new housing developments near suburban employment. Through the 1950s, then, suburbs were nearly all residential, whereas shopping and office work were much more concentrated in central business districts or downtowns. But this pattern would change after 1960 and leave urban Blacks and Chicanos in the 1960s and 1970s almost uniformly poor and also left them isolated from high-wage jobs, houses that appreciated in value, and convenient transportation routes. The second Bracero Program, initiated during WWII in response to acute labor shortages in agriculture, brought thousands of temporary Mexican workers to harvest crops on land throughout the West and Midwest. Although the government planned to terminate the program once potential workers returned from the war front, U.S. agribusiness “acquired an addiction” for the low-cost foreign laborers. This transformed the face of agricultural work. Blacks, along with Mexicans, East Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Anglos had long constituted farm labor, many since the first development of agribusiness in the state. But many of these laborers were now replaced by large numbers of Mexican immigrant workers. Lobbyists managed to establish Mexicans as more or less the permanent faces of California agricultural labor well beyond the 1940s. By the passage of a series of public laws, the Bracero contract system was legally extended through 1964, but its effects are still visible today in the majority of Mexican and Central-American pickers and packers in the California agricultural industry. After WWII, Mexican immigrants settled permanently in communities throughout the Southern California basin. LA received the heaviest inmigration, and, consequently, recent immigrants dominated community life. 40 But urban Mexican Americans would pay a high price in the postwar restructuring of the city’s ethno-racial order: in Chapter 2, I examine the spatial consequences of the forced removal of several thousand Mexicans

from Chavez Ravine to make way for a housing project that was never built but later became the site of Dodger Stadium. Anglo immigrants from other states brought their own experiences of economic depression into this unique pattern of racial labor relations in Los Angeles. During the Depression, “nothing bothered Okies more than California’s system of racial and ethnic relations. They were shocked by signs reading ‘no white laborers need apply.’”41 But African Americans and Mexicans often suffered material consequences from the racialization of labor in Los Angeles in ways that poor whites did not. The reality was that although some Mexicans and Blacks benefited from increased job opportunities, Anglo immigrants from Oklahoma and Arkansas typically secured better jobs and ascended more rapidly to well-paid, skilled positions. Matt García demonstrates this phenomenon in 1941 in his description of the Ventura County Limoneira Company Strike. According to García, the pickers and packers, who at the time were mainly Mexicans, demanded a modest increase in pay after a decade of low wages. The company responded by evicting the nearly 700 Mexican employees (organized as the AFL-affiliated Agricultural and Citrus Workers Union, Local 22342) and replaced them with migrant farm workers from Oklahoma and Arkansas. García goes on to show that Mexican workers were actually rehired after a four-month strike that was not only tragically unsuccessful but also came with a terribly insulting consequence: White laborers were replaced by the original Mexican laborers, but only after the latter would accept the same wages they had previously worked for. 42 These were the kind of tactics that shaped patterns of racism in Los Angeles: business anti-unionism helped to ensure a steady supply of cheap white labor, but cheap white labor feared the even cheaper Mexican and Black labor. 43 This ongoing competition for jobs, the large number of Southern white immigrants to the area, and the systems supportive of segregation that were already in existence spawned a reorganization and reinvigoration of the Ku Klux Klan. In the immediate postwar years, the Los Angeles Klan pursued a campaign of intimidation aimed at keeping African Americans out of “white” neighborhoods. 44

FIGURE 4. Members of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, Local 700, picket at Phelps-Dodge Cooper Products plant in Los Angeles to demand higher wages and improved benefits, circa 1948.

Antagonism was not limited to Black–white or Mexican–white Conflicts in labor and housing. J. Max Bond observed in 1936 that whereas certain factories categorized Mexicans as “colored,” African Americans not only worked with them but were also given positions over them. In other plants, he found that Mexicans and whites worked together. Further research indicated that white workers often accepted African Americans and objected to Mexicans; still another pattern was found in other plants, with white workers accepting Mexicans but objecting to Japanese workers. 45 These compounded racial encounters extended to interracial residential neighborhoods and influenced cultural productions and racial sensibilities. The multiplicity of racial and ethnic groups living in close proximity was a factor that made LA unique. In an autobiographical account of life in East LA after WWII, author Luis Rodriguez shows how Mexicans and Blacks shared both physical places and discursive spaces. He recounts:

For the most part, the Mexicans in and around Los Angeles were economically and socially closest to Blacks. As soon as we understood English, it was usually the Black English we first tried to master. Later . . . Blacks used Mexican slang and the cholo style; Mexicans imitated the Southside swagger . . . although this didn’t mean at times we didn’t war with one another, such being the state of affairs at the bottom. 46 Rodriguez’s account illustrates how complicated relationships were between Blacks and Mexicans. There were many interethnic and class antagonisms in multiethnic postwar LA. Yet even with the rivalries that residential segregation, labor discrimination, and migration produced, the unjust practices of business, education, and housing authorities provided more reasons for coalitions between workers than for antagonisms. 47 The contradictions between the national wartime and Cold War rhetoric about freedom on the one hand and racial exclusion in education, hiring, and housing on the other helped some Blacks and Mexicans to see themselves in overlapping struggles for cultural and political equality.

SPATIAL ENTITLEMENT These struggles, the interrelated and collective articulation of the rights of people of color, also existed in an alternative public sphere, one driven by Black and Chicano aspirations to survive and create meaningful futures. Given the efforts by LA city officials to suppress and control working-class expressive culture, actual physical spaces where assertions of dignity and community entitlement were articulated become even more significant. These spaces contained indispensable networks of information and affinity and creatively invited reflections on social issues in valuable ways. I argue that it is in the space between mobility and containment that many Black and Brown people in Los Angeles struggled to preserve their neighborhoods, to enjoy the freedom to congregate, and to create the mutual spaces of political and cultural expression that inspire collective success. The parallel and mutual activism of Bass and Moreno produced a politics of spatial entitlement with important gendered dimensions. Space has a significant impact on many aspects of women’s lives, from social relationships to economic opportunities. 48 Lisa Pruitt argues that scholars of feminism have relied too heavily upon history alone as “a lens through which to reveal disadvantage and justice.” Rather, she says, scholars should engage “not only history, but also geography,” as “spatial aspects of women’s lives implicate inequality and moral agency.”49 One need only

peruse the historical record of women’s activism to observe that womencentered knowledge of oppression and spatial containment has resulted in some of the most effective strategies of resistance, even though many of those stories have been marginalized in the historical record. For example, Emma Temecula’s activism exposed the terrible economic and physical brutality that Mexican and immigrant workers in Depression-era San Antonio faced “at a time when neither Mexicans nor women were expected to speak at all.”50 Her organizing work among multiracial groups of pecan shellers and women garment workers on San Antonio’s West Side helped to generate new working-class identities and subsequently established a consistent and ardent visibility for the people who formed the foundation of the city’s industries. This generated new spatial meanings for San Antonio, which was one of the few places in the nation where Black, Brown, and white people lived and worked together. It brought the histories and present-day struggles of seemingly divergent groups into a mutual spatial relationship, and fashioned a model of interracial activism from which scholars and activists have drawn for generations. The West Side of San Antonio became a “real, material place [where] spatial-social relations shape both the opportunities and constraints for the production of a socially just world.”51 Around the world, women have resisted spatial and ideological immobilization, and this has had significant impacts upon justice and community. The activist lives of Bass and Moreno are particularly instructive in understanding how, spatial temporal relations can be central to social justice. 52 Bass and Moreno turned the material and discursive spaces available to them—print media and spaces of Latina congregation to name just two—into crucial terrains of struggle. They were not the first to do so, but they served as crucial links in the chain that connects the sites of struggle foundational to Black and Brown radical traditions. For example, Bass’s determination to use the Eagle to spread the word of her disappointment in 1949 inspires remembrance of two further examples of the ways that information was disseminated in aggrieved communities. First, one of the more understudied uses of space and mobility are those that were employed by Black Pullman porters in the 1930s and 1940s. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, who would revolutionize Black social protest under A. Philip Randolph’s leadership, distributed African-American newspapers along their routes and often became conduits of information themselves. Second, a story C.L.R. James related after a meeting with Jomo Kenyatta, first president of independent Kenya, illuminates the role of newsprint as a social space. “In 1921,” James recounted, “Kenyan nationalists, unable to read, would gather round a reader of [Black

nationalist leader Marcus] Garvey’s newspaper [The Negro World] . . . and listen to an article two or three times. Then they would run various ways through the forest, carefully to repeat the whole, which they had memorised, to Africans hungry for some doctrine which lifted them.”53 Connecting the unofficial spaces created by Kenyans in the 1920s and Black Americans in the 1940s reflects a trans-historical, transgenerational, and trans-communal tradition among aggrieved communities: identifying traditional vehicles for use in extraordinary projects of intervention. When Bass’s mobility was curtailed, the Eagle became a proxy of sorts, an embodied spokesperson for the repression of spatial mobility. Bass rejected the silencing actions of government officials in this particular case by exercising an alternative means of moving through space, and because her own physical mobility was contained the urgency of her message was heightened. Bass also used the Eagle to forge a politics of interracial solidarity in postwar Los Angeles when those coalitions were systematically—and often violently—suppressed. Bass’s actions against the use of restrictive covenants to contain undesirable racial groups in particular areas of LA likewise represented an assertion of spatial entitlement in the context of asset acquisition, an articulation of the right to be spatially present and economically secure in the city and the nation. This is an articulation born of Blacks’ and Latinos’ widespread and long-standing inability to claim landed assets or permanent residence in a particular location. This struggle was a multifaceted undertaking that relied on intimate knowledge of the material effects of economic exclusion and debilitation. As one historian explains, homeownership is a fundamental source of wealth, and the ability to choose residential locations: [It] plays a crucial role in determining educational opportunities . . . because school funding based on property tax assessments in most localities gives better opportunities to white children than to children from minority communities. Opportunities for employment are also affected by housing choices, especially given the location of new places of employment in suburbs and reduced funding for public transportation. In addition, housing affects health conditions, with environmental and health hazards disproportionately located in minority communities. 54 Bass refused to accept the idea of restrictive covenants as the sole burden of African Americans, explaining “since [this] question concerns such minorities as Asians, Mexican-Americans, Indians, the Jewish, Italian

and Negro people, our discussion of the Negro people’s struggle against restrictive covenants applies to the struggle of all minority groups.”55 In rejecting the issue as a single-group problem, Bass also revealed—and challenged—a sinister by-product of postwar spatial racism: interethnic tensions between Black and Brown peoples. For example, Watts was fairly racially balanced among whites, Blacks, and Mexican Americans. Originally part of a large Mexican land grant, the area that became Watts was first subdivided in the 1880s. Mexican laborers moved into the area to work on the Southern Pacific Railroad, forming the village of Tujuata. When Watts was incorporated in 1907, Tujuata disappeared. Blacks who moved into the area settled in a district called Mudtown, which, as part of Watts, was annexed by Los Angeles in 1926. 56 Later, the Federal Housing Administration sought to contain Blacks who were part of the increased WWII and postwar migration to Los Angeles and used the system of racially restrictive housing covenants; these covenants continued legally until 1948 (and de facto thereafter)57 to designate Watts a “Negro area.” Between 1940 and 1960, therefore, the Black population of Watts increased eightfold. After WWII, returning Mexican veterans became resentful about the striking changes that had occurred during their absence, and in some cases they threatened to band together to expel the “Negro invaders.”58 Writing in 1947, Lloyd H. Fisher observed that there was “for the Negro and Mexican, inequality in income, employment opportunity, educational opportunity and housing, for the white, ignorance, prejudice, insecurity and a thousand and one personal frustrations. Add to these an irresponsible press, the policies of real estate agencies and mortgage companies and a prejudiced police force.” In Fisher’s formulation, these social forces heightened residential tensions between Black and Brown people, particularly as returning Mexican veterans—resentful over city officials’ selection of Watts as “an area of Negro segregation”—perceived the influx of Blacks into portions of Watts as a threat to employment and residential opportunities. 59 The forced removal of Japanese Americans, restrictive covenants, industrialization, suburbanization, and migration patterns all affected the spatial geography and cultural politics of minority experiences, but they also gave rise to an interrogation of official postwar narratives of democracy. Bass rejected the divisiveness engendered by economic racism. She considered how civil disobedience and other forms of legal resistance might expose and question such practices. Regina Freer locates the beginning of Bass’s housing activism in the

California Eagle’s organized response to a Black woman’s eviction from her home by her racist neighbors in 1914: Bass led a discussion with Black club women on the issue, and “‘that evening a brigade of a hundred women marched to the Johnson home. The women were ultimately successful in getting the sheriff to help Mrs. Johnson back into her home.”60 Bass remained involved in Black homeownership rights from this point forward, but her historic battle against restrictive covenants took full shape in the 1940s, as Black migration to Los Angeles increased and as white xenophobia received legal sanction through city officials’ containment of the growing Black community into 5 percent of the city’s residential space. Bass’s efforts and those of the LA National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) waged the restrictive covenant issue all the way to the California Supreme Court. Bass and her contemporaries in this struggle maintained pressure on local and federal authorities, in part shifting their focus to a fight for public housing and rent control because of their belief that aggrieved minority groups had the right to occupy the literal and figurative space of Los Angeles. The strategic philosophies of Luisa Moreno’s activism likewise provide us with understandings of the way that space can be used to both suppress and empower workers and women. Moreno’s work in the cigar rollers union in Texas, with the SLDC in Los Angeles, and with El Congreso in the Southwest constitutes a recuperation of the dignity and humanity of working-class women, namely Brown and Black women, and more broadly, the Mexican-American community. Her demand that Black and Brown women take themselves, and be taken, seriously suggests a symbolic spatial assertion that bell hooks articulated in her seminal book Feminism: From Margin to Center.61 Moreno’s legitimation of the production of valuable knowledge from the margin made it “much more than a site of deprivation . . . it [was] also the site of radical possibility, a space of resistance.” Moreno modeled one of the basic themes of Chicana feminism —leadership that empowers others—decades before people articulated it in those terms. 62 Moreno, like Emma Tenayuca, Dorothy Healey, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Ella Baker identified this discarded source of knowledge as a space of possibility, one that hooks later described as a “radical perspective from which to see and create, to imagine alternatives, new worlds.”63 Further, as I explore later in this chapter, Moreno’s work with El Congreso recalls an important intersection between the philosophies of liberation shared by Black and Brown people in the United States. In their mutual and separate struggles, Bass and Moreno produced spaces of what bell hooks calls “radical openness”—a space that “affirms and sustains our subjectivity, which gives us a new location from which to

articulate our sense of the world.”64 In this way, these women foregrounded Afro–Chicano struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, through which young people sought to legitimize cultural identities reflecting symbolic and material histories of interracial interaction. Black and Brown women activists of this period in Los Angeles have received far less attention than their male counterparts. As female activists, Bass and Moreno refused traditional domesticity at a time when the available categories of acceptable womanhood were dominated by discourses of political and domestic containment, in both local and national contexts. Yet women like Bass and Moreno helped to shape the civil rights struggle and subsequent social movements in the region; their activism helped to define Black and Mexican-American languages and epistemologies of resistance. As historical actors engaged in fair housing, integration, labor, and youth struggles, they crafted counter-narratives that emphasized Black and Brown humanity and entitlement. Catherine S. Ramirez has observed that until recently, “only a handful of writers or artists acknowledged the roles that women, especially Mexican-American women, played in the Sleepy Lagoon incident and trial.”65 Studying the impact of these women together reveals a significant and overlooked combination of strategic resistance that was fundamental to the success of the SLDC.

THE SLEEPY LAGOON DEFENSE COMMITTEE While the SLDC was not the most radical coalition of the 1940s, the antiracist legacy engendered by its members and their respective communities provides an inheritance that informed both the histories and the futures of interracial struggle among Mexican-American, Black, and Anglo working-class people in Los Angeles. Cochaired by Luisa Moreno, labor organizer Bert Corona, and writer/activist Carey McWilliams, the SLDC included among its members and supporters labor organizer Josefina Fierro de Bright, Congress of Industrial Organizations activist Alice McGrath, and Charlotta Bass. For two years, the SLDC fought for the release of twelve young Chicanos convicted of murder by an all-white jury in People v. Zamora. In this “highly publicized and deeply flawed trial,” twenty-two Chicanos were originally charged with criminal conspiracy in the murder of José Díaz, a twenty-two-year-old farm worker whose body was found at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir in southeast Los Angeles. Díaz, on his way home from a neighbor’s birthday party early on the morning of August 2, 1942, was seen leaving with two young men who were never questioned during the investigation or the ensuing trial. One “expert

witness” (who was actually a member of the LA County Sheriff’s office) testified that Mexicans possessed a “blood thirst” and a “biological predisposition” to crime and killing. The evidence, he argued, was in the history of human sacrifices among the youths’ Aztec ancestors. 66 Moreover, presiding judge Charles W. Fricke allowed attorneys to make routine racist references toward Mexicans while arguing for the prosecution. At the end of the trial, three of the defendants were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison; nine were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to five years to life in prison, five were convicted of assault and released for time served, and five were acquitted. It was the largest mass conviction in California history. 67 In the original and appellate cases, the juries were all white. The defendants began serving their sentences in January 1943. 68 The Los Angeles police used Díaz’s murder to launch a widespread attack on what they perceived as unruly Mexican-American youth. More than 600 youths were arrested, most of them Mexicans. The press consistently referred to Díaz—as well as his assailants—as gang members. During the trial, labor activist LaRue McCormick established an ad hoc committee to publicize the events surrounding the case. After the defendants were sentenced, the committee reorganized as the SLDC. Carey McWilliams recalled: I wanted to make it clear that the committee would have to be broadened, because there was no way of raising the money that was needed with that committee; it was too narrow. You’d have to have some labor people on it, some prominent Jewish businessmen, and motion picture people, and some blacks, one or two blacks. 69 The SLDC worked not only toward an appeal for those convicted but also to expose anti-Mexican discrimination in the Southwest. The constellations of historical struggle that informed the strategies of the SLDC also worked to produce something particularly significant: Black and Brown people’s articulation of rights to social membership and human dignity. Significantly, these articulations illumine the role of culture in both the oppression and the freedom of marginalized communities. The possibility of interethnic economic and political mobilization was rooted in evidence of shared oppression among the mixed working classes in California, and examples of its shared vision and legacy for this period abound. The activism I am describing is one link in a long chain of interethnic economic and political mobilization that these groups have shared. 70

As a result of the development of the first substantial generation of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, identity politics in the barrio had undergone several changes. By the end of World War II there was a new sense of entitlement and national citizenship felt by a generation of American-born Mexicans who had served in the war, and who had seen their parents suffer from housing, educational, and hiring discrimination because of racist city or national policies. The SLDC began its work in the wake of the mass deportations of Mexicans in the 1930s. Like some of the other political and labor activism of this decade, the SLDC drew upon an increase in Chicano political activity that occurred just before its founding. George Sanchez has argued that this “upsurge . . . involved at its core an attempt by the children of the immigrant generation and those who had arrived in the United States as youngsters to integrate themselves into American society. . . . [I]t was the second-generation experience that shaped most profoundly the emergence of Mexican-American activism, linking workers’ rights to civil rights.” Furthermore, this kind of “labor and political activity often served as the greatest ‘Americanizing agent’ of the 1930s and early 1940s.”71 World War II marked a similar change in attitude about the role of African Americans as national citizens. Not unlike Chicanos, Black intellectuals and working people after the War “articulated and acted upon a suspicion about the relationship between World War II and whitesupremacy widely held in their community.”72 To fight for democracy and freedom abroad was a battle that held particular irony for aggrieved minorities in the United States, where struggles to achieve the same goals seemed just as intense. In Los Angeles, it was significant that the city was transformed during this period by the immigration of over 70,000 African Americans between 1940 and 1946. 73 It would be transformed again in the following decade, when more Blacks migrated to California than to any other state. 74 In this context, women were central to the efforts linking workers’ rights to civil rights. 75 Bass and Moreno encountered this historical moment attuned to the economic, migration, cultural, and political histories of their respective constituencies, each bringing with her a constellation of people, politics, places, and strategies of resistance garnered from decades of action and vision.

SONIC POLITICS OF TRANSFIGURATION The politics of spatial entitlement enacted by the constellations of struggle

in which Bass and Moreno participated had important sonic dimensions. Space, sound, and racial politics were powerfully intertwined with the music associated with this political moment and with zoot culture more specifically, which included Black, Brown, and Jewish working-class popular cultures. Zoot suit culture became a culmination of intersecting constellations of decades-long struggles over style, the body, and public space. The zoot suit outfit became popular in ghetto and barrio spaces in part because of the physical intervention it made in physical places. Young men wearing pancake hats with feathers in them, large and long jackets with flowing lines, and pants with forty-two inches of fabric at the knees invaded public space; this clothing was also propelled by the stylized strut of the zoot suiter. Repression of the zoot suit came about because of the perceived threat to propriety and public order posed by the outfit’s effect on the private space of the body and the public space of the street. SLDC activists mobilized an older generation of Black, Brown, and Jewish parents and community leaders into a symbolic alliance with a younger generation. By linking human rights to zoot suit culture, this alliance was undergirded by an intergenerational understanding of the ways that the federal government, court systems, and local police used Black and Brown cultural expressions as a means to justify oppression and containment (even though many older participants roundly denounced zoot suit culture). From this implicit understanding emerged powerful and unapologetic articulations of the link between zoot culture and the Mexican community. As the SLDC maintained in a press release: It was not just these boys who were on trial. The Mexican people were being tried. And the trial took place not only in the courtroom but in the press with its barrage of lies against the “Mexican pachucos” and “zoot suiters,” and before the Grand Jury where a sheriff’s report characterizing the Mexican people as bloodthirsty wildcats was submitted. . . . Yes, these boys were convicted. So was the Mexican community. Neither is guilty. The blot against both must be removed. 76 Zoot culture had deep roots in Black communities. The zoot suit was associated with Black urban youth in cities like Detroit, New York, and Chicago when it first appeared around 1940. The Autobiography of Malcolm X recounts the importance of X’s first zoot suit and suggests that the style had racial connotations as the preferred choice of hip black men and entertainers. 77 In Los Angeles, Jewish, Black, Filipino, and primarily Mexican youth made the zoot suit popular. 78 Garment fabrics were

rationed during WWII; therefore, its purchase on the black market by makers of the zoot suit was considered treasonous. But it was the “calo” slang adopted by pachucos, the clean lines and flamboyant colors, the flaunting of expensive style on working-class bodies, and the culture of music that appealed to interracial audiences that infuriated many whites, who identified pachucos in LA as traitors and criminals. A number of Black musical styles converged to create the sonic politics of zoot culture, what Robin Kelley calls “the wonderful collision and reconstitution of Kansas City big band blues, East Coast swing music, and the secular as well as religious sounds of the black South.”79 Jump blues evolved in the 1930s from Harlem bands like those of Cab Calloway and the Kansas City groups of Count Basie. It was pioneered by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five and pervaded both early rhythm and blues and doowop. Johnny Otis, a Greek American raised in an African-American Berkeley neighborhood was the person principally responsible for bringing jump blues to the East Side with his 1948 shows at Angelus Hall. 80 Chicanos heard the difference between swing and jump blues, with its more raw “honking” saxophone sound and stronger drum beat, by hearing artists like Roy Milton, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, and Johnny Otis on the thriving ballroom circuit in East LA, downtown, and on Central Avenue. Jump saxists like Chuck Higgins (“Pachuko Hop,” 1953), Joe Houston, and Big Jay McNeely became the influences of 1950s honkers like Lil’ Bobby Rey and the Masked Phantom Band and Danny “Chuck Rio” Flores. The same year that Johnny Otis played the Angelus Hall, one of the most popular bands in East LA was the Pachuco Boogie Boys, led by Raul Diaz and East San Francisco Bay transplant Don Tosti. Their 1948 hit “Pachuco Boogie” celebrated and publicized the street speech and style encoded in calo narratives, long a part of the pachuco and zoot suit style. This song in particular, but also songs by the Armenta Brothers and Lalo Guerrero, such as “Chucos Suaves” and “Marijuana Boogie,” made jump blues and honking popular in East LA. Indeed, a distinct sound, “Chicano honking,” emerged that combined jump blues and calo. It is not just that the interactions between Mexicans and Blacks in music resembled the alliances created in the political coalitions led by Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno, but that music became a shared social space that enacted on the quotidian level of everyday life the parallels and affinities that flowed from the linked fate that Blacks and Mexicans suffered because of white supremacy. The aggressive festivity, celebratory self-activity, and collective creativity permeating popular music served as an alternative space where the identities of race took on new meanings. Sometimes, the music had direct connections to political mobilizations.

Musicians and cultural actors offered direct critiques of common problems and gave practical and symbolic support to community mobilizations. For example, on July 2, 1944, Boyle Heights native and Verve founder Norman Granz staged a benefit concert to help fund the SLDC. Nearly 2,000 people attended the inaugural Jazz at the Philharmonic Concert, where the imagined solidarities across racial lines took material form in music made by Jean-Baptiste Illinois Jacquet, J.J. Johnson, Les Paul, and Nat King Cole. As musicologist and jazz historian Scott DeVeaux notes, the performers that night presented music that was “firmly aligned with racial politics . . . with all proceeds donated to the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Fund.”81 Music that raised money for political purposes and that asserted and punctuated the self-activity and solidarity of the coalition that supported the Sleepy Lagoon defendants manifested one form of spatial contestation and entitlement. Another manifestation came from the citations of street life that pervaded the music composed and performed by Lalo Guerrero and the Pachuco Boogie Boys. Their songs countered the image of pachucos as treasonous and unpatriotic by celebrating a sociopolitical and cultural identity that Blacks and Chicanos shared. The songs “Pachuco Boogie,” “Chucos Suaves,” and “Marijuana Boogie” contained lyrics, but they were also nonlinguistic communications that projected “an alternative body of cultural and political expression that considers the world critically from the point of view of its emancipatory transformation.”82 Like the concomitant political struggles waged in their constituent communities, these sounds had a legacy most immediately heard in the music of Thee Midnighters (“Whittier Boulevard”), Cannibal & The Headhunters (“Land of 1000 Dances”), and The Salas Brothers, all of whom forged their own East LA sound on these foundations. Young Black zoot suiters created “a fast-paced, improvisational language which sharply contrasted with the passive stereotype of the stuttering, tongue-tied Sambo,” enabling them to “negotiate an identity that resisted the hegemonic culture and its attendant racism and patriotism.”83 In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison wrote of the protagonist’s first encounter with zoot suiters, calling them “the stewards of something uncomfortable.”84 Indeed, it was through the experiences of participating in zoot suit riots in Harlem that Malcolm X began his transformative political education. Here we can even see a sonic politics of the vernacular. As Kelley explains, “in a world where whites commonly addressed them as ‘boy,’ zoot suiters made a fetish of calling each other ‘man.’”85 He observes that for many Black youths, this subculture allowed them to break with “the rural folkways (for many, the ‘parent culture’) which still survived in most black urban households, and the class-conscious,

integrationist attitudes of middle-class blacks.”86 Similarly, Mexican-American youths stood in symbolic opposition to the assimilationist aims of their middle-class counterparts. Both groups “received similar treatment from law enforcement, judges, juries, and the general Anglo public.”87 Through zoot culture, however, Black and Mexican working-class youth crossed boundaries to form alliances and assert their humanity in the face of this degrading treatment. Moreover, the practices of commercial popular culture offered opportunities to develop skills that could be utilized in political mobilizations. As Mark Anthony Neal argues in his cogent analysis of the relationship between Black culture and Black politics in his work on the Chitlin’ Circuit: that same network that was used in order to promote shows would be the same network that would be used when Martin Luther King came to town and was giving a speech . . . would be the same network that would be used to get folks to come out to a church for an organizational meeting. 88 In their respective activism, Bass and Moreno had drawn this conclusion many times, over many struggles. Activism was not only aimed at responding to immediate crises but was also a means of building the skills needed for deepening a democratic culture of deliberation and decision making. It required expanding the sphere of politics beyond the voting booth by creating physical and discursive spaces that could support and sustain constellations of struggle. Regina Freer identifies important elements in this work by describing Bass as emblematic of women who “combined ideologies that elsewhere competed, chose multifaceted allies in their struggles” and asserted an entitlement to opportunities that they defined as basic to their humanity and citizenry. 89 The Zoot Suit Riots made the interrelationship of Black and Chicano social realities painfully clear. Both groups were losing on the labor front: by the 1945 CIO Convention, plant closures had undercut gains by those who had challenged racism on the shop floor and expanded job opportunities for Blacks in wartime defense industries. The convention proceedings noted that “Negro, Mexican, and all minority groups in California are becoming the first post-war casualty.”90 Violent attacks by whites on Mexican and Black zoot suiters the summer after the Sleepy Lagoon trial underscored the lack of legal remedies available to Blacks and Mexicans who were trying to defend themselves. Mainstream reporting on the Sleepy Lagoon case reinforced existing racial stereotypes, and comments by law-enforcement officials

characterized Chicano zoot suiters as the “predictable results of the primitive and backward culture of the ‘Mexican colony.’”91 As George Sánchez demonstrates through the story of Pedro García—the Americanborn son of Mexican immigrants who was beaten and left unconscious by servicemen in the company of police witnesses—the physical and ideological violence exacted by white vigilantes made clear to many second-generation Chicanos that “much of their optimism about the future had been misguided.”92 Rhetorical resistance to ideological and physical racism in the wake of the Sleepy Lagoon case and the Zoot Suit Riots powerfully supported the efforts of the SLDC and furthered the platform of antiracism. Letters to the Eastside Sun by East Los Angeles teenagers about the riots reflect the importance of cultural spaces; they did not position themselves primarily as wageworkers or as citizens, but as people who “sought to carve out their own social space, not in terms of exercising union leadership, but by defining a youth culture.”93 Mexican, Anglo, and Black activists and reporters such as Chester Himes and Al Waxman countered mainstream press reports with their own in the Eastside Sun and the California Eagle, reframing the violence by linking official national rhetoric to uphold the principle of the self-determination of oppressed peoples to the need to extend rights to America’s minority communities. 94 This strategy was clearly visible in a letter from the Committee to trade unionists asking them to adopt a resolution asking Governor Earl Warren to pardon those convicted: “In its first rounds,” wrote Cary McWilliams and Bella Joseph, “[the Sleepy Lagoon case] represents a fascist victory.”95 Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno expanded on this ideological identification of the Sleepy Lagoon case as an example of incipient fascism. Bass likened the LAPD’s response to Hitler’s race theories and harshly criticized the Sheriff’s Department for urging the Grand Jury to consider the “biological basis” for the criminal behavior of Mexican youth and their “desire to kill.”96 In a speech contending that police attacks historically targeted “minority communities—Mexican American and Negro”97— Moreno astutely identified the Grand Jury testimony as “a reflection of the general reactionary drive against organized labor and minority problems, [sowing] all sorts of division among the various racial, national, and religious groups among the workers.”98 In a statement that underscored the importance of leisure and recreational spaces in the cartography of white supremacy in Los Angeles, Moreno protested the harassment of youth who patronized mixed-race bars and clubs. 99 Bass used her writings in the Eagle to change community understandings of this case and others

during the war. In successive weeks, the newspaper carried two-inch headlines across page one, such as “TRIGGER-HAPPY COP FREED AFTER SLAYING YOUTH” and “POLICE BRUTALITY FLARES UP AGAIN.”100 Her efforts galvanized other journalists to make similar connections. Lynn Itagaki identifies the journalism of Chester Himes as emblematic of this line of argument, noting: Referring to the Nazi storm troopers, [Chester Himes called] the servicemen who were instigating the riots a “reincarnation” or “continuation of the vigilantes, the uniformed Klansmen,” conflating the foreign enemy with American white supremacists. Himes satirizes the uneven Conflict between the servicemen and the Mexican Americans as a “great battle” which engaged the “combined forces of the United States navy, army, and marine corps” to defeat “a handful of youths with darker skins.” He decried the military’s apparent focus on fighting groups of citizens at home rather than concentrating their energies abroad. 101 By deflecting blame onto white officials, Bass and Moreno rejected a divisive tactic long used by LA city officials, media, and moral pundits: to discredit workers and communities of color by assigning to them ideological and biological predispositions for “un-American” behavior. 102 Bass and Moreno turned this argument on its head through a spatial remapping that associated white supremacy at home with fascism overseas. In his journalism and editorial observations, Himes noticed that many Black Americans chose to look the other way as violence escalated. He admonished them publicly in his seminal 1943 article in The Crisis, warning “Perhaps you don’t know what it is all about. If you are a Negro, you should know. But if you are one of those Negroes who profess not to know (and no doubt there are plenty of you), I will be only too happy to inform you.”103 His critique was rooted in the highly visible coverage of the riots by mainstream press as both a Negro and a Mexican “problem.” Stuart Cosgrove recounts that in June of 1943: the press singled out the arrests of Lewis D English, a 23-year-old black, charged with felony and carrying a “16-inch razor sharp butcher knife”; Frank H. Tellez, a 22-year-old Mexican held on vagrancy charges, and another Mexican, Luis “The Chief” Verdusco (27 years of age), allegedly the leader of the Los Angeles pachucos. . . . The arrests of English, Tellez and Verdusco seemed to confirm popular perceptions

of the zoot suiters widely expressed for weeks prior to the riots. Firstly, that the zoot suit gangs were predominantly, but not exclusively, comprised of black and Mexican youths. 104 The tremendous collective support for these youths by people from diverse communities was due in part to the discourses and practices of spatial entitlement that educated audience about the common condition of Black and Brown working-class youth. But it was also the result of the language crafted by the SLDC to create a common investment in their defense. In its first publication, the Committee declared itself an interethnic alliance: Interest in the work of the Committee is grwoing[sic]. At the last meeting there were four additional unions represented by delegates, two additional Negro groups and one additional Jewish organization. These people are bringing fresh energy and new ideas. It is very encouraging to those of us who have been working with the Committee to know that we have only begun to gather around us the people who are friendly to our purpose . . . and who will do something about it.”105 In its publications over the next two years, the Committee expressed itself in antiracist language that highlighted trans-national, transcommunal, and trans-movement understandings of the links between imperialism and racism. In a preview of the international problems that domestic racism could provoke for foreign policy elites, Radio Berlin and Radio Tokyo broadcast the news of the conviction over shortwave radio to Latin America with reports that “implied that nowhere in the USA was there to be found a friend of the Mexican or Mexican American.”106 The SLDC published letters of support from the Latin American Labor Delegates (delegations from Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Colombia, and Costa Rica were among the signatories) and petitions from various groups that were “indicative of every national descent . . . from the Transport Workers Union in New Orleans, from a college professor, from a group of men in Naval training, from soldiers convalescing in a Midwestern hospital, from a group of Negro youth, from Japanese Americans at Manzanar.”107 Growing international support of SLDC efforts was made patently clear in a telegram sent by the Latin American labor delegates in 1944 that proclaimed: We, the undersigned Latin American Labor Delegates to the ILO

Conference being held in Philadelphia, wish to express to you, the members of your committee and all those who have so generously supported its fine work, our gratitude and that of our peoples for what you have done on behalf of the twelve Mexican-America. [sic] Boys unjustly convicted of murder in the so-called Sleepy Lagoon Case. This case has been used by the Fifth Column in our countries to stir up “Anti-Yankee” sentiment in order to undermine hemisphere unity in the war against Fascism. The fact that your committee has not only fought to right a great injustice against these innocent boys but has also exposed the anti-war forces responsible for their conviction enables us to prove that the anti-Latin American prejudice which colored their trial is not shared by the majority of the people of your country. Our thanks and congratulations to you and to all who worked with you. 108 The SLDC argued that their support came from “people all over the country, of every race and color, of every national origin of different political beliefs.”109 This rhetorical strategy—grounded in the specific linkage between fascism abroad and racism at home—broadcast a politics of antiracist interethnic alliance that was intricately connected to struggles for spatial entitlement in Los Angeles youth culture and political coalitions. The Committee also argued that its activities constituted a contribution to the furtherance of the Good Neighbor Policy. This belief finds support in the enthusiastic praise and commendation accorded the work of the Committee by many organizations and individuals in Mexico and throughout Central and South America.”110 Just as strategies of spatial entitlement sought to expand the sphere of politics by enacting new social relations in seemingly unexpected places, appeals to international supporters in a time of war attempted to expand the playing field for U.S. white supremacy—to subject it to withering critique from the global majority of non-white people whose aid the United States needed in the war against fascism. This collective pressure to expand the scope and stakes of space by bringing outside pressure to bear upon city officials and law enforcement agencies responsible for the incarceration of these youth eventually led to a dismissal of the charges in 1945. It was a serious victory for coalitional politics. Yet the physical brutality, psychic damage, and other widespread racist consequences this had on Mexican Americans in Los Angeles would subsequently have a legacy of its own. Dismissal of charges was not necessarily a victory for the young women who were defendants in People v. Zamora. As Catherine Ramirez notes, some of these girls and young women “remained incarcerated and wards of the state long after their

male companions were exonerated and released from prison.”111 When one considers the magnitude of change created by the activism of Bass and Moreno, as well as the lessons learned through both the failures and successes during their careers, the force of their impact upon the SLDC becomes more visible. Edward Escobar’s important study on race and police in Los Angeles distinguishes the SLDC from other organizations of its time, in part because its strategies made whites across the United States aware for the first time of discrimination against Mexican Americans in the Southwest. The SLDC’s mission was to reveal the ways in which Mexican Americans were systematically victimized by racial prejudice by arguing that the defendants were casualties of a biased criminal justice system. 112 Escobar suggests, however, that the SLDC campaign “could only have a limited effect on the growing zoot suit hysteria in Los Angeles,” in part because their focus remained confined to publicizing the trial to raise funds for the defendants’ appeal and was not on “discussing generalized discrimination against Mexican Americans.”113 Escobar’s observation is accurate, if it is restricted to the effects of the SLDC’s main effort: to publish a pamphlet entitled “The Sleepy Lagoon Case.” But if one considers the number of communities represented by the members of the SLDC—and therefore the constellations of struggle that were affected—his conclusion becomes too narrow to account for the SLDC’s effect on future attempts at interracial solidarities. Moreover, examining the ways in which these respective communities engaged the project of countering anti-Mexican hysteria brings the power of the SLDC into sharper light. Its critical strategy was an important ideological weapon against the sharpening demarcations of race, class, and community that emerged in the 1940s, manifest in segregated social and residential spaces, the growth of privatized redevelopment, and the kind of urban renewal that prized white entitlement over economic and social inclusion. Activists knew they were in for a long and protracted struggle that would exact many costs on them. “When a person, an organization, even a newspaper gets the courage and fortitude that is going to require to put this old world into such condition that it will be a fit and happy abode for all the people,” Bass wrote in 1946, “they must first be prepared to have their heads cracked, their hopes frustrated, and their financial strength weakened.”114 The Tenney Commission, the California legislature’s equivalent of the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Senate Internal Security Committee, denounced the SLDC as a Communist front organization, later reporting that its meetings were facilitated by “trained rabble-rousers [who] orated of [sic] police brutality against minority groups, of the unfair

treatment of the Mexican and the Negro population and of racial discrimination and segregation.”115 As a direct result of Bass and Moreno’s work on the Sleepy Lagoon case, as well as other activities, Senator Tenney targeted both of them during Commission hearings. “Now [that] there was no more Sleepy Lagoon or Pachucos to blame,” Moreno reasoned, “politicians scrambled to find Communists.” Tenney further used the case and red baiting to support segregation, oppose miscegenation, and to divide the Mexican community in Southern California. 116 Bass was defiant. In her acceptance speech for her nomination as vicepresidential candidate of the Progressive Party six years later, she declared, “I will continue to cry out against police brutality against any people, as I did in the infamous zoot suit riots . . . when I reached scared and badly beaten Negro and Mexican American boys . . . [N]or have I hesitated in the face of that most Un-American Un-American activities committee—and I am willing to face it again.”117 This was Bass’s second run for elected office. In 1945, she ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, hoping to represent the 45 percent African-American Seventh District. She lost this race, but she went on to run for Congress against future mayor Samuel Yorty in 1950. Regina Freer has pointed out that although Blacks held elected positions in Chicago and New York as early as the 1920s, Los Angeles did not elect its first Black city councilperson until the 1960s. This made Bass’s local runs for office remarkable and made her run for national office in 1952 all the more significant: she was the first Black woman to run for vice president. Freer writes: At the Progressive Party’s national convention, Bass was nominated by Paul Robeson, with W. E. B. Du Bois seconding the nomination. The Progressive Party’s slogan in 1952—”win or lose, we win by raising the issues”—reflected Bass’s own orientation toward electoral politics as a forum (sometimes successful, sometimes marginalized) for political education. 118 Far from being a departure from grassroots politics, Bass’ electoral political activism was an extension of the working-class politics that had previously been confined to areas outside the formal arena. It was an effort to expand the discursive space available for antiracist action. Luisa Moreno faced more permanent personal consequences for her activism. In 1950, she was deported as a result of the Commission’s successful campaign to label her a “dangerous alien.”119 The FBI offered Moreno an opportunity to secure U.S. citizenship in exchange for testifying against Harry Bridges, an Australian-born International Longshoremen

Labor Union leader who had been charged with being a communist. Moreno refused to be “a free woman with a mortgaged soul.”120 For the rest of their lives, she and her husband Gray Bemis suffered poverty and displacement in Mexico and Guatemala. It is significant that the government could counter Moreno’s challenges to the racialized spaces of U.S. society by physically removing her from those spaces. Bass’s persecution and Moreno’s ultimate deportation at the urging of the Tenney Commission demonstrate the severe costs exacted upon radical grassroots activists and cultural workers in the postwar era. But they also show us what is possible when people dedicate themselves to a politics of struggle that scales ideological walls containing different spheres of activism. Despite her deportation, Moreno and other immigrant labor leaders “managed to root a new ethnic identity among the Mexican-origin population in Los Angeles . . . [who] immediately involved themselves in directions which reformulated the boundaries of Chicano culture and society.”121 Forced deportation across one border did not diminish Moreno’s influence on reformulating the boundaries of Chicano physical and discursive spaces in Los Angeles. The connective resistance integral to the politics of Bass and Moreno alike expanded the notion of “local” politics, which made the struggles of Mexican youth, Chicana cannery workers, and Black property owners in Los Angeles relevant to Black and Brown struggles everywhere. And yet “Bass’ politics were a direct engagement with the particular demography, geography, politics, and economics of Los Angeles and African-Americans’ expectations of what life should be like”122 in this particular city. Both women created and expanded meaningful space for coalitional movements, not only in terms of material spatial struggles, as in the fight to acquire and maintain assets through fair housing, but also in terms of symbolic space in history. This is why examining these women together reveals critical interventions in structures of racism, imperialism, and spatial oppression over several decades. The SLDC brought Moreno and Bass into dialogue with the politics of oppression across race, but it also led them to broader conclusions about the connections between domestic racism and the corporate globalism solidified during WWII. The retaliation that both women endured because of their activism was part of the particular strategies of divisiveness wielded by Los Angeles city officials during this period. In this instance, the failure to build a sustained multiracial movement out of the SLDC had more to do with white racism than reluctance or distrust on the part of Black, white, or Chicano communities represented in the struggle for equal rights in WWII Los Angeles. 123 Nonetheless, the intersecting efforts of Moreno

and Bass on behalf of the communities affected by the case allowed both to identify the cross-racial and intracommunal effects of economic disenfranchisement and structural racism for their own and future struggles. The history examined here suggests the significance of activism among aggrieved minority groups in Los Angeles during the 1930s and early 1940s for later struggles. 124 Mexican and African-American women’s activism in the 1930s and 1940s advanced cultural pluralism, integration, and intercultural understanding prior to some of the more renowned interracial activism of later periods, which is important in several respects. First, it reveals the significance of gender to the history of interracial politics and culture. In her history of the Mothers of East Los Angeles, Mary Pardo argued that because of men’s and women’s differing social obligations to their families, group solidarity and local collective action can emerge in particularly powerful ways from neighborhood networks clearly organized by gender. 125 Several labor and feminist historians have shown that the success labor struggles, from sit-down strikes to unofficial boycotts, have depended on community support largely driven by women. 126 Women’s activism in the politics of education, desegregation, and gender and racial equality set the stage for new kinds of urban activism in postwar Los Angeles. Civil rights struggles among women of color incorporated a mosaic of racial and ethnic groups, contributing to new sensibilities about horizontal antagonisms, identities, and alliances. To properly understand the varying forms of radical activism in aggrieved communities, we must look beyond official histories to take into account the unofficial spaces where women and minority groups fashioned their own representation. The efforts of the SLDC, the coalescence of activists and the communities that were implicated in their activism, as well as the broad antiracist efforts that characterized Black and Chicano concerns in WWII Los Angeles offer an important example of the ways ordinary people illumined contradictions in U.S. immigration policy, racial restrictions, and official democracy. It was women who often took the lead in revealing these contradictions. Second, across significant moments in which the politics and people of Black and Brown communities intermingled, and in which each constellation of struggle coalesced, a cross-racial and intercommunity legacy formed and became foundational for future interracial struggles in Los Angeles. While scholarship has explored this rich early history, few works underscore the relationship between the formation of interracial alliances in the 1930s and 1940s, patterns of segregation and inequality during WWII, and the repression of interracial spaces in the 1940s and

1950s. Bass’s and Moreno’s strategic deployment of community-centered consciousness and interracial politics of struggle provide rich instruction about the protracted struggles that involve Black and Latino working-class people, as well as for cultural, grassroots, and intellectual workers. In other words, Moreno and Bass are significant links in a continuous chain of Brown–Black coalitions. Understanding the significance of this inheritance means valuing the potential contained in coalitional politics even when the gains are not immediate or apparently radical. These politics have resulted in critical interethnic challenges to structures of dominance in Los Angeles, making this story relevant to the history of diverse urban political cultures in every American city. To generate an imaginary from the constellations of struggle Bass and Moreno created in Los Angeles means understanding injustices in their full historical and social context, making resistance a part of public discourse, rejecting strategies of division, employing tactics of unity, and changing the language of oppression into a discourse of struggle and cooperation. This not only influences current sensibilities but also leaves a legacy of resistance from which others may benefit. It remains a powerful way to tell those in power how disappointed we are. Chapter 2 considers how despite the evisceration of some communities and the meaningful spaces at their core, spatial resistance among Blacks and Browns resulted in more than trans-local solidarities stemming from dispersal, estrangement, and marginalization. Expressed spatial entitlements, particularly through music, created new articulations, new sensibilities, and new visions about the place of Black, Brown, and working-class people on the local and national landscape.

NOTES 1. Ruiz, Vicki L. “Luisa Moreno and Latina Labor Activism” In: Ruiz, Vicki, and Virginia Sánchez Korrol (Eds.), Latina Legacies: Identity, Biography, and Community. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 175. 2. Kelley, Robin D.G. “Building Bridges: The Challenge of Organized Labor in Communities of Color.” New Labor Forum 5 (Fall/Winter 1999): 42–58. 3. See Samuels, David W., Louise Meintjes, Ana Maria Ochoa, Thomas Porcello, “Soundscapes: Toward a Sounded Anthropology,” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (2010): 330. Thanks to Josh Kun and Kara Keeling for

alerting me to this work as well as to the piece by Bull and Back cited below through the co-authored introduction to the special issue “Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies” of the American Quarterly 63, no. 3 (September 2011): 445–459. 4. Fuentes, Leonardo Padura. Voices of Salsa: A Spoken History of the Music. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2003. Clyde Woods, Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta. New York: Verso, 1998. 5. Bull, Michael, and Les Back, “Introduction: Intro Sound.” The Auditory Cultures Reader. Oxford, United Kingdom: Berg, 2003, p. 4 6. Bass, Charlotta A. Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of a Newspaper. Los Angeles: self-published, 1960, p. 156. 7. Alice McGrath, interviewed by Michael Balter, 1987, Transcript: The Education of Alice McGrath. Oral History Transcript, Oral History Program, University of California at Los Angeles, p. 93. 8. Bass, Forty Years, p. 157. 9. Rapp, Anne Barbara. “A Marginalized Voice for Racial Justice: Charlotta Bass and Oppositional Politics, 1914–1960” (PhD dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2005), p. 114. 10. David Harvey locates “the politics of space . . . in the contradiction between mobility and immobility.” He contends that because capital exists in immobile, spatially fixed forms, “such as factories, worker skills, social and physical infrastructures,” as well as in mobile forms, such as currency, it is between these two states that space becomes most contested. Harvey, David. Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography. New York: Routledge, 2001. 11. Ruiz, “Luisa Moreno and Latina Labor Activism,” pp. 175–192. 12. Garcilazo, Jeffrey M. “McCarthyism, Mexican Americans, and the Los Angeles Committee for the Protection of the Foreign-Born, 1959– 1960.” Western Historical Quarterly, 32, no. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 273– 295. 13. U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, “Closing INS Report (Los Angeles District) on Luisa Moreno,” December 6, 1950; Murdoch, Steve. “Kenny Papers.” Our Times, September 9, 1949, file 53. 14. Catherine Ramírez has drawn attention to the term “GI Generation” as an androcentric label of this period. Ramírez, Catherine. The Woman in

the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009, p. 17. 15. Ruiz, “Luisa Moreno and Latina Labor Activism,” p. 177. 16. Ruiz, Vicki L. “Una Mujer sin Fronteras: Luisa Moreno and Latina Labor Activism” in Pacific Historical Review 73, no. 1 (2004): 4. 17. García, Mario. Mexican Americans: Leadership, Ideology, and Identity, 1930–1960. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989; García, Mario. Memories of Chicano History: The Life and Narrative of Bert Corona. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. 18. Gutiérrez, David Gregory. Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995, pp. 111–114. 19. Du Bois, W.E.B. Black Reconstruction in America. New York: Harper, 1995. 20. Lipsitz, George. “Abolition Democracy and Global Justice.” Comparative American Studies: an International Journal 2, no. 3 (2005): 273–274. 21. Camacho, Alicia R. Schmidt. Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands. New York: New York University Press, 2008, p. 137. 22. Quoted in Ruiz, Vicki. From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 101. Also quoted in Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries, p. 137. 23. Bernstein, Shana. “Interracial Activism in the Los Angeles Community Service Organization: Linking the World War II and Civil Rights Eras.” Pacific Historical Review 80, no 2 (May 2011), p. 235. 24. Sánchez, George. “Edward R. Roybal and the Politics of Multiracialism.” Southern California Quarterly 92, no. 1 (Spring, 2010), 51. 25. Ruiz, “Una Mujer sin Fronteras,” p. 6. 26. Ruiz, Vicki. Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930–1950. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987, pp. 74–78, 83. 27. Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries, p. 2. 28. Harvey, David. Social Justice and the City. Oxford, United Kingdom:

Basil Blackwell, 1973. 29. Clyde Adrian Woods’ brilliant Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta shows how the region under his consideration, “the home of the blues tradition in music, popular culture, and explanation” created a “blues epistemology” that provides a useful theory of social change relevant to many regions, in many times, with varying power relations. Not only that, Woods demonstrates the effects of persistent injustice in the Delta on global economic and popular networks, revealing the ways, as George Lipsitz has pointed out, that history “takes place.” Woods, Development Arrested, pp. 1 and 31. Lipsitz, “Abolition Democracy and Global Justice,” p. 284. 30. Murdock, Steve. “A Question of Deportment.” Our Times, September 9, 1949. 31. Woodson, Carter G. “Fifty Years of Negro Citizenship.” Journal of Negro History 6, no. 1 (January 1921): 1. 32. The following is an important website developed by Regina Freer and the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research: http://www.socallib.org/bass/story/index.html 33. Ibid. 34. Alice McGrath, interview by Michael Balter, 1987, Transcript: The Education of Alice McGrath, Oral history Transcript, Oral History Program, University of California at Los Angeles, 93. 35. Healey, Dorothy, and Maurice Isserman, Dorothy Healey Remembers: A Life in the American Communist Party. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 70. 36. Horne, Gerald. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995, pp. 31–32. 37. Caughey, John, and LaRee Caughey. Los Angeles: Biography of a City. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977, p. 426. By 1950, Black expansion south of Slauson Avenue had not yet reached west to Broadway or East past Alameda Street. Mexicans also remained in restricted neighborhoods. White resistance was especially strong in the small, independent cities such as Huntington Park, Bell Gardens, and South Gate to the Southeast. See also, Allen, James P., and Eugene Turner, The Ethnic Quilt: Population and Diversity in Southern California. Northridge, CA: The Center for Geographical Studies, 1997. 38. Allen and Turner, The Ethnic Quilt, p. 78. Horne, Fire This Time,

pp. 28–29. 39. Viehe, Fred W. “20th Century Los Angeles: Power, Promotion, and Conflict” (Book Review) Journal of Urban History 23, no. 5 (July, 1997): 657. 40. Sánchez, George. Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 254. 41. Ervin, James McFarline. “The Participation of the Negro in the Community Life of Los Angeles” (PhD dissertation, University of Southern California, 1931), p. 9. 42. García, Matt. A World of Their Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900–1970, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. 43. Horne, Fire This Time, p. 28. 44. See folder 10, box 1, Ku Klux Klan, Realm of California, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, California State University, Northridge. 45. Bond, J. Max. “The Negro in Los Angeles” (PhD dissertation, University of Southern California, 1936), p. 98. 46. Rodriguez, Luis J. Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993, p. 126. 47. In 1947, Lloyd Fisher observed that in LA there was “for the Negro and Mexican, inequality in income, employment opportunity, educational opportunity and housing, for the white, ignorance, prejudice, insecurity and a thousand and one personal frustrations. Add to these an irresponsible press, the policies of real estate agencies and mortgage companies and a prejudiced police force.” Fisher, Lloyd H. The Problem of Violence: Observations on Race Conflict in Los Angeles. Chicago: privately published, 1947, p. 11. 48. McDowell, Linda. Gender, Identity, and Place: Understanding Feminist Geographies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999; Massey, Doreen B. Space, Place, and Gender. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1994; Spain, Daphne. Gendered Spaces. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992; Rose, Gillian. Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 49. Pruitt, Lisa R. “Gender, Geography, and Rural Justice” UC Davis

Legal Studies Research Paper Series Research Paper 129 (March 2008). 50. This quote comes from the eulogy of Emma Tenayuca, given by Carmen Tafolla in San Antonio in 1999. Quoted in La Voz de Aztlan 1(6), March 13, 2000. 51. Mitchell, Don, and Carrie Breitbach, “Raymond Williams.” In: Gill Valentine, Rob Kitchin, & Phil Hubbard (Eds.), Key Thinkers on Race and Space. New York: Sage Press, 2004, p. 334. 52. Young, Iris Marion. Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990; Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997. 53. Even C.L.R. James’ grudging tribute to Marcus Garvey could not sideline the importance of The Negro World. Grimshaw, Anna (Ed.), The C.L.R. James Reader. London: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 299. 54. Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006, p. 33. 55. Bass, Forty Years, p. 95. 56. Wyatt, David Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 34. 57. In a 1948 U.S. Supreme Court case, Thurgood Marshall and Loren Miller argued on behalf of the Shelley and McGhee families, who had purchased land subject to restrictive covenants in St. Louis and Detroit, respectively. White neighbors sued both families on the grounds that a restrictive covenant had been in place on the property for decades before the real estate purchase. After a ruling against them at the state Supreme Court level, they appealed to the federal court. In Shelley v. Kraemer, the Court ruled that restrictive covenants could not be enforced by the states. However, they determined that race-based covenants still did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment; indeed, they held that private parties may voluntarily abide by the terms of a restrictive covenant. The only effective difference as a result of this ruling was that these actions could not be judicially enforced. This constituted an implicit invitation for homeowners’ associations and loan companies to enter into these covenants voluntarily. The Federal Housing Authority, in fact, continued to require them. 58. Fisher, The Problem of Violence, p. 11. 59. Fisher, The Problem of Violence, p. 11.

60. Bass, Forty Years, p. 95, quoted in Freer, Regina. “L.A. Race Woman: Charlotta Bass and the Complexities of Black Political Development in Los Angeles” American Quarterly 56, no. 3 (2004): 616. 61. hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press, 1984. 62. Vicki Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 100. 63. hooks, Feminist Theory, pp. 149–150. 64. hooks, bell Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 1990, pp. 145–153. 65. Ramirez contends that women’s reinsertion into this history, and into Chicano historiography more broadly, complicate questions about the social movements the case instigated and ask why the contributions of girls and women were overlooked by later generations of artists, writers, and activists. Ramírez, The Woman in the Zoot Suit, pp. 17–18. 66. Stacy, Lee. Mexico and the United States, Volume 1. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2002, p. 185. 67. Seventeen of the 22 boys were found guilty. Three of them were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of José Díaz. Acuña, Rodolfo. Occupied America. New York: Harper & Row, 1988, pp. 254– 255; Alice McGrath papers and Guy Endore papers, Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles. 68. Rodolfo Acuña, Anything but Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles. New York: Verso, 1996, p. 112; Pagán, Eduardo Obregón. Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003; Escobar, Edward J. Race, Police, and the Making of a Political Identity: Mexican Americans and the Los Angeles Police Department, 1900–1945. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999. 69. Honorable in All Things: Oral History Transcript: The Memoirs of Carey McWilliams. UCLA oral history, 1978. 70. As a teenager and Communist Party member in 1933, activist Dorothy Healey helped organize the Mexican and Japanese berry pickers in El Monte. As head of the Los Angeles branch of the Communist Party after 1946, she helped build bridges between unions, civil rights movements, and progressive electoral coalitions. In 1942, hundreds of

African-American women had flooded the downtown U.S. Employment Service office, forcing the end of racial and gender discrimination in the war industries. This coincided with a dramatic change in the AFL International Association of Machinists, who had restricted its initiation ritual to whites only. But because of women’s activism, industrial expansion, and labor shortages, the aircraft and other industries created 550,000 new jobs between 1940 and mid-1943. This meant that the number of women employees in the six southern California aircraft plants went from 143 in 1941 to nearly 65,000 by the summer of 1943. In the 1930s, there was collaboration between the Black Sleeping Car Porters and the middle-class NAACP, as well as between white and black reformers, as evidenced in the fight for the first African-American schoolteacher in Berkeley. The Longshoreman’s Union that emerged from the General Strike of 1934 was racially integrated, as were the farm workers’ unions of the 1930s. See Gluck, Sherna Berger. Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Women, the War, and Social Change. Boston: 1987, pp. 203– 204. See also Verge, Arthur C. “The Impact of the Second World War on Los Angeles.” Pacific Historical Review 63, no. 3 (August 1994). 71. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American, p. 249. 72. Lipsitz, George “Frantic to Join . . . the Japanese Army.” In: Lowe, Lisa, and David Lloyd (Eds.), The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997, pp. 324–353. 73. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Special Census of Los Angeles, California. Washington, DC: Author, 1946. 74. Comparatively, the Black population of New York City increased nearly two and a half times and in Detroit it tripled. Caughey and Caughey. Los Angeles, p. 426. 75. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American, p. 249. 76. Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, “News release: reasons for the convictions in the Sleepy Lagoon case” UCLA Special Collections, Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records, 1942–1945; Box 1 Folder 1. 77. X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove Press, 1966. 78. Daniels, Douglas Henry. “Los Angeles Zoot: Race “Riot,” the Pachuco, and Black Music Culture.” Journal of Negro History 82 no. 2 (Spring, 1997): 201. 79. Kelley, Robin D.G. “The Riddle of the Zoot.” In: Race Rebels:

Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, pp. 162–181. 80. See Otis, Johnny, and George Lipsitz. Upside Your Head! Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1993; and Lipsitz, Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. 81. DeVeaux, Scott Knowles. The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999, p. 387. Dregni, Michael. Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend. London: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 262. For other examples of Granz’s antiracist activism in jazz circles, also see Scott, Lillian. “Producer Explains ‘Crusade’ on Music Jim Crow: Norman Granz Makes Appeal on Race Issue” Chicago Defender 52, no. 47 (March 8, 1947), p. II. 82. In another context, Gilroy called this a “politics of transfiguration.” Borrowing from Paul Gilroy, we might understand “Pachuco Boogie,” “Chucos Suaves,” and “Marijuana Boogie” as nonlinguistic, communicatory means that projected “an alternative body of cultural and political expression that considers the world critically from the point of view of its emancipatory transformation.” Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995, p. 39. 83. Kelley, “The Riddle of the Zoot” In: Race Rebels, pp. 162–181. 84. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Random House, 1947, p. 381. 85. Kelley, “The Riddle of the Zoot” In: Race Rebels, pp. 162–181. 86. Kelley, “The Riddle of the Zoot.” In: Race Rebels, pp. 162–181. 87. Macías, Anthony. Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935–1968. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008, p. 63. 88. “The Chitlin Circuit and the Road to Rock and Roll,” On Point with Tom Ashbrook, NPR Radio (July 18, 2011). 89. Freer, L.A. Race Woman, pp. 607–632. 90. California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, “Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention California CIO Council,” December 5–9, 1945, pp. 111– 113. University of California, Berkeley, Special Collections: California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Proceedings and Publications.

91. Gutiérrez, Walls and Mirrors, p. 125. 92. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American, p. 267. 93. Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows, p. 84. See also, White, Shane, and Graham White. Stylin’: African American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit. New York: Cornell University Press, 1999;, and Kelley, Race Rebels. 94. Ruiz, p. 128. 95. Correspondence between SLDC and Trade Unionists (1943 or 1944), “Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee’s Correspondence,” Box 2 Folder 7, UCLA Special Collections. 96. Freer, “L.A. Race Woman.” 97. Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research, Civil Rights Congress, “Wolf Pack Hysteria,” 1950, Box 5, Folder 9. 98. del Castillo, Richard Griswold, and Carlos Larralde, “Luisa Moreno and the Beginnings of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement in San Diego.” Journal of San Diego History 43, no. 3 (Summer, 1997): 158–175. 99. Ibid. 100. California Eagle, November 8 and 29, 1945. 101. Quoted in Lynne Itagaki, “Transgressing Race and Community in Chester Himes’s: If He Hollers Let Him Go.” African-American Review (Spring 2003). 102. Great background on this issue can be found in Molina, Natalia Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. 103. Himes, Chester, “Zoot Riots Are Race Riots.” The Crisis (July 1943): 200–220. 104. Cosgrove, Stuart “The Zoot Suit and Style Warfare.” History Workshop Journal 18, no. 1 (1984): 77–91. 105. The Appeal News 1, no. 1 (April 7, 1943) Los Angeles: Citizens’ Committee for the Defense of Mexican-American Youth Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee. UCLA Special Collections, Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records, 1942–1945; Box 107. 106. Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, “News release: Support for the Sleepy Lagoon Defendants and Appeal of the Trial” UCLA Special Collections, Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records, 1942–1945;Box

1, Folder 1. 107. Ibid. 108. News release: Telegram from Latin American Labor Delegates Stating Support of the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, May 15, 1944; Box 1, Folder 1 109. Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, “Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee to be Abolished” UCLA Special Collections, Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records, 1942–1945; Box 1, Folder 1. 110. Ibid. 111. Ramirez argues that this simple fact throws into question the wholesale celebrations of the successful appeal of the case. She asks, therefore, for whom, exactly, was it a victory? “What sort of social movement did it instigate and for whom?” Ramirez, The Woman in the Zoot Suit, pp. 17–18. 112. Escobar, Race, Police, and the Making of a Political Identity, p. 228. 113. Ibid. 114. Bass, Charlotta A. “On the Sidewalk.” California Eagle, January 31, 1946, p. 1. 115. California Legislature, Joint Fact-Finding Committee on UnAmerican Activities, Report of the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on UnAmerican Activities in California. Sacramento, CA: Author, 1945, p. 209. Quoted in Gutiérrez, Walls and Mirrors, p. 126. 116. del Castillo and Larralde, “Luisa Moreno and the Beginnings of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement in San Diego.” 117. Bass, Charlotta. “Acceptance Speech as Vice Presidential Candidate of the Progressive Party” March 30, 1952. 118. Freer, “L.A. Race Woman.” 119. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American, p. 252. 120. H. R. Landom, District Director of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and by George W. Scallorn, Chief Entry, Departure, and Expulsion Section to Luisa M. Bemis, File No. 246-121334, December 15, 1949, Los Angeles, Folder 54, Robert Kenny Collection. 121. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American, p. 252. 122. Freer, Regina. “L.A. Race Woman: Charlotta Bass and the

Complexities of Black Political Development in Los Angeles.” American Quarterly 56(3): pp 607-632. 123. Similarly, Robin Kelley has argued that the failure to build a strong multiracial labor movement had more to do with white racism than reluctance or distrust on the part of workers of color. Ironically, he argues, “the (white) labor movement [in the late 19th century] was partly forged because of racism, which in the long run substantially weakened the movement while providing a basis for solidarity.” Kelley, “Building Bridges.” 124. Anderson, Frederick E. The Development of Leadership and Organization Building in the Black Community of Los Angeles from 1900 through World War II. Saratoga, CA: Century Twenty-One, 1980; Anderson, Susan. “A City Called Heaven: Black Enchantment and Despair in Los Angeles.” In: Scott, Allen J., and Edward W. Soja (Eds.), The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996, pp. 336–364; Bunche, Lonnie G. “A Past Not Necessarily Prologue: The Afro-American in Los Angeles.” In: Klein, Norman M., and Martin J. Schiesl (Eds.), 20th Century Los Angeles: Power, Promotion, and Social Conflict. Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 1990; De Graaf, Lawrence. “The City of Black Angels: Emergence of the Los Angeles Ghetto 1890–1930,” Pacific Historical Review 5, no. 39 (August 1970): 323–352; Flamming, Doug. “AfricanAmericans and the Politics of Race in Progressive-Era Los Angeles.” In: Deverell, William, and Tom Sitton (Eds.), California Progressivism Revisited. Berkeley: University of California Press 1994, pp. 203–228; Horne, Fire This Time; Sides, Josh. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Tolbert, Emory. The UNIA and Black Los Angeles. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Afro-American Studies, 1980; de Graaf, Lawrence B., Kevin Mulroy, and Quintard Taylor (Eds.), Seeking El Dorado: African-Americans in California. Los Angeles: Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 2001. 125. Pardo, Mary S. Mexican-American Women Activists: Identity and Resistance in two Los Angeles Communities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. 126. Hunter, Tera. To ’Joy My Freedom: Women Workers Odyssey of Hope and Struggle in the Post-Civil War Urban South. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997; Foner, Philip, Women and the American Labor Movement: From the First Trade Unions to the Present. MN: The Free Press, 1982; Enstad, Nan, Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure:

Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999; Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd, and Robert Korstad. Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Mill World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000; Jones, Jacqueline, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 2009; Ruiz, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives; Frank, Dana. Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America. New York: South End Press, 2008. Honey, Michael K. Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights Organizing Memphis Workers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

CHAPTER 2

Spatial Entitlement Race, Displacement, and Sonic Reclamation in Postwar Los Angeles

If you are not prepared to be part of this greatness, if you want Los Angeles to revert to pueblo status . . . then my best advice to you is to prepare to resettle elsewhere. —L.A. Mayor Norris Poulson, 1959 1

[African Americans] discovered . . . that congregation in a Jim Crow environment produced more space than power. They used this space to gather their cultural bearings, to mold the urban setting. —Earl Lewis2

Struggles for spatial entitlement flow from the recognition that a community requires more than physical space to survive. Spaces have social meanings. They function to maintain memories and to preserve practices that reinforce community knowledge and cohesiveness. In postwar Los Angeles, the boundaries of segregated Black and Brown neighborhoods were expanding incrementally, yet the social agencies and institutions that served these areas were under persistent attack by city and federal policies in the postwar era. As postwar urban renewal policies enacted devastating losses of residential and social spaces, youth from aggrieved communities expressed their claims to meaningful space in the ways that were available to them, particularly through the production and consumption of popular music. Because they were limited in their ability to interact in physical places, they turned to sonic spaces as sites of mutual recognition. As their access to vibrant and democratic cityscapes declined, they fashioned soundscapes that they could savor and share together and apart.

In 1948, Black entrepreneur John Dolphin saw an opportunity and discovered that technology was on his side. An immigrant to Los Angeles from Detroit, Dolphin discovered that most music stores in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles refused to carry records by Black artists. And he knew that it had never been easier to record and market Black musicians. The postwar acquisition of tape-recording technology meant that ordinary people could now afford portable tape recorders, which meant that recording could be done anywhere and transferred to records. In the 1940s, radio stations had just begun to use recorded music instead of live music in regular programming, and records soon became the staple of the music industry, surpassing sheet music as the major source of revenue in 1952. At about the same time, radio overtook jukeboxes as the number one hit-maker. 3 Eventually, all it took to create a record company and sell in a local market, or even a regional one, was a small amount of capital, a magnetic tape recorder, some performers, and credit with pressing plants and printers. 4 This is why recording studios could often be found in storefront offices. These technological and social transformations changed the meanings and configurations of urban space. Inexpensive tape recorders reduced the distance between the streets and studios where music could be recorded. The eclipse of sheet music by recordings changed radio programming and its sensitivity to local cultural production and marketing. By the middle of 1948, Dolphin had acquired tape-recording equipment, some capital, a studio, and the services of performers eager to record. He owned a record store in South Los Angeles and his own record-pressing machine. In a bit of creative wordplay shaped by recognition of the ways in which new media forms enabled new kinds of cognitive mapping, he named his business—located at Vernon and Central Avenues—”Dolphin’s of Hollywood.” He reasoned that although Blacks were unwelcome in Hollywood, he could “bring Hollywood to the Negroes.”5 He even named his first record label “RIH” (Recorded in Hollywood). The glamour previously attached to Hollywood as a physical place could now travel across town as a component of discursive space. Dolphin became a pioneer of the independent record label. The recording and broadcasting spaces he provided were prime factors in the emergence of rhythm and blues music on the West Coast. 6 He recorded local artists whose music had been neglected by large recording companies. Joe Houston, Bobby Day, Linda Hayes, Jesse Belvin, Chuck Higgins, and Eddie Cochran were some of the first to record on Dolphin’s labels (aptly named “Lucky,” “Money,” and “Cash”) in a studio at the rear of his store. In 1951, Dolphin bought radio airtime on radio station KRKD,

hiring disc jockeys to play his records from the window at the front of his store. 7 Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg was the first white DJ to broadcast from the storefront’s studio: his signature and oft-repeated hook, “get on down here to Vernon and Central, Central and Vernon” summoned listeners along Central Avenue, from the East Side in Chicano and Jewish neighborhoods, from newly constructed suburbs, and from communities in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. 8 One song produced by Dolphin but not released even gave out his store’s address. “Lovin’ John,” written by Connie Crayton and sung by Vernon Anders with Monroe Tucker, paid tribute to the record store and its owner by promising listeners “a jolly smilin’ face when you stroll into his place, on Vernon at 1065.”9 White listeners from the San Fernando Valley would travel 35 miles to buy R&B records at Dolphin’s. Hugg and his broadcasting contemporary Hunter Hancock (a later employee of Dolphin’s) later recalled watching the “crawl of cruisers” that transformed Central Avenue into a new kind of social space: a predominantly Black but thriving interracial space, even when the city mobilized against it because authorities frowned on interracial socialization. 10 The interracial congregation on Central Avenue posed the powerful symbolic threat of cross-racial cooperation to law enforcement officers and civic leaders alike. Radio broadcasts from Dolphin’s of Hollywood transmitted an invitation to enter a multiracial discursive space of listenership emanating from a new physical space of interracial contact. This summons constituted a struggle for spatial entitlement made possible by Dolphin but enacted by working-class youths of different races. These spaces and places, physical and discursive, were mutually constitutive. In such a context, Huggy Boy’s exhortation became much more than just a radio show hook. LA city planners and elected officials had many reasons to restrict Black and Brown spaces and spatial mobility. The Los Angeles they intended to construct in the postwar era would reject the tenets of New Deal liberalism, anticipating and Prefiguring the rise of the New Right. Their vision was seriously at odds with the desires and aspiration of aggrieved racialized communities. Eric Ávila has shown that as freeways replaced streetcars, as new sites like Dodger Stadium eviscerated ethnic neighborhoods, and as suburbs provided sites of order and safety, Los Angeles entertained “a set of racialized fantasies” that depicted the region as a “southwestern outpost of white supremacy.”11 Similarly, Anthony Macías has documented the calculated efforts of the LAPD and Los Angeles City Council members to curtail interracial musical events on Central Avenue, “afraid that whites, blacks, Mexicans, and Filipinos might be allowed to dance together.” In 1940, Mayor Fletcher Bowron prohibited

the sale of alcohol after 2 a.m. in an effort to reduce the “swarms of white visitors making the rounds” on Central Avenue. 12 In 1954, Dolphin’s store was blockaded by Newton Division police, who turned white customers away with the admonition that it was “too dangerous to hang around all Black neighborhoods.”13 For midcentury orchestrators of white spatial hegemony, the era could be cast as a historic leap into late-twentieth-century mobility of commodities, currencies, and people. Mass emigration from cities to suburbs marked the initiation of a new era of debt-financed consumer spending and economic growth. 14 But for most Black and MexicanAmerican youth, urban renewal and freeway building, residential segregation, the repression and demise of interracial coalitions, the growth of white suburbia, and Red Scare politics shaped their experience as one of artificial containment and immobility at the same historical moment. 15 These two disparate but temporally identical experiences in the same city emerged out of the same historical formations, sometimes with great and tragic irony. Wartime workers excluded from postwar employment transferred their skills from aircraft assembly to detailing and customizing cars. Similarly, the same materials used to construct Dodger Stadium—home to the first racially integrated ball club in the history of the major leagues—fortified the freeways that razed working-class Chicano communities. 16 Racial diversity, dynamic economic growth, and a “dispersive spatial arrangement in Los Angeles mitigated the harshest effects of segregation” but also led to increased competition for entry-level jobs and housing. Therefore, increased employment opportunities, a rise in home ownership, and executive, judicial, and legislative assaults on segregation during WWII coincided with the reinforcement of particular social inequities in postwar Los Angeles. 17 In many instances overlooked by social historians, everyday reclamations of space, assertions of social citizenship, and infrapolitical struggles have created the conditions that ultimately led to future successes for organized collective movements. 18 Black and Brown collectivities in postwar Los Angeles enacted solidarities out of their shared experiences with dispersal, estrangement, and marginalization. Yet these affinities were based on more than just eviction and exclusion from physical places. New collectivities were realized through new and creative uses of technology and space. Dolphin’s use of discursive and physical spaces (airwaves and sites of interracial leisure) staged figurative access to one of the most significant social locations in the world (Hollywood), to

participation in the postwar economy, and to the perpetuation of long-time community affiliations while creating new ones. This chapter examines modes of spatial entitlement deployed by Black and Brown communities in the postwar era. Facing the evisceration of historically Black and Brown neighborhoods through urban renewal and restricted from accessing the rights of full citizenship, Black and Brown youth claimed alternative, often discursive, spaces in which important democratic and egalitarian visions were fashioned. These spatial claims were manifested in temporary locations and ephemeral pronouncements that proclaimed the relevance and rights of Black and Brown people in Los Angeles. These unique engagements with social space challenged the terms of social citizenship but provoked severe retaliations, which can be interpreted as an important measure of the threat posed by these assertions, both symbolic and material. 19 These largely temporary articulations did not necessarily result in utopian spaces of racial or class harmony: indeed, alongside spaces of mutual respect and enjoyment are a record of painful expressions of intergroup discrimination and competition for inclusion in the broader political economy. Nonetheless, the space-based strategies and cultural productions had lasting importance. They were built in part on the history of the Black–Brown affiliations I examined in Chapter 1. Moreover, they are critical to the discursive fabric that created vernacular expressions of collective self-respect, to the right to be alive and productive on the LA landscape, and to a belief in the right to a meaningful future. In the 1950s, corporations and private businesses garnered important long-term economic and social gains from government funding of highway building, federal housing loan programs, urban renewal, and defense spending. These enterprises were further subsidized by federal aid for education, which significantly raised the median education of most white Americans and prepared them for the technological revolutions that were beginning to take place. For the most part, working-class communities were not poised to take advantage of these changes; members of these communities were often shut out by racist housing policies that in turn increased segregation, ensuring that most children of color went to segregated and underfunded schools. Believing in the right to equal life chances and enacting strategies to secure them was an especially daunting challenge for young people in this era. They were in many ways as much under siege in the 1950s as they had been in the 1940s. Racist attendance, assignment, disciplinary, and curricular policies in LA public high schools like South Gate, Jordan, and Fremont perpetuated racial stratifications that originated in the economics

of exclusion. 20 Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles was one of the first public schools to integrate its classrooms before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decision in 1954. Located at 76th Street and San Pedro Boulevard, it was among the most integrated schools in Los Angeles by midcentury. Yet behind the appearance of racial progress hid a sinister history. White residents living in neighborhoods bifurcated by Alameda Boulevard south of downtown waged a prolonged struggle to keep their children segregated from Mexicans, Blacks, and Asians. To their dismay, the city often deemed segregation impractical: the constant influx of new racial and ethnic groups consistently altered the racial and ethnic demographics of the city. In 1927, whites living in the Belvedere district successfully lobbied to establish Fremont High School for children in areas that had managed to remain white, designating adjacent integrated neighborhoods as part of the Jefferson High district. 21 By the 1940s, changing demographics and integrationist struggles waged by communities of color had altered this segregation by enrolling Black students in the school. In her memoir of Black Los Angeles, Charlotta Bass recalled a mock lynching at Fremont in 1941. A poster circulated prior to the event stated: “We want no niggers in this school. This is a white man’s school. Go to your own school, and leave us to ours.” In Bass’s estimation, the incident was but an extension of parental and community attitudes toward integrating this traditionally white school. 22 Students of color in LA-area schools faced racism as well. 23 Teachers often discouraged students of color from pursuing professional or skilled work, endorsing racist presumptions about their potential. Former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley remembered “all the gifted people with no outlet” at his alma mater, Lafayette Junior High, where teachers steered Asians toward gardening and clerking careers and African Americans and Mexicans toward service jobs. 24 School officials working with MexicanAmerican children during the 1940s subscribed to direct strategies of exclusion. One principal claimed to have found a simple solution to the “Mexican problem” at his school: “We just see that none of them get to the tenth grade.”25 Taken together, these testimonies illustrate a persistent, coordinated effort to exclude Black and Brown children from the opportunities afforded by K–12 education.

FIGURE 5. Mock lynching at Fremont High School, 1941.

The institutional designation of the futures of children of color as at once predetermined for failure and threatening to the city’s future might seem odd considering the interracialism that characterized some of these LA schools, but this was characteristic of the way racism functioned in this city in midcentury. Surface appearances of racial harmony hid deeper inequalities and antagonisms. In many ways, racial diversity, dispersed

spatial arrangements, and common leisure spaces promoted degrees of demographic and cultural interaction that were unmatched by most midcentury U.S. cities. The relative personal freedoms and job opportunities available to communities of color in Los Angeles positioned the city as an exception to the predominating models of Black–white racism. However, the city’s police abuse, residential and school segregation, and employment discrimination remained insidious forces in the lives of most aggrieved minority communities in Los Angeles. 26 Students from Jordan, Fremont, Roosevelt, and other schools on the front lines of racial change suffered personal and social impositions of racism and economic exclusion. Yet for decades they had resisted these impositions to garner both respect and rights. A school principal reported that a group of disgruntled students complained when one teacher “said something that made them think she looked upon them as dirty Mexicans.” The principal was pressured until the teacher was transferred to another school. 27 Yet students attempted to manifest in education what was much more difficult to achieve in local and national electoral politics. In the early 1930s, Roosevelt High School elected a Japanese student body president and an African-American female class president. Jordan High elected a Chicano as student body president. 28 Though these achievements were exceptions in the experience of racialized public schooling in LA at this time, they nonetheless illustrated the possibility of an emancipatory future, and were significant moments for communities of color. Young people voting for class officers resisted the pervasive racial oppression and cultural categorization of their society through strong associations with vibrant interracial cultures and identities. They created politically powerful sites of interethnic interaction. These school spaces in turn expressed an expectation of entitlement to an interethnic and just future. This was no easy task. In many cases, urban renewal stripped interracial neighborhoods of the assets needed for individual and collective success and also demolished the spaces of congregation upon which these areas depended. Institutional racism structured systematic inequality though the impact of urban renewal on these communities.

URBAN RENEWAL: “AS IF NO ONE HAD EVER LIVED THERE” Between 1949 and 1973, scores of Black and Latino communities were destroyed to make way for the postindustrial, suburban spatial form that would characterize the modern U.S. city. 29 Between the passage of the

Housing Acts of 1949 and 1967, a total of 400,000 residential units were demolished in urban renewal areas across the nation, while only 10,760 low-rent public housing units replaced them. 30 Los Angeles emerged as one of the most visible examples of spatial hegemony: Black and Brown neighborhoods were demolished, even erased from maps as if no one had ever lived there. 31 By 1957, the construction of five freeways—the San Bernardino, the Santa Ana, the Long Beach, the Golden State, and the Pomona—had cut through and effectively destroyed the primarily Mexican neighborhood of Boyle Heights. As Marshall Berman noted, if “the distinctive sign of nineteenth-century urbanism was the boulevard, a medium for bringing explosive material and human forces together; the hallmark of twentiethcentury urbanism has been the highway, a means for putting them asunder.”32 Community groups whose neighborhoods were threatened by urban renewal waged protracted struggles against the Division of Highways, arguing in 1953 that the building of the Golden State Freeway would destroy key community social service agencies such as schools, churches, hospitals, and convalescent homes. 33 Boyle Heights residents fought tirelessly against local and federal housing and transportation policies, but by 1957, Eastside Sun editor Eli Kovner would lament the loss of community signposts: “Believe me, it is heartbreaking to see such old landmarks disappear.”34 George Sánchez has argued that local and federal officials used “applied social science research, fiscal policy, and direct intervention,” to justify the destruction of neighborhoods like Boyle Heights and, in the process, redefined postwar terms of racialization through the suppression of interracial spaces. The secret appraisers’ manual for the Home Owners Loan Corporation authored a death sentence for Boyle Heights as early as 1930 by designating the area as unfit for federal loans because: This is a “melting pot” area and is literally honeycombed with diverse and subversive racial elements. It is seriously doubted whether there is a single block in the area which does not contain detrimental racial elements and there are very few districts which are not hopelessly heterogeneous. 35 The racism deployed to justify destruction in Boyle Heights was also used to enable the abuse and denigration of “unfavorable” neighborhoods in Watts. Black residents in the Avalon section of South Central felt the effects of environmental racism as industry garnered postwar tax incentives for moving into “undesirable” areas. It was not uncommon to find “pockets of their neighborhood littered with industrial debris and

saturated by industrial liquid runoff.”36 By 1960, Black neighborhoods in South Los Angeles had coalesced into a nearly forty-square-mile ghetto with few jobs, a poor mass transit system, limited highway access, inadequate schools, a perpetually repressive police presence, and little public housing. 37 It would become, five years later in 1965, a uniquely appropriate staging area from which to articulate long-standing and legitimate Black grievances when the Watts Riot erupted. African Americans and Mexican Americans achieved broader geographical opportunities for housing and employment in the postwar era. Both groups subsequently experienced a modicum of progress in integration and employment. Yet at the spatial level, African Americans and Mexican Americans witnessed pointed and devastating disregard for their communities, even as they gained access to previously restricted blocks and neighborhoods. The important scholarship of Philip J. Ethington helps us understand this seeming contradiction between residential expansion and pervasive spatial denigration. Ethington reveals a dramatic expansion of the physical boundaries of segregated Black and Latino communities in LA during this period. Slum clearance projects, the construction of freeways, and the building of new business districts, convention centers, and sports arenas financed by public and private capital destroyed neighborhoods inhabited by Blacks and Mexican Americans. The displaced residents of these areas pushed into new territory on the borders of ghettos and barrios. Ethington demonstrates that despite the dramatic growth of numerical diversity in Los Angeles County in the postwar era, whites became increasingly spatially separated from non-whites, “barricaded behind walls of wealth in municipal spaces far away from the center of the metropolis.” Further, Ethington reveals that official segregation between 1940 and 1965 concentrated opportunities and rewards in the fastest-growing and most desirable outlying areas (especially along the Pacific Coast) for whites only. 38 Notably, the eligibility for white racial classification was becoming more refined in this historical moment. Following historian Matthew Jacobson, George Sánchez’s history of Jews in Boyle Heights grounds the geographic transformation of the area in “a changing ideology of race and a growing lack of tolerance for social mixing” throughout the 1930s and 1940s. As new racial ideologies were busy “creating Caucasians” (whereas before, Jacobson argues, there had been “so many Celts, Hebrews, Teutons, Mediterraneans, and Slavs”), “Jewish placement on one side or the other of the line between Caucasian and non-Caucasian was critical in defining the boundaries of this newly important division in American life.”39 The departure of Jews from Boyle Heights in large numbers resulting from the

construction of the Golden Gate Freeway evidenced part of a complex transformation in the practical meaning of Whiteness and the ideological dimensions of racialization. Old and new areas of Black and Brown settlement were under consistent attack by city and federal policies. Movement to new neighborhoods did not end the confinement and containment of Blacks and Browns. The challenge facing aggrieved racial groups was not simply to acquire new spaces for settlement, but to challenge the logic of racialized space itself—to transform spaces of surveillance, exploitation, and marginalization into sites of solidarity and self-activity. They developed strategies of spatial entitlement to create new possibilities in the spaces that were open to them and to hold open the potential to reach across spaces and make new affiliations, identifications, and alliances. When faced with relentless containment and serial eviction, the enactment and creation of meaningful spaces is a radical affirmation of the right to exist, to take up space, and to make new spaces of freedom. One need only peruse the national record to see the number of ways federal legislation conspires to destroy possibilities of spatial freedom. The racialization of loan and mortgage restrictions promoted almost insurmountable impediments to securing home mortgage loans for Blacks and Latinos. The Federal Housing Administration thwarted universal access to the subsidies provided to home buyers by the Federal Housing Act of 1934 through the use of overtly racist categories in secret city surveys and appraisers’ manuals. This channeled money away from communities of color and toward whites, who could in turn secure the assets that build trans-generational wealth. In St. Louis, the “mostly white St. Louis County secured nearly five times as many FHA [Federal Housing Administration] mortgages as the more racially mixed city of St. Louis. Home buyers in the county received six times as much loan money and enjoyed per capita mortgage spending 6.3 times greater than those in the city.”40 In Los Angeles, FHA appraisers denied loans to prospective home buyers in racially mixed Boyle Heights not only to defeat prospective home buyers of color but also to repress the interracial demographic that distinguished it from other communities. The refusal to grant loans to potential homebuyers of color coincided with federal and state housing initiatives that encouraged the construction of low-rent housing projects under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Los Angeles received $25 million for public housing, with the directive to establish a housing authority to survey the city for “slums,” raze those areas, and build affordable public housing in their stead. 41 Thus, while whites received subsidies to acquire assets that appreciate in value and can be passed down across generations,

African Americans and Mexican Americans received only access to meanstested public housing in segregated areas. Mayor Fletcher Bowron, a “New Deal Republican,” supported public housing, despite multilevel opposition from officials in city government that stalled the construction of housing projects. Yet, concerned with tarnishing Los Angeles’ image as a “near paradise,” eventually city officials reluctantly set about proving that the city was in need of federal funding for a public housing program. A key means of securing the legitimacy Bowron needed to establish public housing was provided by the LA health department, which not only produced a survey estimating that a third of the population was “living in unsanitary and unsafe quarters” but also helped define which areas of the city should be deemed “slums.”42 Natalia Molina writes: Health officials called attention to areas such as Belvedere and Maravilla as locations with “a most serious need [for] proper slum clearance through a government project” . . . [stating] unequivocally that “poor housing and overcrowded conditions among Mexican residents of Los Angeles result in a high rate of tuberculosis.”43 The Los Angeles City Housing Commission made official observations in surveys throughout the 1910s and 1920s that linked physical living conditions to social behavior. Surveys reported that unsanitary housing arrangements could produce “moral degeneracy,” that cultural preferences (rather than Anglo discrimination) led Mexicans to live in inferior housing, and that disease is to be expected among Mexicans. These early public statements linking race and space, Molina argues, served as the foundation for defining slums in the 1930s. 44 Like the evidence uncovered by Samuel Roberts about Baltimore and Nayan Shah about San Francisco, public health policies helped define people with problems as problems, attributing the poor health that came from segregated housing to the bodily practices of the slum dwellers themselves rather than to the health hazards presented by cramped, crowded, unsafe, and unsanitary dwellings. This logic enabled municipal officials to see the need for new housing for communities of color, but to envision those dwellings as housing of last resort for minorities only. In the process, the consequences of racial segregation were used as a rationale for continuing it. 45 As disease defined one dimension of racialized space, punitive policing defined another. An alignment of conservative politicians, corporate executives, and moral pundits in Los Angeles gave rise to the appointment of William H. Parker as chief of police in 1950 and the election of Norris

Poulson as mayor in 1953. Both Parker and Poulson were powerfully committed to segregated social and residential spaces. Chief Parker was a World War II veteran who had trained police in Germany after the war, an experience that came to symbolize his approach to the policing and subjugation of Black LA as if, one historian has observed, “it were an alien community during wartime.”46 More than any of his predecessors, he crusaded against race mixing and “inner-city vice,” using inflated crime statistics to support police persecution of youth who congregated in interracial venues. 47 The socially conservative agendas of Poulson and Parker sanctioned white entitlement and awarded its beneficiaries with tremendous power, which echoed national patterns of entitlement and exclusion.

CHAVEZ RAVINE The case of Chavez Ravine is emblematic of the terrible spatial damage inflicted upon the Mexican community in this era. In 1957, 7,500 mostly Mexican families were evicted from the 300-acre community. Long earmarked as a prime location for postwar redevelopment, the city of Los Angeles seized Chavez Ravine by eminent domain, destroying the previously self-sufficient community in order to make way for the proposed Elysian Park Heights housing project. Many of the residents were forcibly removed by the LAPD: Mrs. Avrana Arechiga, a sixty-eight-year-old resident, “was carried kicking and screaming from her premises.”48 By 1952, most of the houses were gone; some were even set on fire by the local fire department, whose officers used Chavez Ravine as a practice site. Eventually, the entire area (including underground oil rights and overhead air rights) was given to Walter O’Malley, who owned the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team, as an inducement for him to move the franchise to Los Angeles. In the time between the designation of this community for the construction of housing projects in 1951 and its surrender to O’Malley, Norris Poulson secured election over incumbent Mayor Bowron by promising to end support for “un-American” housing projects. The Chandler family, who owned the Los Angeles Times and supported the handover of Chavez Ravine to O’Malley, were key funders for Poulson’s campaign and supporters of his administration. 49 The city began clearing the land to build Dodger Stadium, and removed the last resisting families from Chavez Ravine in the summer of 1959. It would take three generations for just a fraction of the displaced families to regain a comparable economic level. 50

FIGURE 6. Plea to Mayor Norris Poulson from Chavez Ravine Residents, 1953.

What does it mean for a community to need three generations to achieve a fraction of economic recovery? Understanding the difference between net worth and net financial assets allows us to suitably grasp the answer. Net financial assets can produce money that is readily available for expenditures or emergencies. Assets—home equity, pension funds, savings accounts, and investments—are reflected in the control of the financial resources that provide freedom to create opportunities and the power to maintain quality of life. 51 In the case of Chavez Ravine and its inhabitants, urban renewal demolished not only the assets that ensure collective success but also the spaces of congregation that inspire it. The planned destruction of Chavez Ravine and the socioeconomic victimization of its inhabitants is commensurate with what Lipsitz has called the “white spatial imaginary,” which: deploys contract law and deed restrictions to channel amenities and advantages to places designated as white. It makes the augmentation and concentration of private wealth the central purpose of public

association. It promotes policies that produce sprawl, waste resources, and generate enormous social costs in order to enable some property owners to become wealthier than others. It produces a society saturated with hostile privatism and defensive localism through secret subsidies for exclusive and homogeneous housing developments premised on promoting the security and profitability of private property regardless of the larger social costs to society. 52

FIGURE 7. Eviction in Chavez Ravine.

Episodes like the confiscation of Chavez Ravine are part of an overwhelming universal strategy for class and racial advantage. In his critical history of Blacks in theater and film, Cedric Robinson renders visible the incompatibility of racial regimes with discoverable history,

noting that racial regimes are unrelentingly hostile to their exhibition. Here, I consider space in similar terms. Spaces, too, possess history, particularly when they are deployed in the service of white supremacy. In such cases, they are likewise often hostile to their own visibility. It is possible to see that spaces can often be “contrivances,” designed and delegated by “interested cultural and social powers with the where-withal sufficient to commission their imaginings, manufacture, and maintenance.”53 Indeed, the use of space to support racial hierarchies has a long history, one which has been commissioned to appear as a natural historical progression (not unlike the doctrine of manifest destiny): We are asked to believe, for example, that white monopolies on social, residential, and commercial spaces have had no correlation to the intent to advance privatization, market “discipline,” and “law and order” policies all rooted in a history of racism. 54 The arrangement of space has been one of the most important ways to distribute and hinder opportunity along racial lines. 55 We might likewise understand the temporary spatial entitlements claimed by Black–Brown solidarities and infrapolitical struggles as contrivances—though in the service of empowerment at particular moments and in particular contexts. The social interactions and ideological conceptions that inspire horizontal relationships, as examined here, are more than just trans-local and are never only responding to oppression: they are contradictory and have uneven results. Nonetheless, in Los Angeles, interracial congregation in segregated environments created what sociologist Earl Lewis has identified as “more space than power.” Few whites discerned that segregation unwittingly vested excluded minorities with the power to redefine aspects of their own existence. 56 Using space to reconstitute individual and collective subjectivities in terms that are grounded in the histories and identities of aggrieved communities requires a critical engagement with the power of imagination as social practice. Arjun Appadurai argues that understanding imagination as more than fantasy, escape, or pastime directs us to seeing the ways in which it has become “an organized field of social practices, [and] a form of work.”57 This has the power to enact “the conversion of wish into politics.”58 The social practice of imagination occurs in common spheres of congregation, which can be crucial sites of discourse among community members, where private interests are set aside and practical democracies are enacted in order to determine collective good. 59 Scholars of workingclass resistance have argued that “subaltern counterpublics” are sites where oppressed groups assert their humanity and refine their articulated

opposition to dominant discourses about citizenship and social membership. 60 Scholarship on Black public spheres delineates “vernacular practices of street talk and new musics, radio shows and church voices, entrepreneurship and circulation” as fundamental practices contributing to space-making. The public sphere enacted by Black and Brown youth in Los Angeles in this era constituted a “critical practice and a visionary politics, a challenge to the exclusionary violence of much public space in the U.S.”61 The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, the eviction of whole communities from long-standing vibrant neighborhoods, the relocation of Japanese citizens during WWII, the police repression of interracial spaces, and the systematic segregation facilitated by federal mishandling of the Federal Housing Act were enduring reminders that public spaces were, at best, contested terrain. Though segregated Black and Latino communities in LA during this period were expanding, the symbolic place of these groups in postwar Los Angeles was diminishing. Therefore, claiming and enacting social space, both material and symbolic, was an important measure of the limits and possibilities of social membership. One of the aspects most powerfully redefined by displaced communities in this period was the terms of social citizenship. Though citizenship has long been determined through legal means, local institutions and policies traditionally govern access to social membership. Denied access to basic housing, educational, and vocational rights, repressed communities relied upon alternative routes to becoming American. This was often achieved as much through horizontal relationships of culture and community as through attempted assimilation into mainstream society. Therefore, when the decimation of neighborhoods and the loss of leisure spaces could not be regained in physical space, people from disenfranchised groups claimed the kinds of spaces that were available to them, and in those spaces often created important democratic and egalitarian visions and practices. This did not translate, usually, into permanent spaces. But spatial claims could manifest in temporary locations that announced the relevance and rights of Black and Brown people on the landscape of postwar Los Angeles. In the following sections I explore several ways in which spatial entitlement was deployed by Black and Brown youth from the 1950s to the late 1960s. Sonic and spatial articulations in this era refer to the transformation of the ways in which people moved themselves through space, shaped the spaces where they congregated, and asserted their entitlements with the cultural currency they created. Spatial displacement in Los Angeles provoked social responses in the form of community mobilizations against urban renewal and mass displacement. These struggles of spatial entitlement also set the stage for the production of new

sounds and the generation of new forms of sonic relations and politics. Enacted entitlements of space took place on Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, where Chicano cruisers congregated in a neighborhood that was once theirs; at an A&W drive-in among Black, Brown, and white car club members; and in El Monte and Pacoima, where music revues attracted interracial audiences outside city limits, where they were relatively free of police harassment. In all of these instances, spatial claims created a critical sonic narrative, and the development of radio technology became a key conduit for its circulation. 62 This is why Dolphin’s of Hollywood is central to our understanding of the sonic politics of postwar interracialism and why the history of radio in Black and Brown communities in LA is central to spatial entitlement.

RADIO Mainstream radio became important in the dispersion of Afro–Chicano cultural forms after WWII, but African-American and Chicano radio had its own early history. In the mid-1920s, Isaac McVea hosted what may have been the first Black radio show in Los Angeles. Federico Arturo “Tito” Guizar Tolentino, called “Mr. Amigo” on the air, was one of the growing number of legendary Mexican artists who had crossed the border to Los Angeles. Later, Mexican immigrants such as Jorge Negrete, Pedro Vargas, and Pedro Infante capitalized on the growing market for Spanish-language music by appearing on Guizar’s CBS radio show in LA in 1936. Mr. Amigo’s radio show was a success for Latino music. His live guitar accompaniment of mariachi songs made major hits out of songs familiar to Mexicans on both sides of the border. One of the earliest Black-owned record labels in the early 1920s was that of the Spikes Brothers, who began a tradition of Black musical entrepreneurs that continued with the Rene Brothers, Al Patrick, Jack Lauderdale, Dootsie Williams, and John Dolphin. Louis Armstrong and Kid Ory made some of their first recordings in Los Angeles. In 1942, the first recognized R&B hit, Lionel Hampton’s “Flying Home,” was recorded by mostly Los Angeles musicians. In subsequent years, Los Angeles became the literal and/or recording home to R&B musicians such as T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, and B.B. King. During the Depression years, radio became the central discursive medium in American society. By 1935, two out of three homes had radios. Four national and twenty regional networks provided programs everywhere in the country 24 hours a day. As wartime controls on manufacturing and broadcasting were removed, the postwar radio

business expanded significantly. Advertising agencies shifted money from newspapers to radio as public trust grew stronger in the industry. The number of AM stations on the air increased from 961 in 1946 to 2006 in 1949. 63 The sonic spatial politics of radio had unique importance for the dispersion of Black and Chicano cultural forms in LA. Mainstream radio in LA was developed to reach not only the busy Central Avenue club circuit but also the suburbs and, even further, the communities of farm workers in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. The metropolis’s physical sprawl over hundreds of square miles meant that for many music listeners driving to places like the Zenda Ballroom on 7th Street near Figueroa and Broadway (where Perez Prado and Tito Puente performed) or the Club Alabam at 42nd Street and Central Avenue in South Central (where Johnny Otis’s band played) required lengthy travel time, if one had a car. Before the construction of the Los Angeles freeway system in the 1950s, traveling musicians would find that the existing “motorway” did not reach scattered farms and small towns like Orange County’s El Toro Air Station and the Laguna Beach Colony. 64 Local African-American musicians could take work outside of their own tightly restricted districts, but audiences of color were often barred from attending theaters and clubs in other parts of the city. Unless nationally famous touring bands or developing local players appeared in Central Avenue venues, African-American audiences could hear them only on live nightly radio broadcasts from white-only clubs. But an entertainer could build an audience everywhere with radio. 65 In February 1949, Lionel “Chico” Sesma, a trained musician and trombonist who played with many big bands early in his career, began broadcasting a bilingual half-hour program from KOWL at the foot of Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. KOWL was an independent station that was primarily interested in “specialized radio programming: disc jockeys, or personalities, staging a program designed for a special segment of the community.”66 After the war, as Mexican immigrants settled permanently in communities throughout Southern California; what was intended to be a thirty-minute, short-term bilingual program of both popular music and a few Latin records aimed at this new community turned into a three-hour broadcast by the second year. Sesma became a dominant radio personality in Los Angeles and a producer of Latin music and concerts featuring major contemporary artists during the 1950s and through the 1970s. By late 1949, Chico Sesma realized that changing demographics meant changing playlists. He found that rancheras, mariachis, and boleros were in high demand from the Mexican-American community. Rubén Guevara demonstrates how the romantic bolero trio ballads that Sesma played and

Chicano youngsters grew up on, such as “Sin Ti,” and “Sabor a mi,” by vocal groups like Los Tres Aces and Trio Los Panchos, and rancheras like “Tu Solo Tu” and “Volver Volver,” prepared listeners “for the precise harmonies of doo-wop and more soulful ballads” that would emerge as the post-WWII Black population continued to flow into Los Angeles. 67 This migration created a market for R&B, which was still called “race music” in the 1940s. Black migration would influence Mexican-American life in many ways, but “for Chicanos this influence lay particularly deep in music: Mexican rhythms syncopated with Blues and ghetto beats.”68 The families of resemblance that listeners to boleros and rancheras could discern in doo-wop and soul ballads accented in discursive space the affinities between similar, although not identical, experiences with racialized physical space among Mexican Americans and African Americans. The music punctuated and accented unexpected affinities and moments of mutual recognition stemming from residential segregation, police brutality, employment discrimination, and inadequate schools. A repertoire of “spatial” sonic production practices, musical and nonmusical, emerged from Black and Brown producers, promoters, and artists in the local music industry. These practices soon became available for rock ’n’ roll and R&B artists and producers by the late 1940s and 1950s and were easily reproducible by anyone with basic magnetic tape-recording equipment. 69 White-owned radio stations and record-distribution companies and white radio personalities in postwar LA built their successes on the cultural politics generated by the multiracial frameworks and musical forms they encountered. One of the first and most enduring radio personalities to profit from these multiracial sonic and spatial cultural forms was Hunter Hancock. As I will show later in this chapter, Dick Hugg and Art Laboe followed suit. Hunter Hancock, a contemporary of Dick Hugg and later an employee of Dolphin’s, was hired in 1943 as the weekend DJ by Los Angeles radio station KFVD on Western Avenue in South Central Los Angeles. In April, KFVD decided to test its appeal to the African-American community by directing Hancock to play jazz. The one-hour show on Sundays, called “Harlem Holiday,” became modestly popular among African Americans. In 1947, the station expanded the show to a daily half-hour and called it “Harlematinee.” Hancock began playing jazz on this show as well, but within a few days, a salesman from Modern Records came to see him, “You’re playing the wrong records,” he admonished. He instructed the DJ to play “race” records. Hancock recalls: I didn’t know what race records were, but he gave me a list of what

records were selling to blacks in the South. I didn’t recognize any of them. But I was so impressed by his material that I took a chance and played two of his records that afternoon. Almost instantly, other local distributors showed up at the studio with other race records, and by the end of the following week my show was 100% race music. Nowadays we call it rhythm and blues. 70 According to one 1954 survey, one out of four black households was tuned to “Harlemmatinee” between 1 and 4 o’clock in the afternoons. 71 The station began selling so many commercials that they were obliged to add another half-hour, then yet another hour, until Hancock was on the air for three-and-a-half hours every day, Monday through Saturday, as well as broadcasting his jazz show, “Harlem Holiday,” on Sundays. Hunter Hancock expanded his enterprise by collaborating with other disc jockeys, club owners, and entertainers to host talent shows at various clubs and Black theaters around town. He also hosted a series of “Midnight Matinee” shows in 1951, first at the Olympic Auditorium and then at the Orpheum Theater downtown on Broadway. He observed that “by that time my audience was not just blacks. Whites and Chicanos were also listening to ‘Harlemmatinee’ and coming to my live shows.”72 Police harassment of young people in interracial leisure spaces eventually compelled Hancock and his contemporaries, Art Laboe and Dick Hugg, to book acts with promoters outside the LA city limits to avoid the juridical authority of Parker’s policies. Art Laboe once boasted that “white kids from Beverly Hills, Black kids from Compton, and local Chicano kids used to come out to our shows every weekend.”73 These revues created lucrative interracial spaces for promoters and record industry executives. Shows featuring tenor sax honker Big Jay McNeely brought what music writer Johnny Whiteside describes as “wild crowds of Black kids, drapeshape Pachucos and white teenagers [who] were all going nuts at Big Jay’s shows at the Shrine and Olympic auditoriums,” which led to a ban on McNeely’s performances in most of Los Angeles County. 74 Local papers described “thousands of white kids dancing like Watusis” at the Rendezvous Ballroom, located outside LA limits in Balboa. 75 Ebony Magazine reported in 1953 that: A young white lad got so hepped up over Big Jay’s music that he jumped out of a balcony onto the main floor where he miraculously landed without hurting himself and went into a riotous dance. In Redondo Beach . . . last summer, a teen-aged white girl was sent into raging hysterics by the violent sounds of Big Jay’s horn. She did not recover

her balance until her boyfriend had slapped her face vigorously about a dozen times. 76 Eventually, Hancock hosted a television show on KCBS called “Rhythm & Bluesville.” His guests included Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Platters, Richard Berry, and Gene & Eunice, all national hitmakers. But it was a group of local teenagers Hancock hosted—a doo-wop vocal group called The Jaguars—that embodied a particularly important dimension of sonic and spatial politics in the 1950s. The performances and recorded music by the Jaguars reveal how interracial sensibilities reflected in the postwar soundtrack of sonic spatial claims became a particular target of censure. Val Poliuto emphasizes that the unusual interracial makeup of the group distinguished the band as an atypical ensemble. The Jaguars were originally called The Miracles, he says, because “we were so different, it was a miracle we ever got together.”77 The group met in 1957 at Fremont High School, one of the first public schools to integrate its classrooms before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decision in 1954. Located at 76th Street and San Pedro Boulevard, it was among the most integrated schools in Los Angeles at that time. 78 Within a few months, The Miracles renamed themselves The Jaguars. Both lead vocalist Herman “Sonny” Chaney and bass vocalist Charles Middleton were AfricanAmerican, baritone Manuel “Manny” Chavez was Mexican-American, and second tenor Valerio “Val” Poliuto was Italian-American.

FIGURE 8. The Jaguars appear on Hunter Hancock’s television show, “Rhythm & Bluesville.”

The Jaguars blended the spirit and style of traditional pop music, but also added a distinctive rock edge. The group began recording for John Dolphin on his label in 1955 and soon moved on to the Aardell label, where in 1956 they found success with their third single, a doo-wop remake of the Jerome Kern standard “The Way You Look Tonight.” While it was a top seller throughout Southern California at the time, Chaney later remarked, “we never saw a dime from that disc.”79 In 1959, The Jaguars had a minor hit with freelance vocalists Tony Allen and Richard Berry (who wrote the original “Louie Louie” which was later covered by the Kingsmen), singing “Thinking of You” on the Original Sound label. These artists helped to establish a cultural and sociopolitical identity that was a product of Black–Chicano musical sounds. Integrated vocal groups like The Jaguars, The Mixtures, and The Crests found that while they personified the racial reality of postwar interracial neighborhoods and listenership, this same characteristic could severely limit the promotion and distribution of their music. Poliuto recalls: [Radio disc jockeys] would ask us “Well what are you singing? Are you

singing pop music [popular doo-wop ballad-style] or something else?” The thing about it was that Sonny, Manny, Charles, and I listened to all kinda music. And we just didn’t sing in a category. In other words we didn’t always sound like the same group. Were they white or were they black? That was our biggest problem. 80 Despite their “problem,” the Jaguars remained (locally) popular, appearing on Hunter Hancock’s KCBS television show “Rhythm & Bluesville” to critical acclaim. 81 Yet while that performance was a success, it never led to the kind of commercial reward and national reputation that characterized the experiences of “single-race” doo-wop groups from Los Angeles. Poliuto explains that sounds flowing from the struggles of spatial entitlement by Black and Brown people in Los Angeles did not necessarily travel well to the rest of the nation. He remembers: Because we were a mixed group, we didn’t sound like all white and we didn’t sound all soul. . . . And so consequently when we’d go to one [radio] station, they’d say “Well, what are you guys?” and one guy said, when he heard the arrangement of “Thinking of You,” he said “well I thought you guys were all Black.” No! I sang the lead. If my voice is in there with Manuel’s voice . . . he’s gonna have a different inflection. Putting it all together, we couldn’t get played on a lot of stations simply because when we went to perform one guy would say, “Well gee I thought they were Black” and another guy would say, “Well gee I thought they were white.”82 Nationwide, the radio industry was part of the larger system of racism in the arts. As radio historian Phyllis Stark observed, “radio continued well into the forties to follow ‘rules’ that ‘a Negro cannot be represented in any drama except in the role of a servant or as an ignorant or comical person’ and that ‘the role of the American Negro in the war effort cannot be mentioned in a sponsored program.’”83 In Los Angeles, however, a growing Black and Chicano audience would demand a different strategy. Hancock cohosted his mid-1950s Harlemmatinee show on KPOP with a Black woman, Margie Williams. Williams’s husband was lead singer Tony Williams of the Platters, a group who also had their beginnings at Fremont High School. Radio and television enacted the imperatives of consensus culture by targeting middle-class suburbs as ideal sites for consumption. They worked to attract suburban audiences and to sell products to them. In the postwar period, business executives waged a fight for authority not just in the

factories, but for “power over the reception, uses, and effects of new forms of commercialized leisure.” This process functioned as “a powerful agent for the nationalization and homogenization of U.S. culture. In this campaign, business executives interested in installment buying, community planners interested in residential segregation, and radio executives interested in the power of advertising money” rarely promoted anything that did not fit the national project of a uniform citizenry. 84 Reacting to the creative articulations of social membership enacted by multiracial congregations, local politicians, and municipal arts administrators created a Bureau of Music in order to encourage patriotic citizenship, prevent juvenile delinquency, and promote acceptable music. 85 But it was too late. The Blendells, Willie G, The Soul-Jers, The Jaguars, Joe Liggins, Don Tosti, The Premiers, Johnny Otis, and many others had already created a soundtrack of sonic spatial claims concomitant with the articulation of other forms of spatial entitlement. What resulted were new visions of social membership among working-class people, whose basic citizenship rights were relentlessly compromised by the repression of working-class coalitional politics and the growth of white suburbia. This sonic legacy—and social reality—echoed in the ways that youth culture enacted spatial entitlements, for example on Whittier Boulevard after the invasion of freeways destroyed many of the multiracial neighborhoods, as I have previously discussed. Part of the tangible Whittier Boulevard lay at the epicenter of the five-freeway evisceration of Boyle Heights. Just as the Avalon area in South Los Angeles suffered from the invasion of industry, Whittier Boulevard was targeted for retail development under urban renewal. Merchants were now “insiders” and Mexican Americans were “outsiders,” even though the latter community had inhabited the area for generations. Because retailers had built their shops close to the road and flooded the area with light to attract afterwork shoppers, however, they unwittingly created an ideal cruising environment. Cruising was a radical departure from what postwar consensus cultures intended for car owners. The soundtrack of sonic spatial claims was made uniquely popular in the 1950s and 1960s through the integration of radio technology and car culture. But the geospatial facets of these elements made this message something even more significant. By 1949, 6 million autos had car radios. In 1951 alone, 5 million automobile radio sets and over 13 million radio receivers were sold; in 1954, the first all-transistor commercially produced automobile radio appeared. 86 The mass commodification of Black popular forms was due in large part to the growth in use of portable radios. Cars with transistor radios had an

enormous impact on where music was heard. They transformed radio entertainment from a family-centered activity to a more personal and dispersed listening experience. 87 The new mobility of radios in the 1950s contributed to spatial articulations of social entitlement, through the transport and transmission of sounds and their attendant sensibilities to diverse spaces. A complex history brought the pervasive presence of car radios in Los Angeles into existence in the 1950s. Not even two decades had passed since the first car radio had become standard equipment. The first car radios were not available from carmakers, but had to be purchased separately by the consumer. The road and the radio met for the first time in the 1920s when an entrepreneur named William Lear invented the car radio. Having no money to produce his invention (a problem exclusive to Lear’s early career: he later invented the Lear jet), he sold the idea to Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. Combining the idea of motion and radio, Galvin coined the name “Motorola” for the company’s new products. By 1930, another radio company named Philco was negotiating contracts with the Ford Motor Company to supply them with car radios. Philco introduced the first telescopic rod antenna in 1934, which replaced the running-board antenna. In subsequent years they developed the process of ignition suppression, circuitry, and electrical components. It wasn’t until 1940, however, that the company developed and introduced the first car radio in the world. In 1941 Ford implemented push-button permeability tuning to replace capacitive tuning. The first commercial use of miniature tubes and search-tune radios appeared in 1948, and the first all-transistor commercially produced car radio emerged in 1954. Tom Page, planning manager for new Ford vehicles in the early 1950s, was the first to place transistors into car radios. While planning the 1954 Thunderbird (a car successful in getting attention, but not very successful in making money), Ford bought radios from Motorola until a Motorola salesman suggested a switch to transistor radios for their longevity. Consequently, the 1954 Ford and Thunderbird and 1955 Lincoln and Mercury were the first American vehicles with a 1-year radio warranty, phenomenal in the industry. 88 These developments would make the car an integral part of youth culture in Los Angeles. The Ford Company in particular took advantage of the increased spending power and technical skills of African Americans in the postwar era. Identifying Blacks as a major market, they advertised specifically to that segment of the population by promoting the fair hiring practices of an integrated Ford repair shop: “[we] maintain no job race lines,” an advertisement declared, and “always point to our open door hiring policy

which has helped build the business into the largest among 6,630 Ford dealers around the world.”89 Interestingly, and by contrast, most of the cars visible in the barrios were second-hand Chevrolets, which were more stylish, less expensive, and easier to repair than Fords. The eradication of trolley cars, the movement of industries into outlying suburbs, and the prominence of automobile ownership in popular perceptions of the American Dream all contributed to the importance of owning a car in the postwar era. In the purchase of older cars bought cheaply or inherited, then customized to the owner’s satisfaction, we find the roots of streetcar culture, cruising, and later, lowriding. These developments would make the car an integral part of youth culture in Los Angeles. Stylish and often ostentatious pronouncements about social position and aspirations took on a spatial dimension in locations like Whittier Boulevard, and A&W and movie drive-ins, articulating physical and figurative entitlement in commercial spaces once populated by Black and Brown residences. 90 “Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midniters is a cogent example of this kind of spatial reclamation in the postwar era. The sonic manipulations of “Whittier Boulevard” allowed listeners to engage and interact with spatial claims in ways that inspired the formation of new kinds of communities—an experience made infinitely more possible through the integration of radio technology and car culture. 91 Moreover, the particular sonic contours offered by Thee Midniters, in the blending of instruments and voices particular to Whittier Boulevard, reflects collective and social traditions among excluded communities. In this way, the democratization of sound endorses the democratization of society. 92 In his history of echo and reverberation in popular recordings, Peter Doyle reveals how sonic manipulations developed in 1940s popular recordings used reverb effects to set up “pictorial” spaces. Echo and reverb in blues, country, and rockabilly recordings made it seem as though the music was “coming from a somewhere—from inside an enclosed architectural or natural space or ‘out of’ a specific geographical location— and this ‘somewhere’ was often semiotically highly volatile.” Further, he argues that sonic manipulations have an “inexhaustible ability” to remake space. Sonic spatial claims articulated through gritos at the introduction of “Whittier Boulevard,” announce the relevance of Mexican traditions, history, and persons on the literal boulevard and the figurative landscape of postwar LA. 93 In the midst of devastating losses of wealth and space among aggrieved communities in the postwar era, sonic articulations may seem like a poor substitute for fair housing, employment, and education. But they were an effective register of displacement and dispossession and

an assertion of the determination to refuse an unlivable destiny. Thee Midniters, like many of their contemporaries, offered a soundtrack of sonic entitlement that, even if fleeting, anticipated a potential emancipatory reality. Aggressive surveillance and policing made actual gritos on the street Whittier Boulevard after 1959 largely wishful thinking, at least as sanctioned expression. But the gritos in the song “Whittier Boulevard” reimagined the spaces intended by city planners to be beyond the grasp of Mexican youth. As many activists, artists, and theorists have opined, a utopian imagination can be a necessary component of social change. 94 As I argued earlier, the success of Art Laboe, and to a greater extent Huggy Boy, came from the interracial spatial politics that characterized the Mexican-American/Chicano musical experience in Los Angeles. Hugg became popular by playing Black music to Chicano audiences, starting with his first job as a theater manager on Whittier Boulevard in the early 1950s and subsequently in his first radio job broadcasting from a drive-in in the same area. When British groups changed listener demands and sensibilities in the mid-1960s, Hugg nearly lost his place in broadcasting, having been so closely identified with Black R&B artists from Los Angeles. It was Chicano teenagers that “saved Hugg from oblivion, or at least early retirement.”95 Eddie Torres, manager of Thee Midniters, invited Hugg to emcee for the band’s shows, and Hugg began touring with them in 1965, playing their records when he broadcast from his one remaining show at Flash Records on Jefferson and Western. His popularity renewed and ensured by Chicano bands and audiences, Hugg “worked the East Side after 1965 as hard or harder than he worked South Central in the 1950s.”96 Unfortunately, the police had a similar work ethic in these areas. They also “worked” the East Side after 1965, much as they had repressed the interracial leisure spaces of South Los Angeles in the 1950s. The LAPD maintained a steady repression of interracial congregation on Central Avenue. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office provided heavy policing to “protect” the merchants on Whittier Boulevard and other areas where car culture proliferated and threatened to clog up streets designed for shopping by seizing them as sites for festive display and social congregation. In light of this repression, one of Hugg’s signature traditions takes on particular spatial significance. When he played Thee Midniters’ “Whittier Boulevard,” Hugg spoke “over the music, listing landmarks as he [took] the listener on a guided tour of the Boulevard, as only someone who knows East LA could.”97 Hugg’s “tour” represented figurative geospatial reclamation by grounding landmarks within the subculture created by

Chicano youth, artists, and activists. Hugg followed a form of interpellation that Keta Miranda has argued occurs for the band’s Chicano fans: “as the band members shout, ‘Let’s take a trip down Whittier Boulevard,’ [they] acknowledge the very street Mexican American youth have appropriated. . . . Immediately following, a single strident voice shrieks out, ‘Arriba! Arriba!’” Miranda argues that this utterance “disidentifies” Mexicanos from their stereotyped representation in the cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez, whose signature salutation is “Arriba! Arriba!” Following José Esteban Muñoz, she emphasizes the song’s “recognition of the contradictory facet . . . since disidentification negotiates strategies of resistance within the flux of discourse and power . . . transforming the raw material of identification.” As a result, “felt meanings” are summoned in the song’s initial announcement and a collective self emerges in the act of listening, singing, and dance. 98 This collective self is key to what undergirds spatial entitlement: it is from this felt meaning that a new collective identity is formed, one that neither embraces nor rejects a particular racial origin; instead, this collective identity inhabits this origin creatively as it emerges from its constitutive constellations of history and expressive culture and is sustained by its practice among multiracial communities of youth. Those communities may have been impermanent, such as the congregations of multiracial audiences at dance halls. Yet each time they materialized, an articulation of spatial entitlement is made for this collective self. It is significant that Thee Midniters covered so many songs initially recorded by Black artists. This speaks to the shared sonic space of Black and Brown communities and artists in Los Angeles. Given the style of their music, it might be expected to find covers of the Rolling Stones or Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. In the context of the spatial politics I have detailed above, however, there is a sonic sensibility to the fact that Thee Midniters are covering Black artists and adding distinctive gritos and other blended styles that make the songs directly relevant to Brown listenership. “Jump Jive and Harmonize” links the jump blues of Don Tosti to the garage rock sound that is the legacy of Thee Midniters. “Land of a Thousand Dances,” is a fairly straightforward version of the song made popular in a version by Wilson Pickett , but ends with the gritos so familiar to Mexican listening audiences. Thee Midniters also covered “Sad Girl” by the Impressions and Oscar Brown Jr.’s “Brother Where Are You?” Brown was well known for his work with Max Roach on the “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite” album and other civil rights activism through his music. In “Dreaming Casually,” Thee Midniters talk about dreams as a place of hope and escape. They dream of Saturn and Mars, as if outer space might be the

only place their dreams can be realized99: there’s been many times I’ve tried to analyze just what the future’s made of . . . but still the world goes by, and though how hard I try, it keeps leaving me behind. But someday soon I know, we’ll all have to go, so dreaming can’t be that much of a crime “Chicano Power” is largely an instrumental song but has particular significance in the context of Black power. I discuss this song at greater length in Chapter 3. City officials’ containment of interracial congregation on Whittier Boulevard was reflected not only in other geospatial areas but also in representation, licensing, and radio play, as evidenced by The Jaguars’ experience. Before Anthony “Naff” Ortega became a musician on Central Avenue, he was a founding member of The Frantic Five, a Black and Mexican jazz ensemble formed out of the Jordan High School Swing Band. Ortega traveled uptown from his home in Watts to Maple Street on the Watts Local and Big Red streetcars to take saxophone lessons from famed jazz pedagogue Lloyd Reese. He noticed tags on buildings that read, “‘Manuel de la Colonia’ or “Jr. del Watts.” Rather than claim one neighborhood affiliation, Ortega, a Mexican American born and raised in Watts, expanded his purview—and history—to a much broader geographic area: he began tagging “Naff del World.”100 More than a teenage quip, his sensibilities about space reflect the identities that were formed in the context of spatial reclamation of the postwar era. Ortega’s early renunciation of regional and racial categories did not save him from discrimination. Black musicians and Mexican club owners on Central Avenue sometimes excluded him from playing by conveniently assigning racial stereotypes. He recalls, “they figured, well, ‘the guy probably can’t read’ or ‘the guy doesn’t have a very good tone’ or ‘he’s going to be late.’”101 Ortega’s account of Central Avenue culture demonstrates the power and threat of interracial leisure spaces in postwar Los Angeles, but it also illumines the ways in which the intrusion of broad social prejudices and stratifications worked to undermine this tradition. Together, Black and Brown communities and popular collectivities have consistently envisioned futures that include each other’s memories and

histories, even when it wasn’t always a conscious endeavor. As scholars of cultural exchange, resistance, and production, we know that organized social movements were not the only kinds of politics that yielded affirmative results, particularly in moments when there were few options for political expression available to aggrieved groups. These articulations of spatial entitlement, sonic and symbolic, were often articulated in moments when the loss of space meant devastating losses of wealth for communities of color—wealth that was rarely regained, as in the case of Chavez Ravine. Considering the unrelenting efforts to keep Black and Brown people from recognizing their mutual stakes in a just future makes these spatial claims all the more remarkable. There were several unintended consequences of the neighborhood destruction enacted by urban renewal and attendant policies. In postwar Los Angeles, Black and Brown communities forged a politics of interracial solidarity, even when those coalitions were systematically—and often violently—suppressed. These new collectivities were more than just translocal solidarities constituted by dispersal, estrangement, or marginalization. They emerged in the midst of struggles for spatial mobility and entitlement. They represented an epistemological shift that made seemingly powerless minority groups able to see themselves as part of a potentially more powerful eventual majority.

NOTES 1. Quoted in Kovner, Joseph Eli “Resettle Elsewhere, Says Mayor, ‘If You Don’t Want Urban Renewal,’” Eastside Sun, January 8, 1959. 2. Lewis, Earl. In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, Virginia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991, pp. 91–92. 3. Garofalo, Reebee. “Crossing Over” In: Barlow, William and Jeanette Dates (Eds.), Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1990, pp. 26–27. 4. Mabry, Donald J. “The Rise and Fall of Ace Records: A Case Study in the Independent Record Business.” Business History Review 64, no. 3 (Autumn, 1990): 411. 5. Macías, Anthony, F. “Bringing Music to the People: Race, Urban Culture, and Municipal Politics in Postwar Los Angeles” American Quarterly 56, no. 3 (September, 2004): 707–708. 6. Mabry, “The Rise and Fall of Ace Records”, p. 411.

7. Dolphin preferred to pay cash on the spot for songs rather than royalties, and this is the storied reason behind his murder in 1958 by a dissatisfied songwriter. 8. Dawson, Jim. “Liner Notes.” In: Boogie Down on Central: Los Angeles’ Rhythm and Blues Revolution (n.p. Rhino Records 75872, 1999). We will note that Art Laboe, Hunter Hancock, Dick Clark, and other white local jockeys made their success off of Black music and its circulation, many times with neither adequate licensing compensation nor proper credit given to the artists responsible for the sound that made these jockeys famous. 9. “Lovin’ John (Take 2) by Vernon Anders with Monroe Tucker on Toast of the Coast: 1950s R&B From Dolphin’s of Hollywood Ace records LTD CDCHD 1215, 2009. 10. “According to Huggy Boy, his program attracted white listeners from the San Fernando Valley, who would travel 35 miles to Dolphin’s to purchase R&B records. ‘In those days, people who liked rhythm and blues had to go to Black neighborhoods to buy it,’ said Huggy Boy.” Reyes, David, and Tom Waldman, Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock ‘n’ roll from Southern California. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998, pp. 49–50. 11. Ávila, Eric. Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, p. 20. 12. “Leaders Protest Dance Hall Ban.” California Eagle, May 30, 1940; quoted in Macías, pp. 693–717. 13. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. 14. Lipsitz, George. American Studies in a Moment of Danger. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001, pp. 235–269. 15. Ávila has argued that disparate material productions and discursive practices often emerged out of concomitant, though disparate, historical formations in this region. Ávila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight. 16. Ibid. 17. Sides, Josh, L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, p. 6. 18. Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black

Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 56. 19. Kelley, Race Rebels, pp. 8–9 20. Wild, Mark. So Many Children at Once and so Many Kinds: Schools and Ethno-racial Boundaries in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles. Western Historical Quarterly 33, no. 4 (Winter, 2002): 453–476. 21. Raftery, Judith Rosenberg. Land of Fair Promise: Politics and Reform in Los Angeles Schools, 1885–1941. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992, pp. 110–117; Hendrick, Irving G. The Education of Non-Whites in California, 1849–1970. San Francisco: R & E Research Associates, 1977, pp. 70, 93. 22. Bass, Charlotta. Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of a Newspaper. Los Angeles: self-published, 1960, pp. 135–136. 23. On California school segregation, I’m using Gonzalez, Gilbert G. Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation. New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1990; Wollenberg, Charles. All Deliberate Speed: Segregation and Exclusion in California Schools, 1855–1975. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976; Weinberg, Meyer. A Chance to Learn: The History of Race and Education in the United States. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 140–177, and Asian-American Education: Historical Background and Current Realities. Mahwah, NJ: Xxxxx, 1997), pp. 12–73; Herman, David George. “Neighbors on the Golden Mountain: The Americanization of Immigrants in California Public Institutions as an Agency of Ethnic Assimilation, 1850–1933” (PhD dissertation, University of California at Berkeley, 1981), pp. 167–197. 24. Clarence Johnson, interview by R. Donald Brown, Fall 1967, California State University Fullerton Oral History Project, 16; Payne J. Gregory, and Scott C. Ratzan, Tom Bradley: The Impossible Dream. Santa Monica, CA: Roundtable Publishers, 1986, pp. 12–13. Quoted in Wild, “‘So Many Children at Once and So Many Kinds,’” pp. 453–476. 25. Griffith, Beatrice. American Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948, pp. 167, 153. Quoted in Wild, “‘So Many Children at Once,’” pp. 453-476. 26. Sides, L.A. City Limit, p. 6. 27. Bogardus, Emory. The City Boy and His Problems: A Survey of Boys [sic] Life in Los Angeles. Los Angeles: House of Ralston, 1926, p. 42. Quoted in Wild, “‘So Many Children at Once and So Many Kinds,’” pp. 453– 476. 28. Raftery, Land of Fair Promise, p. 179; Clara Gertrude Smith, “The

Development of the Mexican People in the Community of Watts, California” (Master’s thesis, University of Southern California, 1933), p. 119. Quoted in Wild, “‘So Many Children at Once and So Many Kinds,’” pp. XX–XX. 29. Fullilove, Mindy Thompson. Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It. New York: One World/Ballantine Books, 2004. 30. Weiss, Marc. “The Origins and Legacy of Urban Renewal.” In: Clavel, Pierre, John Forrester, and William Goldsmith (Eds.), Urban and Regional Planning in an Age of Austerity. New York: Pergamon Press, 1980, pp. 53–79. 31. Klein, Norman M. The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory. London: Verso: 1997, p. 133. See also, Sides, LA City Limits. 32. Berman, Marshall. All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. New York: Penguin, 1988, p. 165. 33. Sánchez, George. “What’s Good for Boyle Heights Is Good for the Jews: Creating Multiculturalism on the Eastside during the 1950s.” American Quarterly, 56, no. 3 (2004): 633–661. 34. Kovner, Eli. Editorial. The Eastside Sun, Fall, 1957. Quoted in Ávila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight, p. 210. 35. Sánchez, p. 636. Home Owners Loan Corporation City Survey Files, Area D-53, Los Angeles, 1939. Washington, DC: National Archives, p. 7. Also quoted in Lipsitz, George. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990, p. 137. 36. Sides, LA City Limit, p. 113. 37. Abu-Lughod, Janet. Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 38. Ethington, Philip J. “Segregated Diversity: Race-Ethnicity, Space, and Political Fragmentation in Los Angeles County, 1940–1994.” Final Report to the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. Los Angeles: Hayes Foundation. 39. Sánchez, “What’s Good for Boyle Heights,” p. 657. 40. Jackson, Kenneth, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Also quoted in Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White

People Profit from Identity Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006, pp. 5–6; and Sánchez, “What’s Good for Boyle Heights,” pp. 633– 661. 41. Molina, Natalia Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006, p. 166; Ávila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight; Cuff, Dana. The Provisional City: Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and Urbanism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000. 42. “Scotching the ‘Slum’ Story” Los Angeles Times, May 4, 1938, p. A3, and “City Housing Urged,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1938, p. A4, quoted in Molina, Fit to Be Citizens?, p. 167. 43. LACHD/County, AHR, 1937, p. 3; LACHD/County, AHR, 1938–1939, p. 14; quoted in Molina, Fit to Be Citizens?, p. 168. 44. Fuller, Elizabeth. The Mexican Housing Problem in Los Angeles, Studies in Sociology, vol. 5, no. 1. Los Angeles: Southern California Sociological Society, University of Southern California, 1920, pp. 2, 7; California Commission of Immigration and Housing, A Community Survey Made in los Angeles City. San Francisco: Author, 1919, p. 14; quoted in Molina, Fit to be Citizens?, p. 166. 45. Roberts, Samuel. Infectious Fear, Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009; Shah, Nayan. Contagious Divides. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 46. Horne, Gerald. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s. New York: Da Capo Press, 1997, p. 137. 47. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York: Vintage Books, 1992, p. 294. 48. Quoted in “Dodgers Béisbol Is on the Air”: The Development and Impact of the Dodgers Spanish-Language Broadcasts, 1958–1994.” California History 74, no. 3, Mexican Americans in California (Fall, 1995): 280–289. 49. Ávila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight. 50. Baxter, Kevin “Orphans of the Ravine.” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2008. 51. Shapiro, Thomas. The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality. London: Oxford University Press, 2005.

52. Lipsitz, How Racism Takes Place, pp. 28–29. 53. Robinson, Cedric. Forgeries of Memory and Meaning: Blacks and the Regimes of Race in American Theater and Film before World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007, pp. xii–xiii. 54. Duggan, Lisa. The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. 55. John A. Powell, “Structural Racism and Spatial Jim Crow.” In: Robert Bullard (Ed.), The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Power, and Politics of Place. New York: Roman and Littlefi eld, 2007, p. 49. 56. Lewis, In Their Own Interests, pp. 91–92. 57. Appadurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” In: Robbins, Bruce (Ed.), The Phantom Public Sphere. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993, pp. 269–295. 58. Baker, Houston A., Jr., “Critical Memory and the Black Public Sphere.” In: The Black Public Sphere Collective (Eds.), The Black Public Sphere. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995, pp. 5–38. 59. Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, translated by Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989. 60. Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” In: Calhoun, Craig (Ed.), Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997, pp. 109–142. 61. The Black Public Sphere Collective, “Introduction” In: The Black Public Sphere Collective (Eds.), The Black Public Sphere. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. 62. Susan J. Smith has argued that “music [is] a medium through which those whose condition society tries its best not to see can begin to make themselves heard.” Smith, Susan J. “Beyond Geography’s Visible Worlds: A Cultural Politics of Music.” Progress in Human Geography, 21 no. 4 (1997): 502–529. 63. Bannerman, R. LeRoy. Norman Corwin and Radio: The Golden Years. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1986; Sterling Christopher H., and John M. Kittross. Stay Tuned: a Concise History of American Broadcasting (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1990; Stott,

William. Documentary Expression and Thirties America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. 64. See “Motorways Plan Revealed: System of Roads Designed to Cure Traffic Ills.” Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1938; Hise, Greg Magnetic Los Angeles: Planning the Twentieth-Century Metropolis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999; Hall, Peter, Cities in Civilization: Culture, Technology, and Urban Order, New York, Pantheon Books, 1998. 65. As Horne notes, the growing urban working-class and multiethnic nature of the city contributed to a unique social and economic situation, with contradictory inclinations when it came to racial and ethnic discrimination. Other leisure spaces were also segregated, and reflected the patterns of racism characteristic of California in the 20th century: In Pasadena, Blacks were barred from public swimming pools, “but in a uniquely LA twist, so were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, and Mexicans.” Horne, Fire This Time, p. 42. 66. Steve Loza, Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993. 67. Guevara, Rubén View from the Sixth Street Bridge: A History of Chicano Rock. New York: Pantheon, 1984. 68. Rodriguez, Luis J. Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. 69. Doyle, Peter J. Echo and Reverb: Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900–1960. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2005, pp. 1–37. 70. Hancock, Hunter. Huntin’ with Hunter: The Story of the West Coast’s First R&B Disc Jockey! (http://www.electricearl.com/dws/hunter.html). 71. Ibid. 72. Ibid. 73. García, Matt. “‘Memories of El Monte’: Intercultural Dance halls in Post-WWII Greater Los Angeles.” In: Willard Michael Nevin, and Joe Austin (Eds.), Generations of Youth: Youth Culture and History in Twentieth Century America. New York: New York University Press, 1989, p. 161. 74. Whiteside, Jonny. “Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely in 3-D.” LA Weekly, February 4–10, 2000, p. 32.

75. Ibid. 76. “Big Jay McNeely!” Ebony, May 1953. 77. Val Poliuto, interview by author, Ventura, California; December 4, 2001. 78. Parents and students of Fremont High School had not always been open to integration. Bass recalled a mock lynching staged at the school in 1941: “The poster circulated preliminary to the mock lynching stated: ‘We want no niggers in this school. This is a white man’s school. Go to your own school, and leave us to ours. . . . [T]he Eagle editor was on the scene during the entire demonstration, and there was no question in her mind but that the 500 students of Fremont had been encouraged in this hate campaign by their hate-mongering parents.” Bass, Forty Years, pp. 135– 136. 79. Larkin, Colin. “The Jaguars.” In The Encyclopedia of Popular Music IV New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 80. Val Poliuto, interview by author. 81. Hancock, Huntin’ with Hunter. 82. Val Poliuto, interview by author. 83. Stark, Phyllis “A History of Radio Broadcasting.” Billboard Magazine 106, no. 41 (November 1, 1994): 76. 84. Lipsitz, George, A Rainbow at Midnight: Labor and Culture in the 1940s. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994, p. 259. 85. Macías, “Bringing Music to the People,”, pp. 693–717. 86. Electronic Engineering Times 978 (October 30, 1997): 131. 87. Garofalo, “Crossing Over,” pp. 26–27. 88. Rotsky, George. “25th Anniversary-Electronics at the Threshold of the New Millennium.” Electronic Engineering Times (October 30, 1997): 131. 89. Gibbons, Boyd “Ford Repair Shop: Advertising Tells about Colored Personnel.” Ebony 4 (August 1949): 39. 90. Bright, Brenda Jo, and Liza Bakewell (Eds.), Looking High and Looking Low: Art and Cultural Identity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999; Chavoya, C. Ondine. “Customized Hybrids: The Art of Ruben Ortiz Torres and Lowriding in Southern California.” New Centennial Review 4, no. 2 (2004) 141–184; Lipsitz, Time Passages.

91. Doyle, Echo and Reverb. 92. I thank George Lipsitz for this suggestion. 93. Thee Midniters became one of the first rock acts to broadcast political entitlements of Chicanos with songs like “Chicano Power” and “The Ballad of César Chávez.” See Reyes and Waldman, Land of a Thousand Dances. 94. See Susan Buck-Morss’s elucidation of Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk in The Dialectics of Seeing. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, pp. 114–120; Angela McRobbie, “The Passagenwerk and the Place of Walter Benjamin in Cultural Studies.” Postmodernism and Popular Culture New York: Routledge, 1994, 96–120. See also, Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981, p. 285. 95. Reyes and Waldman, Land of a Thousand Dances, p. 50. 96. Reyes and Waldman, Land of a Thousand Dances, p. 50. 97. Reyes and Waldman, Land of a Thousand Dances, pp. 50–51. 98. Marie “Keta” Miranda, “Dancing to ‘Whittier Boulevard’: Choreographing Social Identity.” In: Nájera-Ramírez, Olga, Norma E. Cantú, and Brenda M. Romero (Eds.), Dancing across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009, pp. 73–74; Munoz, José Esteban. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. 99. I thank Marjorie Bryer for her helpful suggestions that I explore Thee Midniters’ covers of Black artists. 100. Isoardi, Steven. “Anthony Ortega” in Central Avenue Sounds TAPE NUMBER: I, Side Two (September 10, 1994). 101. Anthony Ortega, interview by Steven L. Isoardi. Central Avenue sounds oral history transcript, #498. Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles.

CHAPTER 3

Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s) Coalitional Politics in an Age of Violence

Between 1945 and 1970, virtually the entire colonial world demanded and secured political independence; within the space of five years over one and a half billion people in more than 100 national capitals, all colonized, became free. Suddenly, liberation was a more significant force than domination. —Michael Manley1

As brothers in the fight for equality, I extend the hand of fellowship and goodwill . . . to you and your members. Our separate struggles are really one—a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity. —Martin Luther King, in a telegram to Cesar Chávez2

Place-making is a way of constructing history itself, of inventing it, of fashioning novel versions of “what happened.” For every developed place-world manifests itself as a possible state of affairs, and whenever these constructions are accepted by other people as credible and convincing . . . they enrich the common stock on which everyone can draw to muse on past events, interpret their significance, and imagine them anew. —Keith H. Basso 3

Sonic expressions of spatial entitlement constitute some of the most eloquent articulations of the right to space. Sounds have shared meanings that are informed by and give inspiration to the social, political, and economic power relations experienced by their producers. In the 1960s and 1970s in Los Angeles, these relations were rapidly changing in Brown and Black communities, not only because of the drastic and injurious urban transformations of the preceding two decades, but also because of the inspiring effects of African and Latin American anti-imperialist struggles.

Sonic politics are created through shared sounds, even between communities of listeners who speak different languages. Black and Brown sonic politics were a critical and functioning entity—part of the identity politics and radical dialogues among Black and Brown students, activists, and musicians. Counterintelligence programs intended to declare war on freedom movements and the spatial entitlements they articulated were accompanied by an implicit endorsement of white supremacy from both structures and individuals. This war against people of color, specifically militant nationalist groups, was connected to other wars declared and undeclared, beneficial and devastating: the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty, and the wars across the globe that affected Black and Brown diasporas. In this climate, Chicanos and African Americans in LA fashioned what Italian social theorist Antonio Gramsci famously termed “wars of position,” or strategic counterwars engaged through creative resistance. 4 As Black and Brown neighborhoods confronted structural crises, sonic expressions strengthened the relationship between meaningful spaces and the possibility of an egalitarian and just future. In Chapter 1, I argued that Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno enacted important constellations of struggle and facilitated the articulation of spatial entitlements through their activism on the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee. A significant weapon in those articulations was Bass’s newspaper, the California Eagle. Bass’s use of the Eagle to spread the word of her disappointment in 1949 is an important demonstration of how political struggles resonate through space and over time. When Bass’s mobility was curtailed, the Eagle became a proxy of sorts, an embodied spokesperson for the repression of spatial mobility. Bass rejected the silencing actions of city officials in this particular case by exercising an alternative means of moving through space—and because her own physical mobility was contained, the urgency of her message was heightened. The connected histories of spatial mobility contained in Bass’s and Kenyatta’s stories have important relevance to this chapter’s discussion of how the local spaces in Los Angeles were connected to global spaces of colonial domination and anticolonial resistance around the world. This is a spatial process made possible in part because speeches, pamphlets, books, and music all travel across spaces even when people cannot, but they were also transported across these spaces by people in the military, merchant seamen, exiles, refugees, and migrants. In his speeches from 1967 to 1970, C.L.R. James reasoned that it was impossible to understand the political explosion of America’s ethnic minorities without a developed historical perspective on their dynamic

connection with other resistance movements worldwide. 5 Arguing that “the world was now one world,”6 James acknowledged two interlaced elements of Western postwar sentiment: first, that the driving forces behind transnational capital, bolstered by the consolidation of specific economies and alliances in the wake of the Second World War, now possessed even greater control over local economies and labor. These imperial alliances appeared to secure the Western presumption that the marketplace could continue to be an endless frontier. But James acknowledged a second, more important occurrence during the postwar period: despite the physical distance between aggrieved communities in different places, ordinary people with extraordinary histories of injury were renewing a centuries-old tradition, one that recognized both interconnected forms of inequality and strategies of resistance. As a result, a powerful trans-national dialogue of shared social realities was emerging. James went on to make what may at first have seemed like an uncomplimentary observation about freedom movements in this historical moment: that sometimes the individual activists and oppressed communities could not always precisely define the kind of individual freedom or freedom of association they were striving for. Yet he believed that this could be read as a remarkable component of something much larger, a sign that freedom fighters had rejected dominant perspectives of individual freedom and democracy; this rejection, he mused, was “taking forms that were cultural and religious rather than explicitly political.”7 This was one reason why James would later argue that the grassroots political organizations that formed in United States urban communities were “not some diversion from the class struggle but a revolutionary force to be reckoned with.”8 In Los Angeles, the accumulated experiences, strategies, and perspectives of Black and Brown justice seekers coalesced into a particular inclination toward understanding the connections between their own communities and resistance movements worldwide. Disaffected youth, artists, and activists in Black and Brown working-class communities were now witness to radical changes, local and global, that created new visions and understandings of how their communities were geographically and ideologically situated. Current and past experiences of integrated working, living, and leisure took on new meaning in the age of third world internationalism and gave rise to expressions of the realities and possibilities of pan-ethnic affiliations. In turn, the “freedom dreams” that people envisioned created new standpoints on the spaces of citizenship that had been won—and lost—in previous decades. The persistence of these freedom dreams is particularly remarkable in this period,

considering that Black and Brown communities felt the effects of living at the crossroads of several competing wars: the War on Poverty, the War in Vietnam, and an undeclared war on the freedom movements formed in U.S. urban communities, waged by both official and unofficial government agencies. Public pronouncements of domestic good intentions belied the violent reality of white supremacy, and Black and Chicano communities experienced the material results of this contradiction. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the President most associated with the Vietnam War and the War on Poverty, asked Americans to understand that “in this age, when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war, we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint.”9 But a six-year span of back-breaking struggle for civil rights workers—tragically reflected in the proliferation of deaths among leaders who in varying ways inspired freedom movements10—confirmed the suspicions held by political activists around the world about the contradictions contained within Johnson’s pairing of “national strength” and “national restraint.” By 1969, COINTELPRO (the FBI’s formal “counterintelligence program,” responsible for the surveillance and harassment of freedom movements and their actors) “had orchestrated the assassinations of some twenty-nine Black Panthers and the jailings of hundreds of others.”11 In a different but related context, historian David W. Noble has argued that although the “promise of the international marketplace is a regime of perpetual peace . . . a continuing irony . . . is that one must be prepared for perpetual war to achieve the goal of peace.” He observes: The culture of international capitalism seems, therefore, to be deeply divided. Within this culture one is asked to accept the rational working of the natural laws of the marketplace, but one is also encouraged to develop a personality that is stronger and more aggressive than that of the leaders of the “rogue” states. One must always be ready to make the sacrifices demanded by war. 12 In numerous ways, Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles had first-hand knowledge of the incongruity of justice and global capitalism. The convergence of shared geography, legal discrimination, and poverty over the past three decades constituted critical conditions for the emergence of both freedom seekers and freedom movements. Some of the most significant articulations emerged from interethnic coalitions, who held city officials and the federal government accountable for the rights of poor people and workers. These coalitions included the Local 700 of the

International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 645, led by Paul Schrade; it also included the welfare rights activism of Johnnie Tillmon and Alicia Escalante. The peace pact formed between La Raza Unida Party leader Reies López Tijerina and the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) complemented the relationship between La Raza groups and the Black Congress in Los Angeles, as well as the joint leadership of Blacks and Browns during the Los Angeles Poor People’s March in 1969. 13 The ongoing creation and affirmation of interethnic memory and history in Los Angeles opened spaces of political possibility for Blacks and Chicanos. In this way, the United States’ articulated commitments to war were met by what Antonio Gramsci has termed “wars of position” from a mosaic of interethnic struggle, even at a moment when ethnic groups found important affinity with ethnic nationalism. James’s observations about the importance of cultural politics in articulating new radical standpoints constitute a helpful foundation from which to examine the sonic politics and spatial entitlements circulated by Black and Brown artists and activists during this period. In 1969, for example, a predominantly African-American LA band named (aptly ) WAR was waging a “war on the wars,” one informed by “our conception of what was going on in the world at that time”14: What made us different was the Latin influence we picked up in the Compton area. . . . Compton was an amazing place to grow up—we were so intermingled with the Spanish-speaking people that it came out naturally in our music and our rhythms. . . . [W]e mixed and mingled everything, even mariachi music. We were trying to imitate what we heard, but it came out being something else. 15 The music generated by Black and Brown LA artists such as WAR, Señor Soul, Thee Midniters, Los Lobos, El Chicano, and The Mixtures are an important register of shared grievances and interconnected struggles for social space and new libratory identities. Their cultural productions reflected shared histories of cultural expression and created new geographies of ethnic belonging. Focusing on popular culture and local community politics reveals the everyday influences and affiliations among Blacks and Browns in LA, as well as the importance of cultural productions in determining visions of a meaningful and just future. Taken together, the experiences of musicians, journalists, students, and workers produced situated strategies for achieving human dignity in the context of international struggles for

freedom. War on Poverty programs in Los Angeles created divisions among Blacks and Chicanos, but radical organizations and cultural workers established linkages that bridged this gap in critical and lasting ways.

DEMOGRAPHY AND ECONOMY Beginning in 1964, President Johnson led an ambitious federal effort to address the persistence of poverty in the United States. When he declared the War on Poverty, both unemployment and poverty rates in East Los Angeles were double the county average. Increased postwar segregation in schools and housing meant that by 1965, more than 75 percent of the area’s residents were Latino. 16 Blacks in South Los Angeles experienced similar postwar increases in racial segregation through white flight: between 1950 and 1960, for example, there was an 18.5 percent decline in white residents living in Compton, while the population of non-whites increased by 165 percent. By 1966, Blacks had become Compton’s majority. Watts, between 1940 and 1960, witnessed an even more dramatic, eightfold increase; by 1965, Blacks made up 87 percent of the city’s 34,000 residents. 17 Similarly, the Latino presence in the traditionally Black south-central area of Los Angeles numbered a little over 50,000 in 1970; a decade later that figure had doubled, with Chicanos alone making up 21 percent of the total population. With an area of two and half square miles, Watts had the highest population density of any city in Los Angeles County. 18 white flight may not have entailed an easy departure for white families, but these postwar spatial patterns nevertheless reflected white desires for the future of the city. The construction of Dodger Stadium, Disneyland, and Southern California freeways conditioned audiences with an “edited view of the urban region, hiding the city’s social complexity from sight and instead sustaining a momentary delusion of mobility.” These “cultural manifestations marked a collective effort,” argued Eric Avila, to assuage white nostalgia over the loss of neighborhood communities. 19 By 1960, industrial plants, shopping centers, and residential subdivisions had begun to replace the fields and orchards that surrounded the Los Angeles area. A spatial pattern emerged that reflected a high degree of urbanization without a clear center. James Allen and Eugene Turner20 have referred to this urban pattern as “multinucleated” or “polycentered”: large numbers of new malls, industrial zones, and clusters of Office buildings constitute suburban “nuclei” that attract local residents and outsiders. They explain that the “loose collection of suburbs” that

characterized pre-1960s development in Los Angeles was replaced by a “highly intricate distribution” of resources and neighborhoods. Importantly, this meant that business centers built far from the old central business district of Los Angeles began to siphon away much of the business activity that in earlier times was focused on the downtown area, precisely at a time when many of the Japanese, Mexican, and other farm workers who had earlier cultivated rural land became gardeners, service employees, or small businessmen and began to reside in more urban areas. 21 But this also meant serious, often deliberately negligent miscalculations on the part of city planners: moving away from the total growth model of the 1946 zoning ordinance (which anticipated a city of 10 million people), city planners concentrated high-density commercial and residential zoning in 35 centers around the city, drastically reducing density in neighborhoods of single-family homes. The Los Angeles Planning Department developed a plan whose principle participants were white, middle-class citizens, and ultimately reduced the density permitted in residential neighborhoods. Although the plan was adopted, no money was allocated to implement it. Therefore, zoning remained unchanged, and high-density developments continued. This “downzoning” movement was not a priority in all parts of the city, especially not in East LA, South LA, or Pacoima, which were all interethnic (primarily Chicano and African-American) working-class neighborhoods. 22 Between 1950 and 1970, minority groups across the county experienced similarly drastic demographic changes, coinciding with the creation of large numbers of new cities in the region. The clear class stratification that resulted from these spatial patterns was accompanied by some upward mobility among African Americans in this same period: as access to higher-skilled and higher-wage jobs became more prevalent and racial restrictions in housing decreased, many African Americans who had managed to become members of the middle class during the 1950s moved out of the South Central area. These residential patterns, solidified by white flight, resulted in a most often uniformly poor population in urban Los Angeles, primarily in the South and East: African Americans and Mexican Americans constituted the majority of the poor. 23 And more than any other group, Black Angelenos remained concentrated in the central area of the city, despite the upward mobility of the community’s middle class. In 1965, 40 percent of LA’s Black population lived in South Los Angeles. 24 At the same time in East Los Angeles, many Mexican Americans experienced unemployment and poverty; the average unemployment rate for both men and women in East Los Angeles was 7.25 percent, while almost one-fourth of all households in the community maintained an economic status well below the poverty line. 25

In 1965, Black unemployment in the United States was 9 percent, but unemployment in Watts was 31 percent. As in Newark, New York, Las Vegas, and Detroit, Los Angeles’s Black community erupted in riots in 1965, using the only means available to draw attention to the desperate realities of Watts, a neighborhood decimated by racism, poverty, and unemployment. Many residents living in the everyday of these realities attributed their persistence to the regime of Mayor Samuel Yorty. In 1961, Yorty secured the mayoral election over incumbent Norris Poulson in large part because of a promise to oust LAPD chief William H. Parker. His criticism of what he called a “little ruling clique”—especially its sanction of Chief Parker’s record of white supremacy in both ideology and practice—won Black and undecided voters during the primary. 26 Yet once elected, Yorty quickly retreated from his promise to depose the police chief; over time his response to criticism from Black and Brown communities began to mirror Parker’s tactics. 27 Though he began his political career as a Democrat, Yorty moved increasingly toward the right during his two terms in the California House of Representatives; by the time he left his House seat in 1955, he was well known for his support of the House Un-American Activities Committee, even chairing its California subcommittee. 28 Yorty was celebrated by conservative city planners for approving the expansion of the city’s freeway system into one of the world’s most well-known structures,29 the spatial consequences of which I documented in Chapter 2. The War on Poverty unfolded in Los Angeles under Yorty’s two terms in Office, from 1961 to 1973.

LOS ANGELES’ WAR ON POVERTY The War on Poverty was a “top-down policy masked by bottom-up rhetoric,” taken literally by many of its targets. In truth, the actual amount of money available to conduct the war against poverty paled in comparison to the billions spent on foreign aid and the Vietnam War. In the prosperous 1960s, the worsening conditions for the poor forced the number of welfare families to double, totaling over 1.5 million households. 30 Between 1964 and 1966, Johnson succeeded in passing an unprecedented amount of antipoverty legislation. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 provided the basis for several initiatives, including the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Head Start, the Job Corps, Upward Bound, Legal Services, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, the Community Action Program,

the college Work-Study program, Neighborhood Development Centers, small business loan programs, rural programs, and migrant worker programs. 31 The OEO began administering grants to local antipoverty organizations, which signaled local communities and organizations to apply for funding. However, Yorty’s deliberate neglect in not establishing the infrastructure to receive and manage these funds resulted in tragic losses for the communities who stood to benefit the most from War on Poverty measures. Horne notes: Sargent Shriver echoed Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey when he singled out LA as being “the only major city” without a “well-rounded community action program because of the failure of local officials to establish a broad-based community action board representing all segments of the community. “As late as mid-October 1965, two-thirds of the $29 million in antipoverty funds targeted for LA were “bogged down.”32 Yorty gained a reputation for undermining urban renewal efforts and contributing to urban unrest by falsely raising the hopes of those trapped in poverty. Though he had announced plans to create an Economic and Youth Opportunity Agency (EYOA) to manage grants and distribute funds, critics argued that the EYOA did not adequately represent the poor. It was this state of affairs that brought Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., to LA in 1965, expressly to urge the city to increase the representation of minority and poor citizens on the antipoverty board. 33 The rising anguish of Blacks living in abject urban poverty erupted into the Watts riots, and the devastation and world attention forced federal authorities to capitulate to at least some of the demands from those frustrated with Yorty’s administration. Disillusionment among activists with the Conflicts between officials and would-be recipients of War on Poverty funds was concomitant with a weariness of Yorty’s deliberate neglect of poor communities. Community members challenged the pace of disbursement set by city officials and turned toward creating their own organizations. In 1965, Ted Watkins and a group of concerned union leaders organized the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) to stimulate economic change and improve the quality of life for poor families living in South Central Los Angeles. Watkins was a longtime member of the UAW, who had witnessed decades of labor discrimination against Black residents of Watts. WLCAC was established as a nonprofit, community organization. Immediately after the riots, WLCAC intensified its efforts to change the physical and economic despair of Watts.

With a volunteer staff, WLCAC created employment training programs and began rebuilding neighborhoods with both War on Poverty funds and private donations. They formed a credit union, provided consumer services, provided job training and after-school programs, built low-income housing, provided services to Watts’s elderly citizens, and established farms, stores, and community centers. Watkins directed the creation of “vest-pocket” parks out of vacant lots, and the young people who worked with him were responsible for planting over 20,000 trees. 34 WLCAC’s actions were spatial entitlements born of radical affirmations of the right to live in meaningful, productive, and appealing spaces. The creation of beautiful spaces and the enactment of programs that increased the psychic and felt value of social belonging were eloquent articulations of the right to exist in sustainable and healthy communities. In 1968, David Lizarraga and several other Chicano activists formed the East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) to create after-school programs for children, build low-income housing and provide job training. When TELACU moved from being a War on Poverty organization to a community development organization in 1972, Chicana activists formed the Chicana Service Action Center (CSAC) as an alternative, citing not only TELACU’s transformation away from community involvement but also their own marginalization among male-dominated organizations and whitedominated women’s movements. CSAC developed a job training program, opened child-care centers, and established shelters for victims of domestic violence. Through its newsletters and community projects, CSAC challenged negative depictions of Chicanas and provided powerful new models of womanhood for young people on the Eastside. Black and Chicana activists engaged the strategies of resistance that echoed in the legacies of Bass and Moreno, exposing key weaknesses of the War on Poverty in Los Angeles: a pervasive disregard for women’s poverty and the exclusion of women from leadership positions. Women were responsible for the creation of the Economic Opportunity Federation (EOF), which explicitly argued that a community-driven organization better represented the interests of the poor. 35 Gloria Molina and Francisca Flores were among the most vocal activists calling attention to these disparities, and they joined other women such as Johnnie Tillmon and Alicia Escalante—founders of Aid to Needy Children (ANC) and the Chicana Welfare Rights Organization, respectively—in creating new conversations among low-income women of color, a demographic consistently marginalized in the historiographies of ethnic nationalist and women’s movements. Aware of the ways in which stigmas of poverty are mapped onto women’s bodies and into their lives as social beings, Tillmon and

Escalante created powerful discourses of human rights through direct action that affirmed Black and Brown women as valuable, meaningful, and necessary on the landscape of America and its futures. 36 Tillmon and Escalante were, just as Bass and Moreno, activists with intersecting constellations of struggle. Though immersed in the specific politics and histories of their respective communities, their attention to issues of reproductive justice and welfare rights created an important and strategic area of overlap that allowed Black and Chicana women to consider themselves in the same frame of struggle. Despite War on Poverty legislation, Los Angeles’s racial exclusion, the changing urban and agrarian economy, and insidious city planning practices that continued into the 1960s all contributed to the isolation of urban Blacks and Chicanos in homogeneous class and spatial categories. Rosalío Muñoz, an organizer and “barrio organic intellectual,” wrote editorials in the Eastside Sun, La Gente, and the Community Defender that lodged important critiques against the racist urban planning under Yorty’s administration. Muñoz termed Yorty’s regime “the third phase” of an effort to remove Mexicans from the physical space of Los Angeles—shaped by the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Project— which eviscerated the last barrios in the downtown area. 37 To add to the destruction evinced by this pattern of city planning, manufacturing firms sought lower taxes by leaving South Central and the Alameda industrial corridor for distant suburban areas well before the Watts uprising. Sides notes: Following a trend set by aircraft, aerospace, and electronics firms in prior decades, manufacturers of electrical machinery, apparel, metals, and food and petroleum products increasingly sought to lower their tax burden, expand their plant size, and connect to new markets by leaving the central city. Between mid-1963 and mid-1964, twenty-eight industrial manufacturing firms left South Central and parts of East Los Angeles, including four metal shops, eight furniture factories, one electrical machinery factory, one food processing plant, four textile plants, and two oil refineries. 38 While 63 percent of the Blacks who were unemployed reported that they had sought jobs outside South Central, 58 percent of those workers did not own automobiles. Moreover, there was little incentive to work in areas where racial exclusion made it impossible to live. 39 Plant closures and white flight did more than undermine Black employment and life chances. These patterns helped to develop a spatial

white “insulation.” After 1965, the geographic core of Los Angeles grew more rapidly than the periphery, in part resulting from the last great Black migration and the passage of the Immigration Reform Act, and wealthier whites “bought themselves distance from what they perceived as the riotous and increasingly ‘foreign’ core of Los Angeles.” whites living in the most desirable outlying areas consolidated their gains in the areas of the greatest economic opportunity. 40 This shift in the city’s economic geography, the spatial politics of downzoning, and the spatial conditions of poverty created “spaces of Black immobilization.” Here I echo Colin Flint’s argument in a different historical and geographical context. Flint contributes valuable perspectives on space and power through his scholarship on Palestinian geographies of resistance. Flint argues that one of the ways that Israelis have pacified the Intifada has been to transform Palestinian spaces of resistance into “spaces of nonpower and powerlessness.” In other words, Flint writes: a geography of resistance has been transformed into a geography of immobilization by choking off circulation, fragmenting territory. . . . These are all tactics . . . to turn the space of resistance into a space of . . . disempowerment, and an economy that has been withered and literally choked by spatial smothering of its circulation.”41 The creation of spaces of Black immobilization are illustrated in a 1965 Free Press article, in which architect and city planner Richard Neutra reveals the link between the Watts Riots, the economics of city planning, and the geography of potential employment markets: Transportation in the Watts area is a costly problem; a bus trip to the downtown labor markets passes through at least three zones . . . in this neglected environment, the citizen without an automobile is almost condemned to unemployment . . . the people of Watts may indeed vote as much as they like but they are still stranded in the ghetto, faced with problems which go far beyond the civil rights issues. 42 Immobilization is a form of spatial confinement. In both Black and Brown communities, topographical eviscerations had caused economic setbacks that would last for generations, including the stifled collective dreams and identities that resulted from community displacement and decimation. Tillmon, Escalante, and other activists in the War on Poverty era engaged these politics in an environment of tremendous state suppression,

despite a myth that Mike Davis describes as being “built to epic proportions in the 1960s: that of California as a state unburdened by racial differences.”43 Activists during the War on Poverty era worked in underfunded and largely unrewarded contexts, as millions of dollars were invested in official projections of California as a model of fairness. In mainstream media and publicity, Los Angeles was infused with a mystique that obscured devastating economic and racial faults. California’s government, major universities, and corporations proclaimed the state “a laboratory of racial equality.”44 Business executives were so committed to this constructed understanding of their entitlements, that even when threatened by urban unrest in 1971, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan could declare with tremendous bipartisan support: “If we’re going to have a blood bath, let’s get it over with.” Reagan went on to argue that “no people in all history paid a higher price for freedom. And no people have done so much to advance the dignity of man.”45 This proclamation was consistent with the thematic emphases of his 1966 gubernatorial bid, which stressed “law and order,” a code for the endorsement of strict social control over areas such as Watts in the wake of the 1965 uprising. The contradiction between the myth of equality and the reality of state repression created both obvious and embedded incongruities, in politics and everyday life. Defeated incumbent Edmund “Pat” Brown declared that Reagan played on and propelled the “so-called ‘white backlash’ to Black militancy,” portending a trend that “came earlier to California than to the rest of the nation.”46 Brown’s observation was easily visible in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign platform three years later. Nixon’s strategists exploited white fears by crafting rhetoric in speech and media that portrayed Blacks as violent people endowed with too much power. Both Nixon and Reagan called on the “silent majority” to uphold “law and order” and to take control of a standard of white morality and safety in danger of collapse. The inconsistencies between the popular construction of Los Angeles and the realities of racist hiring practices, housing discrimination, and lack of adequate schools for ethnic minorities led Martin Luther King, Jr., to interpret the Watts riots as a crisis of disjuncture between the affluence of whites and the distance of Blacks from this privilege: “Los Angeles could have expected riots because it is the symbol of luxurious living for whites. Watts is closer to it and yet further from it than any other Negro community in the country.”47 It also led him to reconsider the broad application of passive resistance to diverse regions struggling with racism and poverty. Indeed, by the end of this period and just before his death, King was forced to reckon with his “worst fears and [his] highest hopes”:

The killings, assassinations, Vietnam war, race riots in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Philadelphia in 1964 and Watts in 1965; the FBI’s hostility to the movement and indifference to official and civilian segregationist violence; the Democratic Party Convention’s rejection of the MFDP; and ultimately the choice to employ white student shock troops constituted soul murder: the America that King had dreamed of was impossible. 48 In assessing the devastating effects of the “race dramas” of the early 1960s, particularly Freedom Summer in 1964, sociologist Doug McAdam offered that “perhaps the major casualty of this process of disillusionment within the SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] concerned the doctrine of interracialism itself.”49 McAdam was speaking of the SNCC’s volunteers in the Northern states, who had amassed an impressive interracial coalition of students in particular. Coalitions of Black and white civil rights workers were consistent targets of some of the most violent state repression—and after the murder of Reverend King in 1968, many lost faith in the force of interracial collaboration. This was demoralizing in many respects; these losses registered in the ranks of civil rights workers in ways that created disappointment and difficulty, even when interracial organizing and cooperation persisted in some form. I mention this because it is often this paradigm that scholars apply to all instances of interracial interaction and affiliation, even when it is not applicable. Interracial organizing, cooperation, and antagonism are different in different places. Therefore, though interracial coalitions of freedom seekers in Los Angeles witnessed and felt these losses in critical ways, the city’s unique racial demography and history lay outside McAdam’s liberal paradigm. Just before and with growing intensity in the wake of King’s death, ethnic minorities across the nation embraced cultural nationalism as a means of empowerment and self-identification. Los Angeles was no exception. However, the internationalism of these groups—and more locally, their interethnic exchanges—were reflections of what Black Panther and Brown Beret members had experienced in “a California that diverged sharply from the national pattern of simple biracial polarity.” This was a state where “race relations meant more than biracial polarity . . . it was difficult for the Blacks in the city and state not to be internationalist in outlook.”50 While Black nationalism focused on the development of African and African-American revolutionary identities, and while Chicano Nationalism preoccupied itself with the recuperation of identities rooted in Aztlán, formal and informal alliances between these groups had been nurtured by the longtime demographic, popular, and political convergences

I have delineated thus far. The activism among Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles during this internationalist period reveals that for these groups, “ethnic nationalism and internationalism were not mutually exclusive.”51 Indeed, self-identifying internationalist groups in this moment engaged in a complex simultaneity of platforms: revolutionary nationalism, cultural nationalism, socialism, armed struggle, and worker and community organizing. 52 Revolutionary nationalist politics constituted an important part of the making and remaking of interethnic identity and grassroots sensibilities in this period, but they were not necessarily the beginning, or the end, of this process. In Los Angeles, this sensibility often emerged more out of cultural and popular experiences, out of a natural extension of shared demographic and cultural spaces, than a consistent commitment to interracial politics. Yet Black and Brown internationalists of this period, responding to topographical evisceration as well as the Left’s “uneven track record on racial politics,” created a “thirdspace, where they could pursue their political commitments unencumbered by white leftists. This was the space of the Third World Left.”53 Revealed in the present study is a picture of Afro–Chicano culture underpinning the relationship—unique from other cities in the nation at this time—between Blacks and Browns. As Laura Pulido has astutely observed: the racial politics of Southern California’s Third World Left can best be understood as a tension between nationalism and internationalism . . . all . . . were committed to supporting the struggles of other colonized and oppressed people. . . . [O]n the other hand, [internationalist organizations and activists] were also quite nationalistic at heart [and] uncertain to what extent they should work with other communities. 54 Daniel Widener’s Black Arts West examines the politicization of Black culture in Los Angeles, arguing that the social movement it became illuminated fundamental connections between expressive culture and political struggle. He shows how Black radicalism in LA was a cumulative politics emerging not only from this distinctive region but also from the influence of revolutionary struggles around the world. Worldwide internationalist and anticolonial movements were critical in shaping aggrieved minority politics in the United States as well as the meaning of racial identities and solidarities. The influence of third world liberation movements contained more than merely hopeful rhetoric from distant places: local recognition of the significance of these movements lent credibility to intercultural struggle and gave tangible shape to the equality that they envisioned, for themselves and for each other. For example, La

Raza columnist Alfred Arteaga drew connections between the cultural nationalisms that developed in Algeria and Angola and the redefinition of Chicano identity in the United States. Arteaga voiced a suspicion about the connection between domestic racism and international imperialism, arguing, “as Algeria was colonized by France and Angola by Portugal, Aztlan is a colony of the U.S.” Editors of La Raza connected layoffs, inflation, cutbacks in welfare and child-care, and discrimination against immigrants to increased repression by police in Black and Chicano communities. 55

DISSENSION AND COALITION Most of the scholarship on Black–Brown coalitions in this era explores interactions among the leaders of established organizations, paying little attention to the informal politics of collaboration among everyday people or to the politics expressive of everyday situated experiences and concerns. As a result, characterizations of this period assume that: with the urban rebellions of black communities across the country, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the idea of cross-racial collaboration and progress faded, the hopes and dreams of the idealistic and hard-working civil rights activists dissolving with the Conflicted memory of past successes. 56 The above quote from Heather Rose Parker relates to conclusions about coalitional politics that are based upon the interactions between prominent leaders of mainstream organizations and committees. For example, Parker argues that extreme nationalism in both African-American and Chicano communities, a dearth of leaders within the Chicano community, and the discomfort of Chicanos allying with Blacks, who were stronger politically, all contributed to the unstable relationship that existed between African Americans and Chicanos in LA. She also argues that white America’s perception of Blacks as the “national minority” resulted in boons to the African-American community, often at the expense of the Chicano community. Further, she posits that much of the alliance work between Blacks and Chicanos occurred between leaders of organizations on the phone, not at the grassroots level. 57 These generalizations contain many specific realities. For example, Black and Chicano leaders clashed over the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project (NAPP), directed by veteran social worker Opal Jones. Mexican Americans accused Jones of excluding their community

from the program. Jones attempted to work with Latino leaders, but the general trend was toward racially separate Wars on Poverty in Los Angeles. 58 Parker demonstrates how the antipoverty funds made available by President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty were the cause of serious disagreements between LA’s African-American and Chicano communities. The funds “were allocated in lump sums to the county of Los Angeles with no federal guidelines as to how the funds were to be disbursed.”59 This encouraged dissension among poverty-stricken groups. The County of Los Angeles established the EYOA to supervise the disbursement and application of funds. Conflicts arose because the majority of the funds were allocated to the African-American community, in part because of the Watts rebellion in 1965, which prompted the federal government and social scientists to mitigate the myriad social and economic problems that assailed the Black community. Eventually, many Americans came to consider African Americans as the minorities most “deserving” of EYOA fund allocations, not least of all because of social scientists’ endeavors to defi ne cultures of poverty. 60 Struggles over housing in Los Angeles embody many of the dynamics of change that characterized LA’s working-class Afro–Chicano interaction in this era. The accelerated isolation of African Americans and Mexicans who lived in the East Side barrios of downtown Los Angeles or in South Los Angeles was due partly to continued unspoken racism in job and housing applications and partly to the poor quality of the segregated public education system in the inner city. This isolation was most evident in the housing conditions and struggles of Chicanos and Blacks in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Major disagreements, and eventually public rhetorical battles, were waged among organizations within the African-American and Chicano communities; African Americans tended to receive a larger share of funds than Mexican Americans, who were a larger portion of the population by 1970. This remained an issue that caused much tension between AfricanAmerican and Chicano communities, making coalition efforts a difficult process. Parker argues convincingly that what began as each group’s general wariness of the other was exploited by outside “instigating forces” that conveniently “fan[ned] the flames of hostility and inhibit[ed] intergroup cooperation.”61 Nevertheless, there were attempts to establish cooperation in this endeavor. For example, Esteban Torres, a Chicano community leader in East LA, urged LA minority groups to recognize that they shared a common enemy and praised efforts in both communities to reach an agreement in

the battle over funds made available by the War on Poverty: far too much has been said about the Conflicts between Mexican Americans and Negroes over the diminishing funds of the war on poverty. It is gratifying to know that in at least one instance concerned Chicanos and Blacks stood firmly on common ground against the common enemy. Once again, many of our neighbors were saying that Chicanos were getting the short end of the stick. It is a credit to our community that this resentment was not turned on our Black brothers in need whose needs are just as critical as ours. Instead, we realized that the fund cuts were a betrayal of all poor people, regardless of race and that the antagonist is the Man who holds the purse-strings. 62 Torres’ commentary is an important reminder of the divide-and-conquer tactics deployed by government officials; it is also instructive in reminding us that even arguments among allies can serve as powerful conversations about power and resistance. Conflicts can be useful registers of the tools of manipulation deployed against aggrieved communities, and of the threat constituted by resistance to them. The reality in Los Angeles was that there were multifaceted African-American and Chicano causes with competing interests. There were some tragic failures in which sharp differences in strategies and goals changed the mutual appeal of each other’s communities. These have been extensively documented in many places and for many different reasons. And there were some triumphant moments as well, in which both communities recognized the dynamic possibilities of Black–Brown unity, a reflection of the fact that coalitional politics are, as Stuart Hall has noted, a “process . . . that happens over time, that is never absolutely stable, that is subject to the play of history and difference.”63 There are several examples of Afro–Chicano political alliance, even at the height of ethnic nationalism. In November 1968, a white UCLA professor physically assaulted an African-American student who challenged him during a history class. After Black students protested UCLA’s refusal to suspend the professor, the majority-white Student Senate suspended the Black Student Union charter, and the UCLA Board of Trustees renewed its efforts to centralize college control. Student leaders Timmi Villegas and Frank Lechuga urged Chicanos to support the demand of the Black Student Union (BSU) that the professor be fired and connected the physical assault and white student racism to the assault being waged by the UC Regents on the Educational Opportunity Program, which was set to be discontinued by the end of the academic year. Appealing to the common experience of a

multitiered racism experienced by Black and Chicano students, members of the BSU and United Mexican-American Students demanded a change in curriculum that would lead to a bachelor’s degree in Chicano Studies and Black Studies: “Our parents . . . have been paying taxes for years to support the so-called institutions of ‘higher’ learning, only to have the ‘gabacho’ history and value system propagated.” Villegas and Lechuga connected the professor’s conduct to institutionalized racism against Blacks and Chicanos, and urged students not to accept the “mis-education and misdirection of our people.”64 The politics of colonial rejections expressed in the actions of Villegas and Lechuga reflected the increasing importance of internationalist anticolonial discourse in shaping the politics and the meaning of racial identities and solidarities among aggrieved communities. While 1965 Watts marked the rise of organized Black nationalism in Los Angeles—and soon thereafter Chicano militant nationalism—there remained an implicit social knowledge among these groups, even at the height of racial particularity, of the intersections of racial identity and popular culture. This era marked an important accumulation of these intersections, particularly because of the violent repression that many Blacks and Chicanos experienced as part of their radicalization and transformation as freedom seekers. Even in a moment when the cumulative experiences and successes of coalitional organizing could not be safely or effectively deployed, the implicit social memory of these coalitions, embedded in the cultural politics shared by these two communities, remained an important register of what was possible and maintained a critical modicum of felt affinity. Community newspapers are an important source of this evidence. In 1968, La Causa de los Pobres, an East Los Angeles newsletter, documented a coalition of concerned African Americans and Chicanas who staged a series of demonstrations against the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), which according to the instruction of the Department of Social Services, was empowered to discontinue welfare benefits to all undocumented immigrants. The result of the protests was that there was no discontinuation of aid, and those who had been excluded for any length of time were reinstated. “The atmosphere of the day,” La Causa reported, as that the people had won the battle, but the war goes on.”65 In an article entitled, “In the Black and Chicano Communities of Los Angeles, Police Violence Is on the Rise,” La Raza reported the beatings, shootings, and harassment of Chicanos and Blacks in Aliso Village, Florence Community, East LA, Watts, and Bell Gardens. The article urged African Americans and Chicanos to unite “against their common enemy: the

capitalist system.”66 “The Mexican-American community has learned a lesson from the Black community,” wrote a reporter in an article covering the East L.A. high school blowouts. “The Chicanos are organizing and the display of coordination involved in our demonstrations at fi ve high schools . . . is an impressive example.”67 The Brown Berets’ manifesto, “El Plan del Barrio,” offered their public support to furthering the cause of African Americans by identifying the plight of Blacks with their own and working toward eradicating inequities in both communities. 68 In an interview with a former Brown Beret, Pulido discovered that the Berets and the BPP “had good working relations. Whenever a Panther got killed, we would go to their funerals, we would march with them. I remember one time we were in the parking lot of the funeral parlor and the Panthers and Berets were lined up and Bobby Seale came by to greet everyone and review us.”69 In 1969, representatives of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the SNCC, and African-American area churches attended a strikers’ meeting to pledge their support to the largest farm labor strike in San Joaquin Valley since the 1930s. 70 As Pulido’s research has shown, “the Panthers viewed the UFW [United Farm Workers] as the leading organization of the Chicano movement and sought to stand in solidarity with it: Besides reporting regularly on the UFW in the Black Panther, the Panthers orchestrated a meeting between Cesar Chávez and Bobby Seale at which Chávez pledged to send UFW members to work on Seale’s mayoral campaign in Oakland. In turn, the BPP sent the following message to “Brother Chávez”: “[W]e wish to express to you, Cesar Chávez, to the entire membership of the United Farmworkers Organizing Committee, and to the countless Mexican-American and other minority men, women, and children whose lives are currently and callously being parlayed for profits by deceitful growers and opposition unions, our complete and open solidarity and support with your efforts to secure the basic human rights for the farmworkers of this country. 71 Evidence of sustained interethnic coalitions extends beyond internationalist organizations. Paul Schrade, an organic chemistry major at Yale University, dropped out and moved to LA with his brother in 1947 after a dispute over money with his family. He found a job at National American Aviation, where he became part of an organizing drive. After reading leaflets about the union organizing endeavor, Schrade began talking to people who recruited him to work with them. He eventually became an organizer himself. The crux of the problem in 1951 and 1952

was that National American Aviation workers and auto workers, who labored in the same plant doing essentially the same work, had major disparities in income and benefits. The union presence in the plant, namely the International Association of Machinists and the UAW, were individually highly organized. But split representation and competition for membership had made efforts at collaboration futile. Furthermore, aviation workers’ wages were on average 25 cents below those of auto workers, which engendered more tensions. As Schrade and other aviation workers organized for increased wages, retirement benefits, and health insurance (auto workers had secured the latter two some years before), they were able to make the issue of equity with auto workers their bargaining tool. Schrade eventually became the UAW leader in the West, and as Gerald Horne has documented, “by 1965 the union under his leadership had 65,000 members in the state.” Horne further notes that while there was an influential Black membership, “the union had been weakened by internal Red Scare scrapes, resulting in some of the more militant Black members and antiracist whites being ousted from positions of influence.” Nevertheless, the UAW under Schrade’s direction “made distinct gestures to Blacks after the revolt, offering to put up $10 million in seed money for housing in Watts and provided a two-story Office building on South San Pedro for a year to the United Civil Rights Committee.”72 The fact that in this period, nearly 42 percent of Watts men, including some who were unemployed, belonged to labor unions, was not a hindrance. 73 This UAW local set the stage for Afro–Chicano politics in later years. 74 In the wake of the Watts riots, Schrade also helped build bridges between the UAW and the city’s Black and Latino communities. He helped Ted Watkins form the WLCAC and David Lizarraga form TELACU, and he participated in the collective leadership that decided how to use union and federal funds to build low-income housing, set up job-training programs, and mobilize community residents around neighborhood improvement. Not all relationships between African-American and Chicano Angelenos arising from radical protest were successful; there are numerous examples of competition over resources, racial antagonisms, and general strife between these groups in the era under consideration. Los Angeles saw important opportunities for intercultural exchange develop around the arts and within multiethnic community groups. Whether fostered in such informal settings as dance halls and theaters or in formal organizations, these interethnic encounters formed the basis for political cooperation to address broader social problems. These musical forms of discursive intervention were instruments for critical rejection of the spatial marginalization of Black and Brown working-class communities.

The spaces of geographic belonging these cultural productions both imagined and engendered also created, with increasing aesthetic sophistication, alternative sites of politicization.

“IMPLICIT SOCIAL KNOWLEDGE”: SONIC SPATIAL IMAGINARIES Space . . . structures people’s perceptions, interactions, and sense of well-being or despair, belonging or alienation. . . . [It] simulates both memory and desire; it indicates categories and relations between them. . . . The key structural shifts in the twentieth-century political economy are located in a symbolic geography of space . . . and localized in spatial metaphors that explore the relation between economic power and cultural representation.75

Sharon Zukin’s insightful observation gives us a way to understand the importance of space in memory and representation. Particular musical expressions in this era reflect spatial politics and help us to understand the relationship between power and cultural representation. The sonic and visual politics of representation I examine in this section are built on an already existing Black–Brown aural public sphere, rooted in the sonic styles, vernaculars, and social identities that formed as a result of the close demographic and cultural relationships. These relationships created, borrowing a term from Raúl Homero Villa, “implicit social knowledge” of a Black–Brown popular imaginary, one that places Black and Brown cultural forms and memory in direct relationship to one another, evicting commercial culture’s imperatives for easily categorized sound. As I discussed earlier, a different identity became possible among Black and Brown Angelenos when local actors and artists began to understand their conditions and actions within diasporic and global frameworks. Increasingly relational engagements with diaspora movements, culture, and history challenged hegemonic and imperial discourses of race that prescribed racial and cultural boundaries. The notion that Chicana/Chicano internationalist consciousness was intricately tied with being a colonized people articulated a spatial dimension to these politics. The experience of being displaced “in multiple ways from a perceived homeland has been an essential element of Chicanos’ social identity in this country. By extension, the centrality of such deterritorialization to Chicanos has guaranteed its importance as a theme in their expressive practice.”76 On a local level, multiple spatial assaults upon Chicano barrios, including Chavez Ravine and Bunker Hill, were “engraved as implicit social knowledge in the popular imagination of Los Angeles Chicanos.”77 Urban renewal and freeway building exacted multiple

displacements on Chicanos, fragmenting and decapitalizing communities. Yet they also create a possibility for unity around the shared experience of displacement. Daniel Widener notes that too often, “freedom songs, dashikis, Afros, and other markers of the 1960s are seen as contributive, rather than constitutive, parts of this period.”78 The sonic spatial politics of Black and Brown LA in the 1960s and 1970s reveal that music and visual art are so central to political identity formation among aggrieved groups that we would be remiss to unlink social movements, music, and visual art when studying them, particularly in that historical moment.

SEÑOR SOUL To be black is to exist in exchange without being a party to exchange. —Bryan Wagner79

The photo that commences this section is of the vinyl jacket of Los Angeles music group Señor Soul’s 1968 album, “Señor Soul Plays Funky Favorites.” As a comment on the unique racial and spatial dimensions of South LA, it offers us one way to study the sonic spatial politics of Afro–Chicano music and coalitional politics from 1965 to 1975. On the album cover, band members Charles Miller, Edwin Stevenson, James Crump, Willie Briggs, and Howard Talley are pictured in serapes, sombreros, and rebozos, clothes representing Mexican cultural traditions. In what may appear to be a parodic representation of universal indigenousness, two of the band members represent what are commonly associated with African traditions: one is wearing a dashiki and another casually holds a spear. But this text also announces something already known about the relational demographic, economic, and cultural intersections of Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles: an implicit social knowledge among the producers of this music and their audiences. The ironic representation of Black Mexicans on Señor Soul’s album cover can be considered within the frame of multiple and simultaneous critiques of prescribed racial categories in that era: it transforms mainstream expectations about the sonic and visual contributions that Black people produce, in turn challenging singular representative forms of Blackness. This coalescence of visual traditions provides alternative visions of past, present, and future, anticipating a new social and spatial and relational world, grounded in a relational past. Most importantly, it reads back and validates a common sense of relational identities. In a moment when Black and Brown bodies are targets, Señor Soul’s representation of the relational Black and Brown subject eludes categorization, capture, and control. This album cover may

not have built a movement, but visual representations like these, as well as the sonic creativity of such musical expressions, emboldened people to embrace the identity politics that set them apart but that also made historical and common sense.

FIGURE 9. Señor Soul album cover, 1968.

In this context, Señor Soul and their visual self-representations take on new meaning. It is possible that in a different decade, this album cover would have reflected nothing more than benign cultural exchange. Yet at

this moment and in the context of internationalism, an alternative reading is possible: local cultures of opposition are impacted by and also shape diasporic economic, political, and intellectual bodies and poetics. It claims the right to space in an alternative and relational history in which Black people are agents of cultural representation, not merely subjects of cultural exchange. Even as these cultural productions are based in the local experience, this particular combination speaks to what we already know about the intersection and affinity of Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles, from the vantage point of their collective and communal struggles for freedom. Art Blake’s important study of mid-1970s Black CB radio culture provides an instructive example in spatial counterpolitics of sound. Blake argues that Black CB radio use developed as a response to the repressive racial politics of the postwar period. Coining the term “audiomobility,” Blake suggests that Black CB culture “circumvented white prohibitions against black mobility and audibility, denied white assumptions of technical and verbal superiority, as well as internal black class politics about ‘sounding black.’”80 The style politics and sonic sensibilities of Señor Soul enacted a similar politics of audiomobility, which refused traditional categories of Black sound and visual representation and circulated an alternative cultural production that reflected shared histories and sonic spaces. In this way, the musical and historical affinities that Señor Soul projected acquired a mobile currency, reaching audiences poised to accept these connections as common-sense reflections of everyday life. The combination of spatial and sonic comments present in this text provide an opportunity to reconsider the mutual history of Black and Brown communities and diasporas as relational rather than merely comparative. Just as Señor Soul’s visual representation of Black Mexicans intervenes in linear historiography by positioning Black bodies on the landscape of Mexican tradition (and vice versa), the soundscapes created by Chicano bands Thee Midniters and El Chicano likewise intervene in spatial assaults upon barrios and ghetto of Los Angeles through an articulation of spatial entitlement. As I detailed in Chapter 2, Thee Midniters were an important catalyst for the success of radio personality Dick Hugg, whose signature programming included an audio “tour” of the East Side’s Whittier Boulevard, for which Thee Midniters’ “Whittier Boulevard” provided the soundtrack. The gritos in “Whittier Boulevard” were an important claim on a space that had been dramatically transformed to reflect postwar white desires for Los Angeles: Brown communities that had been there for decades were displaced by the construction of freeways and the rerouting

of the main thoroughfares that were the bloodlines of the community. Subsequently, these aural claims were made manifest in the spatial claims of Chicano car clubs whose lowrider cars and style politics dominated the area, even when they could no longer claim it as their own community. Thee Midniters and El Chicano created a soundscape81 built on an existing Black and Brown aural public sphere that was rooted in the sonic styles, vernaculars, and social identities that result from shared residential and popular spaces. In the aural experience of their songs lies an implicit social knowledge of racial relevance and relationality between Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles. Furthermore, these sounds create an audiomobility in which songs grant access to figurative and literal landscapes: Whittier Boulevard creates an alternative and material new reality upon which Brown bodies are renaturalized and repatriated to an area that was no longer intended for them. In this case, audiomobility extends to the mobility of sonic forms once considered to be predominantly Black, such as soul. Here it is instructive to return to the music of Thee Midniters that I examined in Chapter 2. As I explained previously, it is significant that Thee Midniters covered such a large number of Black artists, considering their music’s closer affinity to bands like the Rolling Stones. But as I argued before, in the context of LA’s unique spatial and racial politics, it makes more sense that Thee Midniters would make Black music Mexican by incorporating styles that make the songs directly relevant to Chicano listenership. Their 1976 song Dreaming Casually echoes a long-held philosophy of African-American jazz musician Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Arkestra. Ra, one of the most prolific popular musicians of the twentieth century, located himself in both philosophy and performance in outer space, beyond both the geographical limits of the United States and the ideological limits of Jim Crow and the Cold War. 82 George Clinton would later explore similar possibilities projected about “outer space” as a means of escape from the conventions of everyday life. “Dreaming Casually” is an articulated desire for meaningful space, both personal and collective. Similarly, the predominantly instrumental “Chicano Power” has particular significance in the context of Black power, celebrating the phrase as both fact and desire, embracing philosophies of self-affirmation. The East Los Angeles band El Chicano chose a name that proclaimed solidarity with the cultural and revolutionary politics of Brown communities in Los Angeles, simultaneously interfacing with the style and politics of soul. The band became a local fixture in South Central Los Angeles when they procured a regular spot at Kabuki, a club that drew a mixed-race crowd. Eventually, they achieved recording success with their cover of

Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Tirado,”83 a cultural production that had its origins “as a purpose-driven homage” (admiration for a bullfighter) but evolved to have deep cultural import for Black and Brown communities in distinctive ways, “from chance anthem [in El Chicano’s 1970 version of the song] to symbolic sample [in Kid Frost’s rap homage].”84 Reflective of their enduring importance in both Black and Brown communities, El Chicano was the first Chicano band to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The implicit social and aural knowledge of Black–Brown musical coalescence is well illustrated by WAR. Multiple histories permeate their development as a band and the sonic politics that underpin their musical identity. WAR began in 1962, when guitarist Howard Scott and drummer Harold Brown were high school students in the Compton/South Central Los Angeles area. Together they launched an R&B club group, The Creators. By 1965, the band had added Lonnie Jordan, bassist B.B. Dickerson, and saxophonist Charles Miller. Miller had formerly belonged to Señor Soul, and the influence of this early manifestation of the band would be easily apparent in the soul and funk underpinnings of WAR’s style. By 1968, the group that was to become WAR was reorganized as The Nightshift, and it recruited Papa Dee Allen, an East Coast percussionist who had years of experience with Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats. Eric Burdon (formerly of The Animals) and Lee Oskar (a Danish harmonica player) encountered The Nightshift in a club in Watts. Together, they became WAR, one of the most important popular bands ever to reflect the sonic and racial politics of Los Angeles. By 1971, music critics observed that their songs were in tune with the urban America of the early 1970s, striking the right balance among hope, fear, and frustration. Pianist Lonnie Jordan remarked, “our battle [was] to make our instruments shoot out notes instead of bullets.”85 Combining Black, white, and Brown musical traditions, WAR drew upon the interracial past of Los Angeles urban music to find common ground during an era of Conflict and repression. Songs such as “Cisco Kid,” “Slipping into Darkness,” and “Lowrider” were created from the fabric of South and East Los Angeles’s Black–Brown aural integration. Musician Rubén Guevara observed that WAR became a favorite band of cholo car clubs, in part because of the explicit celebration by “Lowrider” of the customized cars so prevalent among Chicano cruisers. 86 Chicano Angeleno band Tierra later had great success combining Mexican culture with Black R&B and rock ’n’ roll. Tierra had a sound that resembled Latin jazz, which Black and white audiences in Los Angeles had

been listening to and buying since the 1940s. Tierra was formed by brothers Steve and Rudy Salas, who began their careers singing in Spanish. Eventually, the Salas brothers switched to English with a style that combined R&B, rock, and Latino sensibilities. With references to Mexico in their songs, the band cultivated an awareness of their Mexican heritage by incorporating traditionally “Black” sounds into Mexican ballads to form a distinct LA sound. Both grew up listening to, and later modeled their own songs on, soul acts. Their first hit, “Together,” was written by the legendary Black duo Gamble and Huff. Tierra toured with Black bands such as Kool and the Gang and Con Funk Shun, playing R&B to mixed audiences. Los Lobos remains, like WAR, one of the most enduring examples of Black–Chicano musical syncretisms. Los Lobos was formed in 1974 in East Los Angles by Louie Pérez, César Rosas, Conrad Lozano (also a former member of Tierra), and David Hidalgo. All of Los Lobos’ members were from neighborhoods that had formerly constituted one large barrio, but that barrio was separated by the construction of the five freeways in East Los Angeles during the late 1950s, as I detailed in Chapter 2. The influence of Blues guitarist Albert Collins is a central component of the expressed soundscapes created by Los Lobos. Collins was born into a sharecropping family in Texas, but moved to Houston as a child. Collins’s cousin Lightnin’ Hopkins taught him to play the guitar, and Collins left his original instrument, the piano, behind. Lightnin’ Hopkins instructed Collins in how to create unique soundscapes by tuning his guitar to a minor key. Los Lobos guitarist Louie Pérez remembers carefully listening to Collins play with Big Mama Thornton, Little Richard, and The Imperials, and he taught himself to play guitar listening to soul music and buying the sheet music of artists like Sam and Dave and Aretha Franklin. Pérez’s first musical gigs were playing Tower of Power and James Brown hits for Chicano audiences. So by 1975, as Los Lobos was beginning to enjoy a wide Los Angeles following, these blues and soul styles permeated their music, which they performed at weddings, block parties, and high schools. They became known for being a “Chicano” band, emphasizing the ranchera, Tex-Mex, and mariachi styles they had heard as children in their homes. In 1975, aware of the struggles occurring in the Chicano Movement, they contributed to the album Si Se Puede (It Can Be Done) in support of the United Farm Workers. “The Neighborhood,” recorded in 1986, captures both the syncretic style associated with their urban background and addresses some of the demoralization in urban neighborhoods in the 1980s. Los Lobos redefined “Mexican” music in East Los Angeles in the 1980s in a way that brought African-American and later Japanese influence

into play with instruments reflective of Tex-Mex and other Latin-American styles, like the accordion, guitarrón, vihuela, jarana, and charango. In Chapter 2, I discussed the economies of scale that made idealized suburbia the target audience for mass culture rather than groups mixed by class, race, and fluctuating neighborhood demographics. 87 As with The Jaguars in the 1950s and 1960s, white promoters and emcees used mixedrace bands whose styles were built on the history of shared demography among Black and Brown youth to draw white audiences to soul music in “acceptable” venues. In the 1970s, this was achieved on a local level through the selective promotion of The Mixtures, a band originally from Oxnard, CA. Their members included Chicano pianist Steve Mendoza, Black saxophonist Delbert Franklin, Chicano drummer Eddie de Robles, Puerto Rican bass player Zag Soto, Black horn player Autry Johnson, white guitarist Dan Pollock, and an American Indian percussionist named Johnny Wells. 88 The Mixtures recorded and released several 45s, including “Darling.” which featured the vocal duo Phil and Harv and sold over 250,000 copies in 1961; this made The Mixtures a successful Southern California band, and they appeared on “Parade of Hits” on KCOP Channel 13 in Hollywood, sponsored by KRLA Radio and hosted by TV personality Bob Eubanks.

FIGURE 10. The Mixtures, Stompin’ at the Rainbow, Minky Records, 1962. Courtesy Hector Gonzales, Rampart Records.

“They used us to draw a white audience,” explained Pollock. “We were told by Bob Eubanks, who was promoting a lot of our shows at that time, that we were a safe, you know . . . face to put on soul and rock-n-roll.”89 Pollock describes The Mixtures’ gigs at the Rainbow Gardens: [It was] pretty much exclusively white teenagers, and most of them were from the nicer areas. Pomona was a perfect place to come because they didn’t have to go to Central Avenue, El Monte, any of those places where there was all Black or Mexican or Asian kids. 90

“You know, it was really a trip, our band. We were really popular locally,” he told me as he showed me the playbills for concerts. “But we never did get big nationally.” Pollock felt that radio and television host Bob Eubanks and others “never really had an interest in marketing us to a wider audience. In fact, after awhile, Zag and me we thought they were pretty much using us to play to a particular scene.”91 The emergence of Rainbow Gardens as a venue for Latino music represented the beginnings of a renegotiation of public space in Southern California in the 1950s. The interaction and affiliation of audiences of Chicanos, whites, Blacks, and Asian Americans at Rainbow Gardens made it a venue for the “cultural transference, transformation, and creation that took place in the L.A. suburbs between World War II and the student movements of the late 1960s.”92 The Mixtures’ experience, like that of The Jaguars in the 1950s, demonstrates the shifting politics of race, but also the persistence of discrimination and segregation in Los Angeles leisure spaces. As I argued at the outset of this chapter, where dissension existed between Black and Brown communities and War on Poverty organizations, productions and discussions generated by cultural workers sometimes managed to bridge material and discursive divides. Yet this was also a period during which artistic expressions were manipulated to distill and dilute the radical politics that engendered them. The Watts Summer Festival was an important measure of culture’s use in both empowerment and cooptation and an even greater example of the internal divisions and heterogeneity of Black political actors in South LA. The convergence of Black power sentiment with grassroots War on Poverty efforts was the driving force behind many of the changes that occurred in the Watts community after 1965. This same confluence founded the Watts Summer Festival, though with varying contributions and consequences. Conceived as a festival to both commemorate and recuperate from the 1965 riots, the Festival included an annual parade, vendors, informational booths about community agencies, and artists celebrating Black culture. Drawing crowds of up to 100,000 people (including whites sympathetic to Black demands for equality), it was successful for several years as the largest festival of Black culture in Southern California. Its pinnacle was in 1972 with Stax Records’ sponsorship of a concert featuring The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, The Bar-Kays, The Soul Children, Eddie Floyd, and other Stax artists. When antipoverty organizations and Black nationalist groups first conceived of the festival, it was intended to promote Black community

empowerment. Yet “cultural nationalists, Marxists, economic nationalists, and political revolutionaries all might have agreed on the need for black power, but they did not all agree on what that meant or how to achieve it.”93 Divisions arose about the meaning and use of the festival among Black organizations and Watts community members. Horne records that in addition to the Westminster Neighborhood Association and John Buggs of the Human Relations Commission “the festival was backed by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Bekins Storage, Security Pacific, and other entities not known for their sympathy for black concerns.” This drew criticism from some who considered the festival a way to draw youth militancy away from the Black Panther Party. Others supported this reallocation of focus as part of an approach that, as Horne writes, “discounted confrontation with the LA elite.”94 In other words, the festival became emblematic of a drastic and tragic shift: as the Black Panther Party was extinguished by COINTELPRO through the sanctioned murders of its leadership, the city and corporate investors poured energy and money into making celebration more attractive than confrontation. Yet many community members, including Black Panther Elaine Brown, voiced sustained opposition to the festival’s direction, noting the ways that the Festival subverted radical creative practice into less meaningful patterns of celebration.

CONCLUSION Organizations like Watkins’ WLCAC and Lizarraga’s TELACU are well into a fourth decade of critical community contributions. Yet some of the most significant examples of spatial entitlement in this chapter appear to be momentary and transitory. Señor Soul, El Chicano, and Tierra are all bands whose popularity waned or whose members reformed in various ways over time into other groups. But the soundscapes they created reach backward in time to draw upon Black and Brown implicit aural and social knowledge, and they extend forward in time by leaving us with a legacy of evocative reflections on space and history. 95 In the context of an era dominated by war, the collective sonic politics of these bands and their creators affixed the spatial claims made through organized Black and Brown resistance to Afro–Chicano infrapolitics. By drawing upon an implicit aural and social knowledge of Black–Brown shared spaces, they projected a shared future whose principle promise is manifest in sound. Thee Midniters provided a soundtrack for Chicano and Black lowriders on Whittier Boulevard, but the power of the soundscape they created was that it literally moved Chicanos back onto the spaces on Whittier Boulevard from which they had been

evicted. In songs like “La Raza,” El Chicano registered felt entitlements to human dignity by blending diverse soundtracks of existing popular listenership (rock, funk, soul, and ballads) in ways that resonated with unique expressions of Chicano leisure, labor, and collective identity. Songs like “Don’t Put Me Down If I’m Brown (Hear What I Say?)” validated popular demands for racial recognition and respect. Sound is a cultural form with significant spatial forces. Studying the sonic politics of Black and Brown musical forms reveals a process of economic, social, and political negotiation, a practice reflected in the infrapolitics of Black and Brown coalitional politics in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s. The sonic and spatial politics of El Chicano, Thee Midniters, and the interracial coalitions I examined above uphold the belief that the things that unite us are more important than the issues that divide us. Spatial entitlements articulated through direct action and sonic expression affirmed the collective consciousness that was essential to the freedom dreams crafted by artists and activists during this period. Most importantly, artists and activists reclaimed space through reimagining the significance of Black and Brown people on LA’s landscapes and soundscapes.

NOTES 1. Manley, Michael. Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery. London: Third World Media, 1982, p. 11. 2. “Telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Cesar Chávez.” In: Levy, Jacques, and Fred Ross, Jr., Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, p. 246. 3. Basso, Keith H. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. 4. Gramsci famously defined these wars as resistive acts generated through cultural productions and mass media sites to leverage greater class and/or varying collective consciousness. Gramsci, Antonio, Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International, 1971. 5. C.L.R. James further notes: “Whereas formerly the works of Marx and Lenin—and particularly their ideas about the development, freedom and emancipation of nationally oppressed people—were the key works studied by [European] political theorists, there is another movement today. The great upheavals in France in 1968, one of the most tremendous

political upheavals that has taken place in Europe, was organised under the slogans of Ho Chi Minh. . . . [I]n other words, people of the Third World and particularly the writings and speeches of blacks from America’s cities, are occupying a key place in the revolutionary thinking of European students.” Grimshaw, The C.L.R. James Reader, pp. 367–377. 6. Grimshaw, The C.L.R. James Reader, p. 21. See also, Kelley, Robin D.G. “Introduction.” In: James, C.L.R. A History of Pan-African Revolt. Chicago: Kerr, 1995, p. 17. 7. James, quoted in Kelley, “Introduction.” In: James, C.L.R., A History of Pan-African Revolt, p. 15. 8. James, A History of Pan-African Revolt, p. 18. 9. Johnson, Lyndon Baines. “Address Before the Joint Session of Congress” November 28, 1963. 10. For example, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in 1961, Robert Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Ahmadu Bello in 1966, and Ché Guevara in 1967. In 1968, Bobby Hutton, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were all assassinated. In 1969, Black Panthers John Huggins and Fred Hampton was killed, as well as Pan-Africanist Tom Mboya. In 1971, George Jackson was killed, and in 1973, Amilcar Cabral was murdered. 11. Robinson, Cedric J. Black Movements in America. New York: Routledge, 1997, pp. 151–153. 12. Noble, David. Death of a Nation: Cultural Politics and the End of Exceptionalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002. 13. Dymally, Mervyn M. “Afro-Americans and Mexican-Americans: The Politics of Coalition.” In: Wollenberg, Charles (Ed.), Ethnic Conflict in California History. Los Angeles: Tinnon-Brown, 1970, p. 166. 14. Alfonso, Barry. WAR Anthology, 1970–1994. Los Angeles: Avenue Records. 15. Ibid. 16. Bauman, Robert “Gender, Civil Rights Activism, and the War on Poverty in LA.” In: Orlech, Annelise, and Lisa Gayle Hazirjian (Eds.), The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964–1980. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011, p. 213. 17. Wyatt, David. Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 209.

18. Oliver, Melvin, and James Johnson, Jr. “Inter-Ethnic Conflict in an Urban Ghetto.” Research in Social Movements: Conflict and Change 6 (1984): 57–94. 19. Ávila, Eric. Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, p. 225. 20. Allen, James, and Eugene Turner The Ethnic Quilt: Population Diversity in Southern California. Northridge, CA: Center for Geographical Studies, 1997. 21. Avila, Eric R. “The Folklore of the Freeway: Space, Culture, and Identity in Postwar Los Angeles.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 23, no. 1 (1998): 26. 22. “Environmental Justice in Los Angeles: A Timeline.” Brochure by Environmental Defense, January 1999. 23. In addition, John Laslett has shown that the developments of the 1950s and 1960s prove that the city became more segregated in the postwar years than it had been in the past. Laslett, John. “Historical Perspectives: Immigration and the Rise of a Distinctive Urban Region, 1900–1970.” In: Waldinger, Robert, and Mehdi Bozorgmehr (Eds.). Ethnic Los Angeles. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1996, p. 60. 24. California Department of Industrial Relations. Fair Employment Practices Commission. “Negroes and Mexican Americans in South and East Los Angeles: Changes between 1960 and 1965.” 1965. Box 69, p. 23, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection, Department of Special Collections, University of Southern California Library, Los Angeles. 25. Ibid, p. 28. 26. Though he relied on the Black vote for this election, Yorty later dismissed their power during Tom Bradley’s challenge in 1969. Though he won the 1969 election, he lost to Bradley 4 years later; Bradley was Los Angeles’ first Black mayor. 27. Sonenshein, Raphael. “Biracial Coalition Politics in Los Angeles” PS 19 (Summer, 1986): 582–590. 28. Tyler, Bruce. “Black Radicalism in Southern California, 1950–1982” (PhD Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983), pp. 14, 312. 29. Pearson, Richard. “Combative Politician Sam Yorty Dies at 88.” Washington Post, Sunday, June 7, 1988, p. B08.

30. Carroll, Peter N., and David Noble. The Free and the Unfree: A Progressive History of the United States. New York: Penguin, 1977. 31. See Alice O’Connor, Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in 20th Century U.S. History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001; Quadagno, Jill. The Color of Welfare, How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 32. Horne, Gerald. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s. New York: Da Capo, 1997, p. 290. Horne quotes the Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1965, and October 29, 1965. 33. Wyatt, Five Fires, p. 201. 34. Bauman, Robert. Race and the War on Poverty: From Watts to East L.A. Tulsa: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. 35. Sides, Josh. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, p. 177. 36. See Nadasen, Premilla. “Expanding the Boundaries of the Women’s Movement: Black Feminism and the Struggle for Welfare Rights.” Feminist Studies 28, no. 2 (Summer, 2002): 270–301; Escalante, Alicia. “A Letter from the Chicana Welfare Rights Organization.” Encuentro Femenil 1, no. 2 (1974): 15–19. 37. Muñoz, Rosalío. “Our Moving Barrio: Why?” La Gente 5 (April 1973): 5, 9. Quoted in Villa, Raul Homero. Barrio-Logos: Space and Place in Urban Chicano Literature and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, p. 98. 38. Sides, L.A. City Limits, p. 180. 39. Ibid. 40. See Ethington, Philip J., William H. Frey, and Dowell Myers. The Racial Resegregation of Los Angeles County, 1940–2000 (Public Research Report No. 2001-04, May 2001). 41. Flint, Colin Robert. The Geography of War and Peace: From Death Camps to Diplomats. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 312– 313. 42. Neutra, Richard. Los Angeles Free Press, Friday, September 3, 1965, p. 3. 43. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles.

New York: Vintage Books, 1992. 44. Dewitt, Howard. The Fragmented Dream: Multicultural California. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1996. 45. Americans for the Reagan Agenda. A Time for Choosing: The Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 1961–1983. Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1983, p. 89. 46. Horne, Fire This Time, p. 281. 47. Wyatt, Five Fires, p. 210. 48. Robinson, Black Movements in America, p. 150. 49. McAdam, Doug. Freedom Summer, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 32. Also quoted in Robinson, Black Movements in America, p. 150. 50. Horne, The Fire This Time, pp. 13, 18. 51. Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 124. 52. Maeda, Daryl. “Black Panthers, Red Guards, and Chinamen: Constructing Asian American Identity through Performing Blackness, 1969–1972.” American Quarterly 57, no. 4 (December 2005): 1079–1103. Also quoted in Pulido, Laura. Black Brown Yellow and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006, p. 9. 53. Pulido, Black Brown Yellow and Left, p. 95. 54. Ibid., p. 153. 55. Arteaga, Alfred. “Frantz Fanon and the National Culture of Aztlán.” La Raza 2, no. 4 (January 1975): 16. 56. Parker, Heather Rose. “The Elusive Coalition: African American and Chicano Political Organization and Interaction in Los Angeles, 1960–1973” (PhD dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1996, p. 178. 57. Ibid., pp. 79-85. 58. Bauman, Race & The War on Poverty. 59. Parker, “The Elusive Coalition,” p. 178. 60. For the best discussion of this scholarship, see Kelley, Robin D.G. Yo Mama’s Disfunktional: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994.

61. Ibid., 182. 62. Torres, Esteban “Letter to the Editor.” Eastside Sun, October 30, 1969, p. 3. 63. Hall, Stuart “Ethnicity: Identity and Difference.” Radical America 23, no. 4 (October–December, 1989): 15. 64. Villegas, Timmi, and Lechuga, Franch. “Letter to the Editor.” CSM, November 1968, p. 9. 65. “The Poor Peoples March.” La Causa de Los Pobres, February 28, 1969, p. 2. 66. “In the Black and Chicano Communities of Los Angeles, Police Violence Is on the Rise.” La Raza 2, no. 4 (January 1975): 4. 67. “L.A. High School Revolt.” Los Angeles Underground 1, no. 10 (undated issue, 1968): 7. 68. Montejano, David. Chicano Politics and Society in the Late Twentieth Century. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998, p. 114. 69. Pulido, Black Brown Yellow and Left, p. 167. 70. Draper, Anne P. “Organized Pickers Strike Growers.” Los Angeles Free Press 2, no. 42, issue 65 (October 15, 1965): 1A. 71. “Cesar Chavez, Bobby, and Elaine Exchange Messages of Solidarity.” Black Panther, April 21, 1973, p. 14. Quoted in Pulido, Laura Black Brown Yellow and Left, p. 169. 72. Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s. Roanoke: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 250, Testimony of Paul Schrade, October 6, 1967, Kerner Commission Transcripts, Box 4, LBJ Library. 73. O’Toole, James. Watts and Woodstock: Identity and Culture in the United States and South Africa. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1973, p. 57. 74. For example, UAW Local 645 drove a Campaign to Keep General Motors Van Nuys Open (1982–1992), led by Eric Mann, Chris Mathis, and Rudy Acuna. This campaign challenged GM’s “management right” to shut down plants and lay off workers (the vast majority of whom were Black and Latino, and 15 percent of whom were women). 75. Zukin, Sharon. Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, p. 268.

76. Villa, Barrio-Logos, p. 1. 77. Ibid., p. 90. 78. Widener, Daniel. Black Arts West: Culture and Struggle in Postwar Los Angeles. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010, p. 4. 79. Wagner, Bryan, Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and Police Power after Slavery. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009, p. 1. 80. Blake, Art M. “Audible Citizenship and Audiomobility: Race, Technology, and CB Radio.” American Quarterly 63, no. 3 (September 2011): 531–553. 81. R. Murray Schafer coined this term to signify the “enculturated nature of sound . . . and the material spaces of performance and ceremony that are used or constructed for the purpose of propagating sound.” Schafer, R. Murray. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1993. 82. Szwed, John F. Space Is The Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra. New York: Da Capo Press, 1998. 83. Reyes David, and Tom Waldman. Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock ‘n’ Roll from Southern California. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998, pp. 100–128. 84. Wang, Oliver “The Journey of “Viva Tirado”: A Musical Conversation within Afro-Chicano Los Angeles.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 22, no. 4 (2010): 348–366. 85. Barry Alfonso, “Liner Notes” in War: Anthology (1970-1994) Avenue Records, 1994. 86. Hernández, Deborah Pacini. Oye Como Va! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005, p. 38. 87. George Lipsitz makes this point in A Rainbow at Midnight: Labor and Culture in the 1940s. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994, p. 259. 88. Dan Pollock, interview by author, April 2, 2001. 89. Dan Pollock, interview by author, April 2002. 90. Ibid. 91. Ibid.

92. García, Matt. “Memories of El Monte: Intercultural Dance Halls in Post-World War II Greater Los Angeles.” In: Willard, Michael Nevin, and Joe Austin (Eds.), Generations of Youth: Youth Culture and History in Twentieth Century America. New York: New York University Press, 1989, p. 157. 93. Bauman, Race and the War on Poverty, pp. 81–84. Tyler, Bruce M. The Rise and Decline of the Watts Summer Festival, 1965–1986.” American Studies 31, no. 2 (Fall, 1990): 61–81. 94. Horne, Fire This Time, pp. 203–204. 95. George Lipsitz has noted that some components of popular music have what he terms “a long fetch” of history. Lipsitz, George. Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, pp. vii–xxv.

CHAPTER 4

“Teeth-Gritting Harmony” Punk, Hip-Hop, and Sonic Spatial Politics

To reawaken, in the midst of a privatized and psychologizing society, obsessed with commodities and bombarded by the ideological slogans of big business, some sense of the eradicable drive towards collectivity that can be detected, no matter how faintly and feebly, in the most degraded works of mass culture just as surely as in the classics of modernism—is surely an indispensable precondition for any meaningful Marxist intervention in contemporary culture. —Fredric Jameson1

In order to understand the importance of spatial entitlement, we have to do more than just recognize the ways people assert entitlements to new and different spaces. We have to identify how aggrieved groups invest critical meaning into the spaces and situated identities they inhabit in everyday life. Yet the critical value of these meaningful spaces is not always easy to distinguish, even by the members of the communities that contain them. When conservative economic policies produce joblessness, poverty, and declining infrastructure, an outsider’s observation of a low-income neighborhood may yield only the most obvious indicators of economic inequality. It may be impossible to see how a dilapidated backyard becomes a weekly venue for music performances or how a discarded industrial warehouse can become an unauthorized cultural center. It may be even more difficult to distinguish why those spaces would hold spatial and historical significance for a community that has a seemingly compelling interest in overcoming the obstacles produced by their spatial location. In previous chapters, I illustrated how Black and Brown communities enacted spatial entitlement through claiming physical space when it was possible to do so. When those places were destroyed or otherwise made unavailable, they were re-created in symbolic discursive spaces. This chapter examines how spatial entitlement occurs when people articulate

the right to situate themselves within particular spatial histories and when they express a spatial claim to change the stakes of an existing space and to remake its meaning in relation to themselves and their communities. Collectivities based on shared geography often infuse local spaces with profound meaning based on memories of the past and hopes for the future. The desire to do so may be a result of collective historical displacement or cultural memory, or it may be grounded in visions of spatial democracy tied to a particular location or identity. In the 1970s and 1980s, supply-side economics exacted devastating fiscal damages upon working-class people. In response, a radical new cultural form emerged—punk music. This cultural form and its subcultures created new categories of identity through dreams of colorless solidarity and in the process predicated these categories upon a colorblind anarchy that demanded the subversion of all other forms of identity before it. One of the most illustrative examples of the articulation of the right to retain spatial and cultural identities rooted in meaningful history is registered in the cultural creations of Black and Latino punk musicians and their audiences from the late 1970s to the 1990s. It is hard to imagine how Pedro Infante, the most famous actor and singer of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, might have reacted had he lived long enough to realize his impact on punk music. As a child in the early 1960s, Alicia Armendariz accompanied her parents to the Spanishlanguage movies on “dos por uno” nights at The Million Dollar Theater on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. At that time “Broadway was still the vibrant commercial center of downtown L.A. and an important part of Latino life in the city.” As soon as the theater lights went down, Armendariz remembered, “we were transported to an impossibly glamorous black-andwhite version of Mexico.” Movies with actors like Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Libertad Lamarque, Pedro Armendáriz and Silvia Pinal were, to the Armendariz family, “escapism at its finest.” Armendariz found another mode of escape through the songs and performance style of Spanish pop singer and movie star, Rafael Martos Sánchez: “He had made a lasting impression on me with his dramatic, passionate singing style, while Pedro Infante . . . well, Pedro could wrap me around his finger with his romantic songs, bring out the feisty side of me when he was telling someone off or yank a tear from my eye if he was doing a sad song.”2 A decade later, Alicia Armendariz became Alice Bag, who was first a member of punk band Masque Era and then the visionary leader of The Bags. Bag remembers that while the other members of Masque Era refined their playing by practicing in traditional ways, “I always practiced using my own methods. . . . I danced and posed and made faces at myself.”3

Bag opined that in this respect, she was more like Rafael or Pedro Infante than any of her rock idols. As she remembered: Rafael and Pedro didn’t just sing a song: they delivered it, they exuded it; they lived it. Every word was audible, every syllable and inflection in their voices meant something. Imagine comparing a silent-era movie star to a modern actor; Pedro and Rafael did with their voices what silent actors did with their gestures. They were outsized and playing to the last row of the theater. At the time, I didn’t realize that Pedro and Rafael had more to do with how I felt about music and performance than did David Bowie, Elton John, or Freddie Mercury.”4 In his cultural history of British punk, Dick Hebdige argues that style— through the subversion of common objects—allowed punk youth to separate themselves symbolically from their cultural contexts, challenging tradition by denying the local and mass cultures from which they emerged. He contends that punk refused “to be grounded, ‘read back’ to its origins because punk style had made a decisive break not only with the parent culture but with its own location in experience.” As a result, white working class, “otherwise powerless” youth, transformed themselves into a subculture with much more significance. 5 Yet Black and Latino punk artists, audiences, and their collective cultural productions tell a very different story. Uruguayan-American punk musician and cultural critic Martin Sorrondeguy explains, For us, singing punk doesn’t mean letting go . . . of these ties that we have to our parents, to our families, or to where we’re from or to our language. It [doesn’t] mean breaking away from that. It means working with them to try to get somewhere, to get to a new level. 6 Bag’s and Sorrondeguy’s narratives stand in sharp distinction to Hebdige’s claim. Bag’s entrenchment in Mexican and Mexican-American popular cultural traditions and Sorrondeguy’s characterization of a punk identity rooted in family, place, and language require a radical rethinking of the meaning of punk politics and their relation to race and place. As working-class subcultures, Black and Latino punk musicians, audiences, and their productions divulge more than the terrible costs of economic downsizing and deindustrialization for communities of color: they reveal social identities forged from the collective witness and shared experience of racial and class inequality. They create a new framework of interracial and transnational affiliations rooted in local experiences of

racism, struggle, and displacement. In the 1970s and 1980s in Los Angeles, Black and Brown antiracist politics were fashioned from a unique sense of self that included collective memories of displacement because of urban renewal, exile, and labor migration and memories of struggle in race-based mobilizations for rights, resources, recognition, and peace. This shared sense of self was connected to the people and places surrounding these social actors. The rejection of inequality and the embrace of social justice that characterize the cultural productions examined in this chapter produce what Louis Althusser (in another context) has called “teeth-gritting harmony.” In “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” Althusser describes how the different parts of the social formation—the family, education, the mass media, and cultural and political institutions—together serve to perpetuate submission to the ruling ideology. However, these institutions do not perform this function through the direct transmission of “ruling ideas.” Instead, it is the way in which they work together in this teeth-gritting harmony that the ruling ideology is reproduced “precisely in its contradictions.”7 I use the term ironically here to suggest a “harmony of rejection” that exposed the effects of deindustrialization, worsening poverty and racism, and the xenophobia that appeared poised to permanently destroy the futures of Black and Brown communities in the 1980s and 1990s. Teeth-gritting harmony refers to the cultural productions and interracial coalitions that sought to interrupt submission to the ruling ideology. Several scholars have examined working-class–identified punk music and musicians,8 as an important intersection between state power and the subcultures that resist it, or that at least, as Hebdige observes, “represent the experience of contradiction.”9 But punks of color created critical interventions that reveal significant gaps in academic scholarship and popular historiography on punk subcultures. Traditionally, historiographies of popular music pay very little attention to the critical crossroads of punk, poverty, racism, and racial identity. The contributions of punk groups of color, such as Bad Brains, Fishbone, The Brat, Los Illegals, The Bags, The Undertakers, and The Plugz have too often been elided in research that focuses on more mainstream punk groups. 10 Our understanding of Black and Chicano music and politics in this period is incomplete without engaging the crossroads occupied by Black and Latino punk subcultures. Doing so reveals the staggering results of Reaganomics on Black and Chicano communities in Los Angeles and evidences collective grassroots responses through themes engaged directly by punks of color: a frustration with urban decay and persistent racism and a struggle to create new

collective identities that reflect radical new perspectives on race, gender, class, and location. Punk music from Los Angeles illustrates a rejection of economic inequality—the things that were, literally, shouted back at sources of injustice. The narratives offered by Black and Chicano punk musicians and audiences transform the historiography of punk, offering a unique optic through which to understand alternative modes of selfrepresentation and cultural expression. They provide us with alternative understandings of social and discursive space and reveal the sources of collective power that have generated new racial, sexual, and gender identities among marginalized youth. Racial and spatial politics found in Black and Brown punk cultural productions require an alternative understanding of why and how situated knowledge is valued by its creators, even when there is a strong impetus for them to set it aside in lieu of a seemingly more privileged collective identity vis-à-vis mainstream assimilation. In order to understand the value of these productions, we must first look at the context out of which they emerged.

REAGANOMICS AND LOS ANGELES Reagan never used blatantly racist language, because he didn’t have to. —Manning Marable11

“Reaganomics” was the most serious attempt to change the course of U.S. economic policy since the New Deal. When Reagan took office in 1981, his solution to the worst economic downturn since the Depression was to propose that the supply side of the economy be stimulated through tax cuts for the wealthy, providing an opportunity for the upper class to acquire, and presumably invest, more money. Economic terms like “supply side” and “trickle down” suggested that reducing taxes for the wealthy would free individuals and businesses to expand their operations domestically and internationally, thereby maximizing economic gain for all social classes. The central theme of Reaganomics, therefore, was that a reduction in taxes for the wealthy would provide greater investment opportunities to the upper class, eventually leading to the creation of more jobs for the working class. 12 Instead, the United States accrued more debt during the Reagan administration than in any other era: when Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the national debt was approximately $1 trillion, a figure that included all accrued debt from the Revolutionary, Spanish-American, Civil, Korean, Vietnam, and both World Wars. While it took the United States more than 200 years to accumulate that balance, in the eight years that Reagan was in office it had increased by $2.5 trillion. 13 The redistribution and expansion of wealth during this period set the stage for the decline of

living standards for the poorest Americans, while the incomes of the wealthiest citizens soared. The Reagan administration diverted American angst about the economy toward the Soviet Union. According to Michael Rogin, Reagan succeeded in making himself “the benign center of America, placing malignancies outside our borders.” Having raised anxiety about the permeability of American boundaries, Reagan “split the good within the country from the bad without. Evil, he reassure[d] us, [was] out there in visible spots that [could] be identified and removed.”14 This ideology supported a national economy focused on defense. During the 1980s, California’s share of primary defense contracts averaged 20 percent15; in 1984, federal primary defense contracts in California were valued at $28.5 billion, more than double the volume just four years earlier. 16 This commitment to defense spending meant a drastic reduction in government programs for the working class. By the mid-1980s, for example, the Liberty Hill Foundation (a strong supporter of social services) was reporting dozens of grant applications that proposed basic services formerly provided by the government. Groups such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Los Angeles Coalition to End Homelessness and Hunger became major de facto service providers. 17 Holly Sklar demonstrates that since the 1970s the top 1 percent of households have doubled their share of the national wealth, while the average net worth of the bottom 40 percent went from $4,000 to $900 between 1983 and 1995. Likewise, the percent with zero or negative net wealth increased during the same period, from 15.5 percent to 18.5 percent. Income inequality was staggering: between 1980 and 1993, salaries for American CEOs increased by 514 percent while workers’ wages rose by 68 percent. 18 In California, major economic gains were recorded during the 1980s, the most significant in its history in absolute terms. But one of the main factors in the growth of the state was an increase in funds flowing into the state’s defense-related industries, a classic indication of Reaganomics at work. The surge in available jobs in defense-related industries was not something from which historically marginalized populations generally benefited: most African-American and Latina/Latino workers had only recently gained access into the well-paying jobs in heavy manufacturing and were increasingly concentrated in service jobs. One study estimated that employees defense-related positions made nearly double the per capita income level of service jobs, an area of labor that was rapidly becoming nearly exclusively Latino and immigrant. 19

There were gains for particular sectors of both the state and national economies in the 1980s. But those gains were concomitant with (and largely based upon) drastic losses for the working class. In Los Angeles, deindustrialization, exportation of jobs to low-wage economies abroad, and the sharp decrease in social spending led to a decline in real wages in traditionally strong union labor sectors. In 1983, the cost of an hour’s labor time in the United States was $12.26. The hourly savings for using foreign labor that year amounted to $10.81 in Mexico, $10.09 in Singapore, $6.06 in Japan, and $10.97 in Korea: U.S. companies that had been located in Los Angeles relocated to take advantage of this sharp difference in wages. 20 On the whole in Los Angeles, African Americans, Chicana/Chicanos, and Latina/Latinos were the most affected by these changes. Not quite two decades after minorities gained legitimate entree into Los Angeles’s bestpaying blue collar jobs, devastating plant closures hit the city: by 1988 not one of the auto, rubber, or steel plants was left standing. 21 The resulting loss of industrial jobs caused a 20 percent decline in the area’s AfricanAmerican population. Some 75,000 left South Central for the Inland Empire, doubling its African-American population. This latter trend had its roots in the economic restructuring of the 1970s, when many jobs in heavy industry were eliminated; it was here and in the area of durable consumer goods, traditionally the strongholds of high-wage organized labor, where manufacturers either abandoned factories to imports or shifted overseas or to areas where organized labor is weakest. But Black flight also occurred as a result of upward class mobility: Latino immigrants flocked to Los Angeles service and garment industry jobs in part because many Blacks and U.S.-born Latinas/Latinos had managed to rise above them during the preceding decade. Yet the impact of the 1980s economic downturn on young people was most telling: looking back on the 1980s, the Children’s Defense Fund reported in 1994 that the percentage of children living in poverty in America rose annually during the Reagan and Bush administrations. By 1991, it had reached 21.8 percent (14.3 million children), marking a twenty-six-year high. By 1994, every day twenty-seven children were dying because of their living in poverty. Among Black males ten to twenty-four years of age, homicide became the leading cause of death. 22 The number of young workers entering the job market declined during the 1980s, but unemployment among young people remained high. In 1979, 15 percent of eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds were unemployed, as were 9 percent of twenty- to twenty-four-year-olds. In 1986, unemployment among the eighteen-to-nineteen-year age group was 17 percent, and among the

twenty-to-twenty-four-year age group, 11 percent, despite the fact that the size of the eighteen-to-nineteen-year age group declined by 14 percent during this period and the twenty-to-twenty-four-year age group by 4 percent. The recession of the early 1980s was especially difficult for young people, with 22 percent of eighteen- to nineteen-year olds unemployed in 1982. 23 Evidence of a slack job market for young workers appeared in their low labor-force participation rates, more involuntary part-time employment, and persistent unemployment. 24 As the service sector clamored for entry-level employees, many young workers opted instead for more education and training. Those who decided to look for work competed with baby boomers who delayed entering the job market while they went to school. 25 During the 1980s, much of the 17 percent growth in Los Angeles overall was among the Latino and Asian populations. Swelled by an influx of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, and other parts of the world, Los Angeles emerged in the 1980s as the nation’s most multicultural city, adding almost 1.3 million Latino residents. 26 It attracted the largest share of immigrants from 1975 to 1984 (18 percent), with 41 percent of Central American immigrants and 28 percent of Mexican immigrants living there in 1985, leading to the creation of new immigrant neighborhoods, cultural identities, and social realities. In this dire economic context, oppositional cultures and oppositional identities emerged. In England, punk rock originated as a popular musical movement during the late 1970s among lower socioeconomic communities of youth who saw their families and neighborhoods suffer devastating losses under the fiscally conservative policies of Thatcherism. Principally associated with the term of Margaret Thatcher (yet well-established by the time she became the Prime Minister of England), Thatcherism was driven by privatization and a radical shift to neoclassical economic practices, and a conscious shift of power away from local government. Eric Evans notes: Thatcher had no difficulty identifying what she was against: state interference with individual freedom; state initiatives that encourage an ethos of “dependence”; woolly consensuality; high levels of taxation; the propensity of both organized labour and entrenched professional interests to distort market forces; and a reluctance to be “pushed around,” either personally or as a nation-state . . . their obvious antitheses guide[d] policy: individual rights; private enterprise within a free market; firm, perhaps authoritarian, leadership; low levels of personal taxation; union and vested interest bashing; simple

patriotism. 27 Taking as its primary nemesis the economic conditions created by Thatcherism, English punk also emerged as West Indian immigration to England was at its height. While it expressed frustrations with prescribed social conventions, some of its white working-class identity politics culminated in xenophobia and a denial of the influences of West Indian musical forms. Deregulated economies were disastrous for the U.S. working class. Furthermore, their beneficiaries reaffirmed their own ideological authority over historically aggrieved populations in devastating ways. Wealthy elites projected a vision of decentralized public state power while valorizing private power, endorsing perceptions that the working poor, and not government policy or corporate capitalism, were to blame for their own condition. 28 In the 1980s, scholars like Arthur Schlesinger, Laurence Auster, and Richard Brookhiser supported this movement by denigrating the institutionalization of histories and contributions of people of color. For these scholars, ethnic studies and the more mainstream “multiculturalism” movement threatened “the American way of life,” with the threat lying in what Schlesinger termed an “unprecedented . . . protest against the Anglocentric culture” that “today threatens to become a counterrevolution against the original theory of America as . . . a common culture, a single nation.”29 These scholars’ approaches to public discussions of race were accompanied by the actions of politicians and pundits, who sanctioned an “authoritarian version of color-blindness,” and the manipulation of white racial fears. This discourse strove to protect white privilege and power by pretending that racial inequality no longer existed,”30 a sentiment that was offered up for mass consumption in political, scholarly, and popular ways. 31 In popular terms, this often manifested in the expansion of the visibility of people of color in order to project a picture of an economically and morally solid American middle class. The Cosby show, for example, presented a positive portrayal of African Americans while simultaneously suggesting that their existence was a result of the end of racism and economic discrimination. 32 In this context, many of the Chicana, Chicano, and Black youth who became punk artists describe the ways that these processes marginalized alternative racial and sexual identities. This occurred not only through white racism, but also through intergenerational misunderstandings within aggrieved communities about style, vernacular culture, and identity. As in other movements in other historical moments, these intergroup tensions

revealed the stakes that older generations have in being perceived as deserving and productive citizens. The pressure to conform to middle-class ideals contributed to a compounded process of marginalization: many Black and Brown punks already felt the structural pressures of poverty and racism, but they also experienced marginalization by strict categories of racial and gender identification within their own communities. For example, Alice Bag remembers being spurned by Garfield High School classmates for being nongender normative and unfashionable: One afternoon during lunchtime, the Garfield High MeCHa [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlán (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan)] organizers had set out a table to recruit new students for their organization. I remembered the cool Brown Berets I had seen at the Chicano Moratorium a few years back, and I was excited to think that I was finally old enough to be a Chicana activist and maybe even a Brown Beret, but the people I met that day snickered and whispered conspiratorially to each other as I walked toward their table. Instead of telling me about their organization, they asked me why I was wearing what I was wearing. They made me feel rejected even though they didn’t outwardly insult me; their sideways glances and smirks let me know what they thought of me. . . . guess I looked a little too freaky for them, and they thought I couldn’t seriously care about Chicano politics, but they were wrong.”33 The experience of being an outsider was one that manifested in different alienations among Black and Brown punk participants, and joining a punk subculture did not always alleviate this feeling. Bag’s experience was echoed by Subsistencia drummer José Palafox, who “felt like an outsider to everything, whether it be school, or punk rock, or even the Chicano movement.”34 John McKnight of Fishbone recalled that being Black was “the problem,” since white “rock-n-roll kids” couldn’t understand a Black band playing rock-n-roll, and the Black listeners “were expecting hip hop.”35 For many of these youth, a remedy for exclusion from their own communities was to create and belong to a “culture within a subculture,” a space created within the punk movement that expressed the everyday realities of a being a person of color. Many punks of color felt solidarity with one another because of the ways they were different. Bag opines that early punk “was as much a rejection of the status quo as it was the product of the rejects of the status quo.”36 In many ways inspired to action by alienation, Black and Brown punk youth fashioned soundscapes and style

politics that they could savor and understand together. The following section will focus on the punk expressions of Black and Brown youth, with particular (but not exclusive) attention to Los Angeles.

THE EMERGENCE OF LATINO, CHICANA/CHICANO, AND BLACK PUNK The Latino punk scene really exploded because all of a sudden we had a hell of a lot to sing about. What started happening politically in the U.S. in the eighties pissed us off so much, and we were feeling targeted and we were feeling so cornered as a community that we began writing songs about it. —Martín Sorrondeguy37

Beginning in the late 1970s, Black and Latina/Latino punks began creating musical subcultures that drew heavily from working-class histories and identities, that embraced alternative racial and sexual identities, and that challenged widely held assumptions that punk was an exclusively white subculture. The group Bad Brains (from Washington, DC) began their innovations in 1979 after hearing The Sex Pistols, Eater, and The Clash. The Clash’s version of “Police and Thieves,” as well as music by Bob Marley, introduced Bad Brains to reggae. Bad Brains created a mix of funk, reggae, and punk, which made them one of the definitive American hard-core punk groups of the early 1980s. “It was different, because we were all Black and playing punk rock music.”38 Daryl Jenifer recounts, “All the while we was jazz, we wanted to innovate. We wanted to be part of something new and different and real. We was continually seeking. And then I saw the Sex Pistols album, and I said, ‘BOOM!’ This is it!”39 Many Black artists formed punk bands because they had been exposed to the music through their own school and friendship networks and because they were interested in new directions in Black music. For example, Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore remembers, “we started out in the [high school] music room playing Bootsy [Collins] and Rick James and Led Zeppelin covers, and we just stuck together.”40 John McKnight explains, “I went to a very white school . . . they wanted to integrate schools. They bussed in kids from the inner city. That’s where I met my band.” McKnight’s parents had moved to LA from the South, eventually settling in the South LA neighborhood of Crenshaw. Eventually, they moved to the San Gabriel Valley, where “we were like Black flies in the butter milk.”41 Angelo Moore remembers: [We were] mad about the racism out here in the valley, you the only black family out here, you got people who every once in awhile driving

by and calling you a nigger, you know that kind of shit gets to you after awhile man. When I got hip to slam dancin’, oh I was all up in the mosh pit. Tryin’ to expel them demons. 42 The experiences of busing and living in white neighborhoods only served to magnify the differences Fishbone band members observed between Black communities in South Los Angeles and the Valley and led to artistic articulations about these realities: You grow up Black in America in a neighborhood where you see people get shot and the police not show up . . . it makes you look at the world in a different way. You start to question your government, your purpose, and I think we stylistically went so many different places, because we wanted to unify everybody. 43 Punk culminated in a serious musical subculture in the late 1970s in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Originating in the “garage musician” style of the 1960s, punk in its various forms began with musicians who were untrained in musical and vocal performance, situating it outside of formal categorization from its beginnings. In Los Angeles, punk bands began forming in earnest after the popular reception of bands such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. By the early 1980s, LA punk sounds emerging from The Germs, The Dils, The Screamers, and The Alley Cats evolved into the most dominant form of punk in LA—hard core and embodied in the sonic articulations of The Circle Jerks and Black Flag. As Bag and other punks of color recount, it was sound and social experience that informed their transformation into punks. This is why the experiences of spatial isolation, racism, and personal alienation that Moore describes were important precursors to the sonic spatial entitlements enacted by Fishbone. As Moore explains, these experiences impacted their style politics, musically and visually. The entitlement they expressed, therefore, was both intergroup and intragroup, in that they commanded the right to exist as they were in Black cultural contexts, in white neighborhoods, and in punk subcultures. Fishbone’s style has its beginnings in funk and rock, but reggae constitutes one of its major underpinnings. The influence of West Indians moved both ways across the Atlantic in this respect, remaining one of the paradigm-changing contributions of Black culture to punk. Some scholars of punk have called reggae a “present absence” in punk music: Hebdige characterizes the formation of the punk sound as intrinsically linked with the incorporation of the reggae sound and politics that influenced it so

heavily, saying, “Reggae and punk were audibly opposed. Where punk depended on the treble, reggae depended on the bass. Where punk launched frontal assaults on the established meaning systems, reggae communicated through ellipsis and allusion. . . . To use a term from semiotics, we could say that punk includes reggae as a ‘present absence’— a black hole around which punk composes itself.”44 Most scholarship on British punk has ignored the reggae influences in music by bands like The Clash as well as the Jamaican sounds of ska bands like The Specials. 45 This is an absence that is manifested not only in scholarship on punk, but also in its everyday practice. Maxwell Tremblay argues: According to the rhetorical framing of some of its most revered institutions, the punk scene is meant to be “our” refuge from an unfeeling and unjust world, and “punk” as a designator is meant to be salient prior to other differences. Punk is a category that we can all claim before or outside of our other cultural investments, in the face of which we should all be able to remove our various hats, place our hands over our hearts, and salute the (Black) flag. 46 The first time Martin Sorrondeguy heard punk musicians from Latin America, he noted their urgency: “I mean, it was pissed off. And I realized there was this transnational connection. They were singing about poverty and all these issues. So [our band, Los Crudos] made a conscious decision to sing in Spanish. . . . [W]e were getting some ears that wouldn’t have been turning before.”47 Los Crudos’ only English-language song was entitled, “We’re That Spic Band.” In this song, Los Crudos demanded that “raceless White punks,” as Tremblay has argued, “acknowledge the history of people of color in punk rock: Poly Styrene, The Brat, Alice Bag, The Zeros, Alien Kulture, Bad Brains, and all the non-white bands and fans that were there from the start.”48 Migration and exile shape the cultures of expression in which Sorrondeguy participates. His experience as part of an immigrant family, as a Latino in a country that routinely denies his community racial and civic inclusion, and as an actor in Latino punk subcultures make his particular references to Latin America an instructive example of the spatial politics of cognitive mapping. Out of Sorrondeguy’s experiences and their integration into punk musical performance and dissemination, a global vision is constructed that enables audiences and participants to create new meanings for the spatial contexts in which they situate themselves and related historical events. 49

Tremblay asserts that “the dreams of solidarity of the earliest generations of white punks were predicated upon distinguishing and essentializing punk as white people’s music, eliding the experiences and contributions of punks of color.”50 Because punk has historically announced itself as a white space, and because the history of Black and Brown contributions have been historically denied, it is arguable that the decision to sing in Spanish (notably, on the aptly named Lengua Armada label) constitutes a spatial claim. Lengua Armada (literally, “armed tongue/language”) is a fitting descriptor for a felt entitlement to occupy vernacular space. This invokes what VéVé Clark has called “diaspora literacy,” or a skill for both narrator and reader which demands a knowledge of historical, social, cultural, and political development generated by lived and textual experience. Throughout the twentieth century, diaspora literacy has implied an ease and intimacy with more than one language, with interdisciplinary relations among history, ethnology, and the folklore of regional expression. 51 Latino punk artists generated alternative cognitive maps through the narration of radical politics and affiliations, narrowing the spatial gap between local and international struggles. Moreover, rejecting the notion that punk must be sung in English, Los Crudos and other all-Spanish bands such as Subsistencia and Huasipungo articulate an entitlement to occupy both literal and vernacular space. Palafox explains the felt meaning of this expressed right to occupy sonic and meaningful space: “Everyday we see our Aunts or our Uncles working these fucked up jobs; those types of bands for me are really important for me because they bring those things out, they bring those issues out. A lot of punk bands don’t talk about those things.”52 The rhetorical spatial claim made by Los Crudos and their supporters rejects historical and vernacular erasure by denying the hegemony of white punk narratives. Black and Brown punk subcultures express not just the articulation of spatial entitlement and the performance of new forms of social membership, but they do so in the context of the material realities among poor and working-class people connected through migration and displacement and through a desire to express these realities across new collectivities. This can change the kind of optic that social actors have, yielding critical understandings of the ways that people are connected over time and space. As I detailed above, many Black and Brown punk artists experienced

marginalization from their own communities for embracing alternative lifestyles. In this sense, punk discourses have often deployed irony to express, evade, or assert the locations of their creators in a hierarchy of social belonging. Alice Bag recalls feeling that once she and her contemporaries had fully embraced punk culture, LA “had grown too small for us. We belonged in Transsexual, Transylvania,”53 referring to the punk style politics that challenged heteronormativity. Bag joined other Brown and Black punks whose embrace of gender-ambiguous clothing and hairstyles often marginalized them even further from their communities. Nonetheless, Bag recognized the ways that multiple social movements and radical histories were interpolated into her own: I was able to situate my participation in the birth of the West Coast punk scene within a much broader historical context, one that was not at all obvious to me at the time it was happening. What started out as a series of autobiographical blog entries ended up telling the story of several social movements that personally affected me: the Chicano movement, feminism, gay rights. My particular form of punk expression was also deeply affected by my childhood. I was born in East L.A., the daughter of Mexican immigrants and I entered the U.S. educational system as a non-English speaking student. 54 Black punks facing similar forms of exclusion, from both their communities and society as a whole, often deployed some of the same strategies of irony to address important identity issues. Irony was the foundation of performance by the Black LA punk band the Bus Boys, who dressed like waiters and confronted their most obvious “difference” from other punk artists and audiences by embracing, then diffusing, racial typecasting in their performances. Audience members would hear, “I’ll bet you never heard music like this by spades!” On their first album, Minimum Wage Rock & Roll, songs turned stereotypes (such as the phrase “yassuh, boss”) into vicious tools of satire. 55 The use of irony and parody in performance was a strategic pedagogical deployment of important messages about being a person of color in an apparently white genre. It often masked the pain felt by its authors. Critic and ’zine writer Tasha Fierce has summed up this sentiment succinctly: “I am ostracized by the black community and I am only partially accepted by the punk rock community as a token of punk’s fight against racism.”56 Juana Rodriguez has observed that: identity politics’ seeming desire to cling to explicative postures, unified

subjecthood, or facile social identifications has often resulted in repression, self-censorship, and exclusionary practices that continue to trouble organizing efforts and work against the interests of full human rights, creative individual expression, and meaningful social transformation. 57 Rodriguez describes how she came to understand, at the age of fourteen, the “yearnings of freedom and desire” through dance. Bars constituted a place where “my dancing body has found a home, each new space requiring a moment of initiation where new rules of spaces and identities are learned and performed, each enacting a process of coding and decoding bodies and spaces.” Rodriguez recalls that “these spaces of familia . . . taught me almost everything I now know about queer, about desire, about bodies on the margins, and dance floors creating momentary centers. 58 What Rodriguez describes about queer musical spaces, her scholarly inquiry into queer identity, and the topographies of cyberspace are also a description of how “subjects incessantly engage in encrypting identity and breaking the codes they and others have scripted.” In these in-between spaces, “names begin to lose meaning as markers of social positionality, identities come undone from the carnal realities of individual bodies . . . [even as] the social significance and the identity multiples created through them . . . continue to be regulated by the dictates of cultural narratives.”59 The enactment of new identities and sonic politics from the in-between spaces of punk subculture that Black and Brown punk youth often occupy constitutes a form of spatial entitlement: the right to exist as and express the frustration and liberation associated with being neither simply punk nor unproblematically Chicano or Black.

SPACE, HISTORY, AND CONNECTIVITY At the beginning of this chapter, I argued that the adherence to familial and cultural ties within Black and Brown punk subcultures constitute a unique form of spatial entitlement. Sorrondeguy’s assertion that punk was not about breaking with parental tradition reveals a spatial politics of staying, rooting, and grounding in history and tradition. In articulating these connections, many Chicano and Black artists were trying to do something more meaningful and complex than escape the strictures of their everyday existence: many were finding new ways to make their own and their communities’ histories relevant to punk identity. For some Black and Chicano punk artists and participants, the seemingly “raceless” space that

punks created in performances was appealing as means of asserting individuality and distinctiveness. Yet, as all of these artists and participants have described, everyday experiences, community living, and meaningful histories made race an inescapable—and often embraceable—part of the way they experienced the punk subculture. In some cases, the spatial politics of “staying” made the relationship of local struggles to distant spaces more visible. Nigel Thrift has argued that regions matter not only ontologically but also epistemologically and that no social process is manifest in the same way in different places. In that vein, Sorrondeguy observes, “a lot of the Latino/Chicano punks living in the US still have ties to family and friends in Latin America and those ties are strong. So when things get desperate or intense in Latin America it is a concern for many living here as well.”60 Los Crudos, The Brat, and other bands conscious of these trans-national ties created place-specific narratives that emphasized their situated knowledge while simultaneously creating affinity with what appeared to be distant struggles. For example, Los Crudos’ “La Caida de Latino America” (“The Fall of Latin America”) connected the racism and economic exploitation experienced by aggrieved communities in the Latino diaspora, describing the ways that countries are “infiltrated” by western powers, and emphasizing the responsibility of individuals to maintain unity: Atrapados, separados, abusados, torturados Confundidos, desunidos, abandonados, rejodidos Y ya no sabemos quien es nuestro enemigo. . . Se infiltraron en nuestros paises Es una forma de controlar Banderas y Fronteras, un espejismo de libertad. . . Que vas a hacer? Tu sos responsible Cada uno de nosotros es culpable Y cada uno de nosotros lo puede combatir. 61 Trapped, separated, abused, tortured Confused, disjointed, abandoned, rejodidos And I do not know who our enemy is . . . They infiltrated our countries It’s a way to control Flags and Borders, an illusion of freedom . . . What are you doing? You’re responsible Each of us is guilty And each of us can fight.

“Tiempos de la miseria” argued that Latinos around the world suffered from the same sickness: governments. It called for people to renounce the consumer culture that obscures societal problems: Todos sufrimos del mismo enfermedad. Se llama: gobierno Basta! De tener la gente viviendo en la miseria. . . Nos dicen comprar! Comprar! Comprar!. . . Creen que si no vemos las problemas Entonces las problemas no existen. . . 62 All of us suffer the same infirmity Its name is: government Basta! To have the people living in misery. . . They tell us, buy! Buy! Buy! They think if we don’t see the problems, Then the problems don’t exist. . . Thrift has termed this process “reconstituted regionalism,” arguing that it underscores connections among different regions, their linkages to the global division of labor, and the issue of the production of spatial scale. With respect to punk, reconstituted regionalism allows us to shift our focus to the exercise of power by punk musicians and their cultural productions by emphasizing performative, embodied knowledges. When the spatial symbolism of homeland is expressed through Latino punk subcultures, and when the experiences of school desegregation find their way into Black punk expression, punk reveals its relationship to disjuncture and rupture. Structural racism engenders a spatial activity that would seem, following Hebdige’s description, anathema to punk sensibilities: the ability to “stay”—to situate oneself within trans-historical spatial politics that value community history, tradition, and memory—can therefore be as radical as laying claim to a new space. Ash Amin imagines a “relationally imagined regionalism” in which people occupying particular places are immersed in a multitude of relational networks, compelling their inhabitants to understand “what the stakes are in living within difference and everyday global connectivity.” 63 Taken together, Thrift’s and Amin’s suggestions describe something that has always occurred in Black and Latino communities: the understanding that one’s political community, or the source of one’s solidarity with others, is fluid—without geographic boundaries—even as one’s experience in a community may have fixed spatial parameters. In this regard, Amin concludes that regions should be thought of as “nodes in public spheres” that intersect with each other,

“supporting different and multiple geographies of belonging and political practice.”64 For Los Crudos and other Latino punk bands, connections to spaces and places where people were similarly aggrieved were both personal and political. These spaces were invoked in song, and the distance between literal places became less a distance than a connective space, which opened up possibilities of affiliation and resemblance. The relationally imagined regionalism implemented through trans-national affiliations among aggrieved groups was an important form of spatial politics engaged in by Latino punks. It asserted a spatial right to exist in spite of the “borders and flags” that Los Crudos insists are one way of creating divisions among oppressed groups. Chicanos in Los Angeles had reason to enact other forms of spatial entitlement—namely the right to congregate and perform in meaningful spaces. Lipsitz notes that people seeking freedom have “found it necessary to address the injuries of race by fashioning new understandings of space. [And that others] changed the stakes of space through schemes that turned sites of containment and confinement into spaces of creativity and community making.”65 Chicanos on LA’s East Side were forced to change the stakes of space in their community when they found themselves unable to book performances at any of the major West Side punk venues unless it was “East L.A. Night.” For example, Chicana punk band The Brat were limited to playing car shows and backyard parties in their own and surrounding neighborhoods. Rudy Brat recalled that booking agents “always wanted us to play rancheras and stuff . . . but that’s what they expected, and they had a hard time categorizing us.”66 Other punk bands chose particularly unlikely venues available to them: Los Illegals’ biggest early gig at an East Side Jewish temple yielded a full house of Chicanos in platform shoes and glitter. 67 The punk scene that established itself on the West Side of Los Angeles by the mid-1980s was, for all intents and purposes, a white space, and Black and Latino punks describe this as a marginalizing experience. “When I went to shows on the Westside,” remembers Teresa Covarrubias, lead singer of The Brat, “I always got a sense that I was an outsider. There was always a hint of racism in the punk movement in Hollywood. It wasn’t always overt, but it was there.”68 Chicana drummer Michelle Gonzalez of the Chicano punk group Spitboy and Instant Girl, observed, People in the punk music scene are notorious for saying “racism sucks”

but when it comes down to it . . . there’s like, desirable people of color and then there’s undesirable people of color. And it’s like, you’re too Brown, too down, you’re gonna like piss somebody off or you’re gonna make somebody feel uncomfortable. 69 “Our scene was invisible and unrecognized,” remembered Willie Herron: It wasn’t anything that many other bands or writers were interested in. When they would review our shows, they just didn’t get it. We had to remain in the shadows. We couldn’t be ourselves and represent the East L.A. we knew. We couldn’t be white punkers, and we didn’t want to be white punkers. We were trying to come up with our sound. 70 To remedy this limitation, East LA musical and visual artists created spaces like The Vex, a performance venue housed in Self-Help Graphics, as well as grassroots record companies like Fatima Records. Brian Qualls of The Warriors (a band of predominantly Black East Siders) recalled the antiracist framework erected by “crowds of mixed races from all sides of the city” and mixed bands who came together where “punk was another word for unity. If you showed up, you weren’t just pledging allegiance to a new vision of punk, you were pledging allegiance to a new vision of L.A.”71 These spaces were antiracist not because they were “raceless,” but because they were spaces of mutual understanding where people produced and shared the sounds that affirmed social and cultural belonging. Despite the multiple spatial assaults against Latino and Black neighborhoods in every decade of the twentieth century, and despite the reconstitution (and in some cases, evisceration) of those neighborhoods, for many residents, “the lessons learned or transmitted about earlier community-turf battles helped some barrio residents to defend their placerights.”72 In terms of punk, the history of displacement has often manifested itself in fiercely expressed entitlements to collective rights to human dignity and respect and to have the spaces that communities have held onto treated with respect. This racially mixed scene was instrumental in creating crossover audiences and recognition for East LA punk bands of the 1980s. For many young people from East LA and Hollywood, these spatial acts became a vehicle for entering, even if temporarily, usually segregated social spaces across the city. 73 There were art shows by Chicana and Chicano artists, specially commissioned mural paintings, cultural street fairs, and even mainstream band performances, such as an event featuring the Chicano

band Los Lobos. 74 Like the weekly broadcasts by Dick Hugg and Hunter Hancock made possible by Dolphin’s of Hollywood in the 1950s, these events attracted people from all over Los Angeles to see Latino bands in East LA, creating integrated places in a most unexpected way. Chicano youth, marginalized by the West Side rock scene, enticed West Side youth —who otherwise refused to see Chicano culture as cosmopolitan or as worthy of their interest—to the East Side. 75 Studying punk music reveals an important location of gender spatial politics. Popular and scholarly writing about the racial and gender configurations of punk as a popular practice tend to cast the scene as nihilistic in spirit, only white, and mostly male, thereby closing off analysis of and input from women and women of color. Yet LA was a critical site for the emergence of Chicana punks, and therefore it became one of the few places at that time where women and their bands challenged predominating ideologies of masculinity within punk, not to mention the moralism that characterized the 1980s’ New Right politics. The Bags’ Alice Bag and The Brat’s Teresa Covarrubias, for example, were two of the few female lead singers who emerged from the male-dominated East LA punk scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Chicana punks were doing more than making spatial claims as punks, they were claiming discursive and sonic space for themselves within the punk subculture. Covarrubias, an aspiring poet before she helped to form The Brat in 1978, created a style that was characterized by striking lyrics and sonic visceral effects, which distinguished The Brat as an important creative force on the East Side. In a subculture whose sonic spatial authority is achieved in large part by the rapidity and volume of its sonic productions, Covarrubias’s unique style was an incisive intervention in establishing women as legitimate members of the punk culture. Covarrubias remembers, “what really attracted me to punk, was the notion that ‘Gee, I could do that.’ ‘Zines had all these paste-up things and all these crazy little articles, and these girl bands and guy bands, and it just seemed like so open.”76 Nonetheless, Covarrubias encountered persistent sexism, and even though she was able to write and perform songs that critiqued gender norms, such as “Misogyny,” she explained, “people look at you and you’re brown and you’re a woman and they think, ‘she can’t do that.’ It’s like they immediately assume less.’”77 Covarrubias, in particular, disrupted status quo narratives of punk and alternative music in LA by claiming discursive space and aesthetic authority in a male-dominated genre. 78 After The Brat broke up in the mid-

1980s Covarrubias joined Chicana feminist groups Las Tres and Goddess 13. These groups and other Chicana inventions and interventions helped shape the contours of LA’s early punk scenes in both Hollywood and East Los Angeles. Michelle Habell-Pallán has argued that these Chicana “punkeras” reshaped British youth subculture to devise new local cultural expressions, which “allowed them to express their realities in a public context.” They transformed punk aesthetics “into sites of possibility for transnational conversations concerning violence against women and the effects of growing corporatization of public space.”79 Although the experience of being punk held different values for each artist, it was a place where Chicanas could temporarily “reimagine the world [they] lived in; it was a place where she could see herself as an empowered subject.”80 Creating such spaces had important and lasting effects on personal and social politics. When Alice Bag traveled to Nicaragua as part of an effort to increase literacy, the cumulative effects of her experience as a Chicana punkera and East LA student and citizen led her to realize that “teaching someone to read was itself a revolutionary act. I observed and learned as much as I could, but mostly I learned about myself and about my government.”81 Like Los Crudos’ implication in their song “Tiempos de la miseria,” emerging from the distractions of consumerism can lead to significant revelations: Bag had to leave the United States in order to see it for what it really was.

QUEERCORE My race doesn’t seem to matter/But why is it not represented/All I see are hard muscle white men/Where the fuck are all the lesbians?82 —$3 Puta

Queer punk became an important component of Chicana/Chicano punk subcultures in the 1990s. Journalist Gina Arnold recalled, “if you’re addicted to being a member of the underground opposition, you now have to look elsewhere for the sense of exhilaration that the sight of minority culture infiltrating the status quo can give, and at the moment, that means looking queerward.”83

FIGURE 11. Limp Wrist, “Don’t Knock It ‘til You Try It,” 2000.

The term “Queer”: is not simply an umbrella term that encompasses lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, two-spirited people, and transsexuals; it is a challenge to constructions of heteronormativity. It need not subsume the particularities of . . . other definitions of identity; instead it creates an opportunity to call into question the systems of categorization that have served to define sexuality. There is already something “queer” about categories such as lesbian or gay, “inclusive disjunctures” that simultaneously employ speech and silences on sexual practice, desire, identification, anatomy, gender, community, and dare I say love. 84 Rodriguez’s description of “queer” as a challenge to heteronormativity is helpful to understanding the queercore performances examined below. By the mid-1990s Sorrondeguy had formed Limp Wrist, a straight-edge, openly gay punk band out of Los Angeles whose lyrics connected Latin

American revolutionary thought to the struggles of the oppressed in the United States. As a critical creative force underpinning queercore, Limp Wrist addressed queer issues in their live performance and lyrics. Sorrondeguy and his band joined a Latino and Black punk aesthetic that had important history in the physical places of Hollywood, Central, and East Los Angeles, and that grew out of the shared spaces of Afro–Chicano interactions. Limp Wrist’s original lineup “really played with the straight edge thing and with the queer thing.”85 In several of their shows, Limp Wrist would ask queer men to “stop hating their bodies” and “stop imitating Daddy.” At one show, Sorrondeguy reportedly admonished the crowd, “there’s not nearly enough guys in here with their shirts off right now”; so powerful was his co-signature on sexual expression that most of the audience summarily went topless. 86 Los Angeles queercore bands have been a significant presence in the demands for recognition among queer punks. After the breakup of the Bags, Alice Bag began collaborating with a colleague who performed under the name Fertile LaToya Jackson. Jackson performed with “a six-foot-five drag queen named Vaginal Davis . . . a seasoned performance artist [who had] a clear vision for this new band. She insists that every member dress the part and adopt the persona of a teenage Latina.”87 Vaginal “Crème” Davis (“Davis” is after Black heroine Angela Davis), an African-American queercore artist from Watts, emerged as part of “homocore” punk in the 1980s. Davis’s earliest recordings were with the a cappella punk performance act The Afro Sisters, with later leadership roles in bands like PME, Gore Gore Girls, Black Fag, Pedro Muriel and Esther, and Cholita! The Female Menudo. 88 Davis recounts riding her bike to Hollywood “dives” like The Masque to see Covarrubias and Bag perform. Perhaps this is what Chisme Arte had in mind when they observed in 1981 that “Teresa [Covarrubias] plays a major role in reaching out to cross-cultural audiences. 89 Davis has become a punk legend, in part because of a willingness to exploit uncertainties within queercore culture. Davis’s critiques of punk sexual, racial, and gender politics echoes the critiques about narrow racial categories lodged by her musical contemporaries. “What most people don’t know about the gay world is that it’s the ultimate conformist culture. Individuality is not prized. I never fit into the mainstream gay world and never will.”90

FIGURE 12. Alice Bag and Vaginal Davis.

In her important work, In a Queer Time and Place, Judith Halberstam argues that attending to queer and transgender subcultures can effect a redeployment of subcultural theory. Studying female, gay, lesbian, and transgender punk performers and their cultural productions decenters a traditional theoretical preoccupation among theorists of subculture on heterosexual male youth and has a profound effect on methodology, privileging the perspective of the participant-observer. 91 Davis provides us with an illustrative example. Dominic Johnson describes the value of Davis’s performances: Vaginal Davis opens up spaces for their continual struggle towards renewed and greater challenges, over and against [alternative cultures’] practices [of] timid appeasement and appropriation by the mainstream. . . . Disrupting the cultural assimilation of gay-oriented and corporate-friendly drag, she positions herself at an uncomfortable tangent to the conservative politics of gay culture, mining its contradictory impulses to interrupt the entrenchment of its assimilatory strategies. 92 Davis’s work includes acting in underground films, comedy, writing advice columns, moonlighting as a DJ, and lecturing. Her shows often include personas such as a gay-bashing gangsta rapper and “a Black Muslim for Christ.” Sorrondeguy argues that artists such as these “pushed a lot of the boundaries about being punk, queer and straight edge,

challenging every different scene.”93 One of the strengths of Hebdige’s analysis is his assertion of “a deep correspondence” between subculture and its context: he argues that subcultures are themselves produced in response to specific historical conditions. This grounding in historical specificity leads him to conclude that “if a style is really to catch on . . . it must say the right things in the right way at the right time.”94 Grassroots interracial struggles during this period constitute an important aspect of the deep correspondence that Hebdige describes. While the specific historical conditions that inspired punk’s indignation were unjust moral and fiscal economies, grassroots struggles were also an accumulating ingredient in its context. This is why punk serves as a rich discursive terrain for examining the emerging consciousness that helped shape the personal identities and political struggles of Black and Brown communities. LA punk music, which I have connected to the devastating consequences of Reaganomics, cannot be extracted from the history of coalitional politics that surrounded the genre’s emergence.

BREAKDOWNS AND BUILDUPS Scholars who study the coalitional politics and interracial spaces of leisure in this era know that there were far more social forces tearing people apart than there were pulling them together. Particularly for Black and Brown urban communities like Los Angeles, the effects of supply-side economics were socially and personally devastating and rarely led to sustained cooperation with other groups, mostly because people were doing their best to sustain their own families and immediate communities through the storm. Critiques about racial, economic, and environmental injustice connected the grassroots and coalitional politics of Black and Brown struggles to punk discourse. Though punk was not the soundtrack of these movements, they shared a weariness with the racial injustices faced by their communities. The articulated entitlements of Black and Brown punks for recognition, human dignity, and spatial justice (both within and outside their immediate communities) were goals shared with movements for social justice. Given all the efforts to divide Black and Brown communities, instances of unity and cross-pollination become all the more important. Yet we cannot ignore the divisions among these groups. They constitute an important part of the story that helps us to understand all that was at

stake, in both spatial and human terms. For working-class Latinos and Blacks, economic problems have been a crucial source of Conflict. Between 1970 and 1980, the population of Latinos in South Central Los Angeles had doubled, with Chicanos making up 21 percent of the total population of South Central, a traditionally African-American area. 95 During this same decade, LA County became home to the greatest number of Latinos in the nation. But these immigrants were arriving at a time when the local economy, and consequently the region’s demography, were undergoing drastic changes. Moreover, the economic downturn of the late 1980s ended a short-lived era of upward mobility via blue collar work for Blacks. In the 1980s, both demographics and long-standing antagonisms between African Americans and Latinos in Los Angeles manifested important consequences in electoral politics. A burgeoning uneasiness existed among African-American politicos about the movement of thousands of Latinos into South Central LA. South Central Los Angeles’s African-American population had declined from 56 percent to 36 percent during the 1980s—largely because of deindustrialization—and its Latino population had increased from 36 percent to 61 percent. To Black community officials, who had historically depended on South Central as a political power base, this shift was particularly disquieting in light of a slow loss of political ground under the mayoral tenure of Tom Bradley. Though this shift was a loss for African-Americans, Acuña illustrates how Chicano political leaders came to view it as an opportunity to increase representation when they discovered that a Chicano could be elected in this area. 96 But redistricting the area to reflect these changes meant that City Councilmember Rita Walters would have to give up downtown Los Angeles as part of her constituency. The Black community was unwilling to do this in a time when Blacks were losing political and economic power in Los Angeles. The result was that Blacks and Browns fell into the trap of measuring the political successes of each against the achievements of the other. Councilman Mike Hernández and others accused African Americans of making sure that Latinos remained politically disempowered. Conservative Blacks raised the specter of “illegal immigrants,” saying that many of the people in the community would not be able to vote anyway. 97 This was an unfortunate precursor of a later time, when state politicians’ exploited these particular antagonisms to pass Propositions 187 and 209: right-wing conservatives garnered African-American support against Latinos for Proposition 187 and Chicano support was garnered for Proposition 209, which abolished affirmative action.

The fact that restructuring in Los Angeles has moved many Latina immigrants into a job previously dominated by African-American men makes understanding the divisions engendered by this process crucial for organizers, workers, and scholars. In the most immediate sense, some of these divisions can be traced in some measure to scarcity of jobs and economic resources: between 1970 and 1990, for example, AfricanAmerican women’s employment in nondurable goods manufacturing declined by 114 percent and in durable goods manufacturing by 37 percent, which had a significant impact on their occupational distribution in Los Angeles. 98 One of the consequences of this process was that AfricanAmerican women became a rising proportion of service-sector employees. Moreover, many of the heavy industrial plants that closed during the deindustrialization in the 1980s were located in predominantly AfricanAmerican communities. This meant that capital flight and economic restructuring left few options for this group, namely unskilled work staffed increasingly by immigrant laborers. Under the press of immigration, diminishing job opportunities, and media misrepresentation of both groups, Latinos and African Americans have sometimes each identified the other as an impediment to their own communities’ progress. Increased competition for scarce resources and the trap of racial chauvinism have often positioned workers in opposition to each other; today this phenomenon is as much about globalization as it is about the ways that racial identity shifts over time. 99 African-American and Latino communities have been no exception in often misdirected tensions, especially since deindustrialization and the concomitant forces of globalization have collectively cost these communities more than any others in Los Angeles. Despite the economic and infrastructural downturn of this era, the history of radical interracial politics persisted. Organizations like The Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation sought to forge the dozens of separate neighborhood organizations into a broader movement for community development. One such effort was the Jobs with Peace campaign, which sponsored a successful citywide referendum in 1984 calling for the federal government to cut the Pentagon budget and place the savings into jobgenerating local economic development programs. Black and Chicano Neighborhood Associations witnessed the results of the collapse of government social welfare spending in the decline of community social services, but they also won important gains through steady activism. One of the more notable examples is the struggle against the LANCER (Los Angeles City Energy Recovery Plant) incinerator project. Approved by the Los Angeles City Council in June 1983, the 1600-ton-per-day solid-waste

incinerator plant would have been built in South Central Los Angeles on 41st and Alameda Streets. Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration at first supported the project as a way to alleviate the growing problem of landfill capacity, partly a response to objections of his West Side supporters regarding the expansion of the Lopez landfill. The city’s Bureau of Sanitation, in conjunction with major industry, legal, and political interests, created a plan to construct three of these incinerators. The first would be built in South Central, on the assumption that low-income Blacks or Latinos did not care about environmental questions. Proponents such as Councilman Gilbert Lindsey argued that with the $14.7 million offered to improve the neighborhood, the plant would make the community “a garden of Eden.” Lindsey and others consistently pointed to the plant’s projected ability to provide 40,000 homes in the community with electricity. The Bradley administration claimed there was a one-in-a-million chance that a new case of cancer might develop; residents responded with their own research, arguing that the majority of studies conducted involved white males between twenty and thirty years of age. 100

FIGURE 13. The Mothers Of East Los Angeles protest city plans to build an incinerator in the barrio. Note U.S. Representative Edward Roybal and (now Congresswoman) Lucille RoybalAllard holding the banner.

Residents of this mainly Black and Chicano community were not concerned just with inevitable noise pollution; they also worried that the incinerator would cause the same respiratory illnesses that were already a problem in other low-income communities located near environmental hazards. From 1985 to 1987, groups in South Central Los Angeles mobilized and other organizations throughout the city formed alliances to stop the project. Chicano and African-American citizens of South Central Los Angeles fought the LANCER project and won, even after bonds had been sold for the project and city officials had confiscated land through eminent domain. These alliances helped promote a potent progressive environmental movement and ultimately forced Bradley to withdraw his support from the waste-to-energy project in 1987. 101

FIGURE 14. Mothers of East Los Angeles Rally against incinerator placement.

South Central and East LA, devastated by plant closures, were now sites designated for “economic development” projects like prisons and toxic incinerators. A multiracial force of activists in the Coalition for Clean Air sued the federal government and ultimately forced the South Coast Air Quality Management District to develop a more far-reaching and vigorous plan to clean the region’s air. The Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA) successfully combated the construction of a $29 million incinerator

designed to burn 125,000 pounds of toxic waste per day. 102 Raul Villa has characterized their activism as rooted in a “materialist experiential consciousness” for whom, he says (referencing Pardo), that “the freeways that cut through communities and disrupted neighborhoods are now a concrete reminder of shared injustice, of the vulnerability of the community.”103 Two notable African-American/Latina/Latino responses to the widening economic divide were the 1987 statewide campaign for a “moral minimum wage” and UAW Local 645’s struggle to keep the Van Nuys General Motors Plant open. The “moral minimum wage campaign” was based in 73 churches, mostly in low-income neighborhoods. The leaders of the United Neighborhood Organization (based in East Los Angeles), the South Central Organizing Committee, and the East Valley Organization (based in the San Gabriel Valley) had seen the living standards of their constituents decline as wages stagnated and housing costs skyrocketed. Their solution was to mobilize a grassroots campaign to increase the state minimum wage from $3.35 to $4.25 an hour, the highest in the nation at the time. By bringing in allies among labor and church groups and enlisting the support of some elected officials, this campaign successfully secured an annual raise of $1,800 for each of the state’s nearly one million low-wage workers. 104 In 1982, UAW Local 645 was one of the most progressive and powerful local unions in the U.S. labor movement. The Local represented workers in the General Motors’ Camaro plant in Van Nuys, one of the last remaining sources of heavy industrial jobs for Black and Latino workers in the county. When GM decided to close the plant and move manufacturing south of the border, workers built a powerful in-plant movement led by Latino, Black, and white male and female workers, in strong alliance with LA’s large Black and Latino community. A number of key figures, including veteran activist Bert Corona,105 emerged during the 1980s at the forefront of what became a continuous mobilization against the repeated efforts to threaten the rights of immigrants, who constituted a major new constituency. Demonstrations, such as the massive turnout in March 1982 protesting federal immigration policies, coincided with a wave of organizing, activist leadership, and other ethnic-based organizations (such as the Asian Pacific Legal Center, the Korean Youth and Community Center, and the Korean Immigrant Workers Association). This shift also extended to the labor movement, increasingly defined by emergent leaders such as Maria Elena Durazo, who was elected president of Local 11 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union in 1989. 106

The efforts to organize across race and space in this period fl owed from the understanding that environmental and labor-related injuries to one community were indicative of a pointed disregard for particular communities of marginalized groups. More than coalitions based on shared experiences of marginalization, these social actors articulated human and social entitlements based on mutual understandings of the value of their communities. In spite of the spatial, social, and environmental disregard that city planners showed for these communities, these efforts reflected a profound belief in the value of Black and Brown lives. Creating alternative means to social justice was a shared practice between these movements and particular punk subcultures. Despite inspiring evidence of radical interracial protest in the 1980s, José Palafox’s assertion that his punk identity was not represented in “school” or “the Chicano movement” points to the double marginalization that inspired alternative identities like punk. Surveying literature on punk and popular music in general reveals that the culture African-American and Chicana/Chicano punks created was often absent from the rapidly developing popular and academic discourses on identity. Academic and popular historiographies of punk music, as well as written histories of Black and Latino communities, rarely attend to the identity politics of Black and Brown punk youth. 107 Nonetheless, some punk artists have opined that without its marginal representation in academic and popular discourse, African-American and Latino punk would not have become the “D.I.Y.”108 genus that it is. According to Sorrondeguy, this kind of networking, in which musicians press their own records and drive their own cars on nationwide tours, “dismantles rock-n-roll concepts. There’s no rock stars or bouncers separating who is the band from who is the crowd. We’re always dialoguing.”109 Mike Amezcua of Grito Records relates, “we’re making our own shirts, booking our own shows, not through the club circuit or through promoters. There’s a universal network that exists underground.”110 The movements and punk subcultures I have examined articulated significant spatial entitlements. Through labor activism, environmental justice efforts, and musical economies of exchange, activists and musicians conveyed the right to make the space one resides in (whether symbolic or physical) more than merely habitable, but meaningful in the present and viable for the future. In so doing, they generated new spaces of creativity and social meaning representing mutual empowerment and understanding. The overlapping influences of Black and Brown punk subcultures became more than practices containing the memory and history of distinct groups. They grew into artistic creations that insisted on recognition and respect.

In 1978, after the passage of Proposition 13 (an initiative that put a ceiling on property taxes and significantly altered state and local government funding, in turn plunging California into the most vicious cycle of state budget crises in the country), California’s K–12 public school system was reduced from a relatively accessible and high-quality system into a system far behind its contemporaries across the country. Jeff Chang records that during the Reagan recession of 1983, the unemployment rate in South Central LA soared to at least 50 percent for youth; a quarter of Blacks and Latinos lived below the poverty line by the end of the year; and infant mortality in Watts was triple the rate in Santa Monica. Chang concludes that these conditions made LA “the epitome of a growing number of inner-city nexuses where deindustrialization, devolution, Cold War adventurism, the drug trade, gang structures and rivalries, arms profiteering and police brutality were combining to destabilize poor communities and alienate massive numbers of youth.”111 In popular histories of Los Angeles, this is where gangsta rap usually enters the story. Gangsta rap has historically been one of the most promoted styles of hip-hop in the genre’s history. It remains a relevant lens through which to view the material consequences of the 1980s “inner-city nexuses” that Chang describes. Yet its historiography often conceals the important spatial politics of its predecessors, expressive politics worth documenting as a record of the everyday circulation of sonic politics among Black and Chicano youth in LA. The story that precedes gangsta rap is arguably more significant to understanding youth cultural production and expression in this historical moment. Moreover, it reveals some of the original directions of the precursors of gangsta rap; that is, what West Coast (specifically LA) rap first set out to accomplish. For many working-class people in California, swap meets provide sites of important social and commercial activity. They are an affordable alternative to retail shopping for consumers, and for vendors, they can be a supplement to weekly income, an alternative to sweatshop labor, or merely a hobby. Swap meets are a place to trade or sell items that are not popularly bought and sold in mainstream markets or that are household necessities difficult to find elsewhere. Antique dealers, artisans, local farmers, and inventors have found an informal home in swap meets, where one can sell nearly anything. Because of the relative ease with which one can acquire space to sell commodities, swap meets (traditionally held in drive-in theater, arena, or city-college parking lots) have historically blurred the line between legitimate business and black market economy. Today, they remain popular sites of live local music and car shows. 112 LA swap meets serving Black and Brown neighborhoods in the 1970s

and 1980s were also important sonic sites. Buying a mixtape containing the latest (just mixed the night before) hip-hop and dance music meant taking one’s purchasing power to a swap meet. Aspiring artists sold mixtapes out of their cars and played them from their car’s cassette decks or set up portable stereo equipment for maximum volume to entice buyers. Eric “Eazy E” Wright made no secret of his humble beginnings, selling his first record, “Boyz-n-the Hood” out of his trunk to a swap meet vendor at The Roadium, an abandoned drive-in movie theater and home of the weekly swap meet that served Torrance, Lawndale, Hawthorne, Gardena, Carson, and Compton. 113 Simultaneously local and public, swap meets were important sites of sonic broadcast and circulation of early LA hip-hop. Radio station KDAY in LA began playing hip-hop in the 1980s and as a result became one of the most popular stations in history. The unofficial, yet fundamental, reason for its success was the strength of popular demand for hip-hop in the mid-1980s. In reality, the middecade transformation of KDAY’s playlist and the prominence of hip-hop programmer Greg Mack were the result of a reluctant capitulation to Black and Brown youth, who relentlessly requested the music they heard in swap meets and clubs. Swap meets themselves had become “guerilla” radio stations, a place where one could hear the soundtrack of urban expression that KDAY initially refused to play. Working-class youth of color had long participated in an informal sonic economy of hip-hop and dance music. Three of the most important generators of LA Black–Brown sonic spatial politics in the 1980s emerged from underground networks of DJs, artists, producers, and audiences. Chang recounts that in the early 1980s: [a] prominent node on the Los Angeles hip-hop map was a downtown club called Radio . . . presided over by local rap kingpin Ice T and jetsetting Zulu Nation DJ Afrika Islam. . . . Radio made the Roxy’s diversity look like a Benetton ad. Kid Frost and his cholos rolled down to the club in their low-riders, sporting their Pendletons and khakis. There were slumming Hollywood whites and South Central Korean-American one-point-fivers escaping long hours at the family business. Everyone but the hardest brothers left the menacing Blue City Strutters—a Samoan Blood set from Carson that would become the Boo-Yaa Tribe—alone. 114 Uncle Jamm’s Army was also critical to the informal economy of sound in LA. Led by Rodger Clayton, or “Uncle Jamm” to his contemporaries, Jamm’s Army was a West Coast equivalent of Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu

Nation. He began his career as musical shepherd by throwing parties in small concert halls in South Los Angeles, but by 1983, he could pack an arena that had an 8,000-person capacity, and he did so regularly. Uncle Jamm employed numerous legendary DJs and performers such as the Egyptian Lover, DJ Pooh, Rodney O & Joe Cooley, and Alonzo Williams and dance crews like the Carson Freakateers, Groups Sex, and the Hot Coochie Mamaz. 115 His ability to amass large numbers of Black youth in one social space provoked the ire of city officials, whose plans for the 1984 Olympics did not include an interracial army of urban youth.

FIGURE 15. NWA at the Compton Swap Meet, circa 1986.

A complement to the sonic circulation of early LA hip-hop was the largely informal LA-based pressing plant, Macola Records, which was founded in 1984. Up-and-coming artists could get 500 pressed records for $1,000. Owner Don MacMillan rented out studios for recording and produced and distributed the albums for many well-known West Coast artists, including LA’s World Class Wreckin’ Cru, the LA Dream Team, and NWA and the Posse (precursor to NWA).

The city of Los Angeles recommitted to its policy of Black and Brown spatial immobilization, containing Black and Brown bodies in the Southern part of the city as Reaganomics took the most devastating hold. In “postliberal Los Angeles,” security fences and walls enclosed a ten-mile ring, while LAPD police chief Darryl Gates sanctioned brutal policing programs. 116 As their mobility was curtailed, Black youth found ways to increase the mobility of their sonic expression. Swap meets, informal production and distribution, and spaces of musical congregation and innovation challenged the staggering mobilization of state force against Black bodies, and evinced a politics of spatial entitlement that was impossible for Gates to ignore. The most persistent soundtrack of this process of enclosure evolved into gangsta rap in short order. But it wasn’t always gangsta rap, and that deserves to be noted. The power and reach of this underground sonic economy is, in many ways, most visible in hindsight. The first time Jerry Heller, infamous first manager of NWA, realized the impact of the record, he was watching Run DMC perform a cover of NWA’s “Boyz-n-the Hood” at an industry gathering. He was stunned: “the record had never been played on radio anywhere. It’s a 12-inch single distributed locally.”117 The song had widespread and often surprising appeal. Memphis record distributor Johnny Phillips (nephew of legendary record executive Sam Phillips) recalled when one of his accounts, an independent record store in Cincinnati, inquired about “Boyz-n-the Hood” after its popularity in local clubs inspired several requests for it. It was the first time he had heard of NWA. “I called Macola, bought a couple hundred of them. By the next month we were reordering five, six, seven thousand a week. As soon as we got ’em, we sold ’em.”118 From 1985 to 1990, records like Eazy E’s “Easy Does It,” Ice T’s “Rhyme Pays,” and NWA’s “Boyz-n-the Hood” relayed the effects of supplyside economics upon Black and Brown communities. Toddy Tee’s 1985 record “The Batterram” produced by soul and funk artist Leon Haywood, offered spatial and racial commentary about the intimidation tactics of the LAPD, the militarization of Black urban space, and the complicity of Mayor Tom Bradley in the destruction of Black communities. Titled after the vernacular descriptor for the armored vehicle deployed by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Division of the LAPD, the song identified police chief Daryll Gates and his force as the principle enemies of Black community well-being, describing how police routinely bulldozed their way into Black homes as if they were earmarked for destruction. “The Batterram” called attention to terrible human costs associated with the proliferation of crack cocaine in Black communities and the malicious and

punitive measures approved by Bradley and War-on-Drugs administrators to address drug-related crime in low-income areas. But it also put Mayor Bradley on notice, signifying that his constituents in low-income Black areas of LA were tiring of police corruption and abuse: In New York, it’s comin’ In Detroit, it’s comin’ In L.A., it’s comin’. No, it’s here. . . Mayor of the city what you tryin to do? They say they voted you in in ’82 But on the next term huh, without no doubt They say they gon’ vote your jack ass out Because you musta been crazy or half-way wack To legalize somethin’ that works like that And the Chief of Police says he just might Flatten out every house he sees on sight. 119 Robin Kelley describes the spatial–racial imagination of gangsta rap, its artists and its audiences in South Central Los Angeles, noting that the subjects of these rhymes and their communities paid the highest costs in the economic crisis. Showing how youth suffered most from the decimation of social services, the crack cocaine economy, and police repression, he reveals how rising crime rates and longer sentencing contributed to a rapid increase in Black prison populations. Consistently targeted by sanctioned police harassment and programs such as the Gang Related Active Trafficker Suppression Program, youth participated in a politics of resistance by creating a soundtrack that vocalized and circulated descriptions of the crimes of police and by engaging in style politics that tended to draw police attention. Gangsta rappers and their productions, despite the characteristically misogynist and violent lyrics, are “race rebels,” nonetheless. 120 Yet executives and pundits were far more interested in the potential fan base for the music, and in the moral judgments and social policies that rebuked and spatially immobilized the subjects of these rhymes. After 1990, opportunistic producers and record label owners discerned a “gangsta formula,” a business hook to attract buyers eager to consume, for varying reasons, the increasing lyrical representations of violence, poverty, and denigration among Black youth and communities that label executives capitalized upon. Despite a short life before the gangsta formula and along with all of its contradictions and male-predominating cultural politics, LA

hip-hop and Black–Brown cultural expression (in the barely one-minute span before it became commodified gangsta rap) reveals the persistence of Black and Brown spatial entitlements. The social spaces and spatial entitlements generated by punk subcultures and early hip-hop in Los Angeles are significant articulations of the rights of disaffected Black and Brown youth to equality and social justice. Martin Sorrondeguy offers us a significant observation for understanding the complexities of youth expression: What occurs with the Latino/Chicano punks is also what occurs to the communities they come from. So if they are living in corrupt countries or communities where poverty, drugs, gangs, etc. are part of the every day, this adds to their struggle for change. Punks may be seen as outsiders from a voyeur’s perspective but these same punks may go home with their families and deal with life as it affects them all. 121 New meanings of nation, race, politics, and identities have changed the context of Althusser’s writings. Increased competition for resources, traps of racial chauvinism, and the divide-and-conquer approach that officials take in undermining opposition often position workers of different origins and ethnic groups in opposition to each other. 122 In this context, both the antagonisms and the triumphs of interracial politics can articulate eloquent objections to the teeth-gritting harmony that Althusser describes. Yet, too often, scholarly representations of social movements and working-class musical genres depict isolated events and ideologies, when in fact the alternative archives of musicians and listeners delineate complex relationships of coalition, critique, and struggle. When those at the margins of inclusion contest the discourses of race and national belonging mobilized against them, their utterances can be uncomfortable—predicting and exposing an individual’s or a community’s deepest uncertainties about the parameters of our commitment to social justice. Punk and LA hip-hop in the early 1980s reminded us that there are critical understandings about power and race that have been supplied to us by intellectuals not always credited with brilliance, by historical actors not credited with action, and by artists not celebrated for sophisticated or elegant expressions of situated knowledge. Black and Brown punk and hip-hop identities can illumine new ways to theorize and imagine the rich identities that exist beyond singular categories, while retaining a sense of cultural specificity and politics. In this moment, anti-immigration policies, economic restructuring, and

the prison–industrial complex have come together in teeth-gritting harmony to severely curtail the freedom and mobility of Black and Brown people. Politicians, corporate executives, and moral pundits have displayed such palpable and prolific indifference to human rights on issues of immigration and racial suppression that it can often seem like no one else is speaking. But studying unlikely sources of articulation reveals the literal “screams” of dissent in popular music. Struggle, and its expression, is central to conscious Black and Brown punk performance and politics. These groups and their audiences enacted struggle through an informed and calculated expression of rage during what many would characterize as a late-twentieth century nadir in Black and Brown histories. If we do not pay attention to what these groups and their audiences have contributed to protracted hope for community progress, we miss a significant lesson in animated, motivated, and deliberate commitment to sustaining social protest. In this respect, it is possible to view the deep contradictions and complexities of Black and Brown cultural productions and interracial struggle as “par for the course when our dreams go into action.”123 Studying them can help move us to a stronger position from which to engage in the kind of scholarship that not only pushes us beyond disciplinary borders, but also helps nurture and sustain unlikely alliances and trans-national traditions of radical antiracist and cultural productions. Black and Brown working-class communities in the 1980s and early 1990s experienced Los Angeles as a space of a deindustrialization marked by migration, incarceration, and evisceration of the social wage, but also the physical places of The Vex and The Swap Meet and their ability to generate the discursive spaces and sonic politics of punk and hip-hop.

NOTES 1. Jameson, Frederic. “Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture.” Social Text 1 (Winter, 1979): 146. 2. Bag, Alice. Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, A Chicana Punk Story. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2011, pp. 13, 164– 165. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. New York: Routledge, 1987, p. 133. 6. Sorrondeguy, Martín. Más Allá de los Gritos: Beyond the Screams, a

U.S. Latino Hardcore Punk Documentary. Written, directed, and produced by Martín Sorrondeguy, VHS, 1999. 7. Althusser, L. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” In: Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays New York: New Left Books, 1971; Hebdige, Subculture. 8. Connolly, Cynthia, Leslie Clague, and Sharon Cheslow. Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the DC Punk Underground. New York: Sun Dog Propaganda, 1988; Marcus, Greil. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990; Savage, Jon. England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock & Beyond. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992; Gimarc, George. Punk Diary: 1970–1979. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994; Lydon, John. Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs. New York: Picador USA, 1995; Thompson, Dave. Illustrated Collectors Guide to Punk: Band by Band Document of the Punk Era. Burlington, ON: Collector’s Guide, 1995; Rollins, Henry. Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag. London: Two Thirteen Sixty-One, 1996; Sabin, Roger (ed.). Punk Rock: So What? New York: Routledge, 1999; Carrillo, Sean, Christine McKenna, Claude Bessy, and Exene Cervenka. Forming: The Early Days of L.A. Punk. Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press, 1999; Spitz, Marc, and Brendan Mullen. We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001. 9. Hebdige, Subculture, p. 121. 10. Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization ignored the Chicano contingent completely. More recent histories of the scene, like Spitz and Mullen’s We Got the Neutron Bomb, characterize Chicano and Black punk music as one of punk’s unincorporated ghettos; “marginal barrio music with permanent residence in history’s footnotes.” 11. Marable, Manning. The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life. New York: Basic Civitas, 2002, p. 73. 12. Piraino, A. Scott. “Reaganomics at War.” The Populist: Essays on Politics, Economics, and Military Affairs (October 8, 2003): 3. 13. U.S. Census Bureau, The Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1996 Edition, Washington DC: Author, 1996, p. 329. 14. Rogin, Michael. Ronald Reagan The Movie: and Other Episodes in Political Demonology. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California

Press, 1988, p. xviii. 15. California Statistical Abstract. table H-8, p. 120, quoted in FDIC Division of Research and Statistics, History of the Eighties—Lessons for the Future. Washington, DC: FDIC Public Information Center, 1997, p. 383. 16. Several large firms—for example, Northrop, Hughes, Lockheed, TRW, Rockwell, McDonnell-Douglas, and General Dynamics—dominated the defense establishment in California with the resources to compete for such projects as the Strategic Defense Initiative, the B-1 bomber, and the Trident missile. These organizations and their networks of smaller subcontractors are concentrated in the Los Angeles area, which absorbs more than half of statewide defense spending. The Commission on State Finance estimated that the top 20 defense-related contractors held 75 percent of the dollar value of primary defense contracts. Commission on State Finance, Impact of Defense Cuts on California. Sacramento, CA: Author, 1992, pp. 15–16. 17. Strom, Stephanie. “Giving Away Cash Can Be More Cumbersome Than Glamorous.” New York Times, January 12, 2003, p. G21. 18. Sklar, Holly. Chaos or Community? Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics. Boston: South End Press, 1995, pp. 5–10, 55–56. 19. Dertouzos, James, and Michael Dardia, Defense Spending, Aerospace and the California Economy. New York: Rand 1993, pp. 15–16. 20. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Handbook of Labor Statistics. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1985, p. 435, Table 132. 21. “Environmental Justice in Los Angeles: A Timeline” (brochure). New York: Environmental Defense Fund, January 1999. 22. Edwards, Robin T. “A Grim Future of Violence, Poverty, Neglect: U.S. Youth Need Help from Government, Churches, CDF Says.” Nation Catholic Reporter 30, no. 21 (March 1994): 5. 23. Exeter, Thomas. “Not So Rosy: Job Outlook for Entry Level Workers.” American Demographics 9, no. 12 (December 1987): 14. 24. Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996. 25. Exeter, “Not So Rosy, p. 16. 26. Bodovitz, Kath. “Hispanic America.” American Demographics 13, no. 7 (July 1991): S14.

27. Evans, Eric J. Thatcher and Thatcherism. New York: Routledge, 1997, p. 3. 28. Kelley, Robin D.G. Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997. 29. Schlesinger, Arthur. The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society. New York: Norton, 1991), pp. 43, 118. See also, Auster, Laurence. The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism. Monterey, VA: American Immigration Control Foundation, 1991; Brookhiser, Richard. The Way of the WASP: How It Made America, and How It Can Save It, So to Speak. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990. Excellent documentation of this ideological debate is found in Shelley Fisher-Fishkin’s “Reframing the Multiculturalism Debates and Remapping American Studies.” Journal of American Studies of Turkey 1 (1995): 3–18. 30. Quoted in Ted Glick, “Racism and Presidential Elections Since 1964: A Short History” ZNet Magazine (http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm? SectionID=30&ItemID=5011. 31. Coleman, Peter. The Liberal Conspiracy: The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Struggle for the Mind of Postwar Europe. New York: Free Press, 1989; Rieff, David “Multiculturalism’s Silent Partner: It’s the Newly Globalized Consumer Economy, Stupid.” Harper’s Magazine (August 1993): 62–72; Moynihan, Daniel Patrick. “Deficit by Default” (14th edition of an annual series beginning with Fiscal Year 1976), July 31, 1990, xiv–xvii; Aufderheide, Pat (Ed.), Beyond PC: Toward a Politics of Understanding. Saint Paul MN: Graywolf Press, 1992; Lehrman, Karen. “Off Course.” Mother Jones (September–October 1993). 32. Jhally, Sut, and Justin Lewis. Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences, and the Myth of the American Dream. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992. 33. Bag, Violence Girl, p. 103. 34. Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de los Gritos. 35. Anderson, Lev, and Metzler, Chris. Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Directed by Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler, 2010. 36. Bag, Alice. “Diary of a Bad Housewife.” January 4, 2012 (http://alicebag.blogspot.com). 37. Quoted in Mimi Thi Nguyen, “What Kind of Monster Are You?” Punk

Planet 37 (May/June 2000). 38. Hudson, Paul. “Liner Notes” on Black Dots LP (Caroline Records, 1996). 39. Howland, Don. “Pay to Cum!” Trouser Press Magazine (December 1983); Countey, Anthony. “Liner Notes” on Black Dots LP (Caroline Records, 1996). 40. Ibid. 41. Ibid. 42. Anderson, Lev, and Metzler, Chris. Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Directed by Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler, 2010. 43. Ibid. 44. Hebdige, Subculture, p. 68. 45. Three of The Specials left to found the pop-ska band Fun Boy Three. In “Going Home,” the band offers a critical commentary about colonization and immigration: “We’re here because you are there/a brand new money to buy/We’re here because you were there/a brand new culture to learn/Is this my home? /Is this my home?/This is my home/This is where I’m from/Is this home?/This must be home/but is this where I belong?” 46. Duncombe, Stephen, and Maxwell Tremblay (Eds.), White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race. New York: Verso, 2011, p. 12. 47. Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de los Gritos. 48. Duncombe and Tremblay, White Riot, p. 11. 49. See Jameson, Frederic. “Cognitive Mapping.” In: Nelson, Cary, and Lawrence Grossbert (Eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988, p. 351. 50. Duncombe and Tremblay, White Riot, p. 12. 51. Clark, VéVé. “Developing Diaspora Literacy and Marasa Consciousness.” In: Spillers, Hortense J. (Ed.), Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text. New York: Routledge, 1991, pp. 40–61. 52. José Palafox, interview in Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de los Gritos. 53. Bag, Violence Girl, p. 113. 54. Bag, “Diary of a Bad Housewife.” 55. Liner Notes, Minimum Wage Rock & Roll (Arista Records 1980).

56. Fierce, Tasha. “Black Invisibility and Racism in Punk Rock.” In: Bitchcore 1. San Gabriel, CA, 1999. 57. Rodríguez, Juana María. Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces. New York: New York University Press, 2003, p. 41. 58. Ibid., pp. 152–153. 59. Ibid., p. 157. 60. Quoted in Jason Schreurs, “Interview with Martín Sorrondeguy” Hardcore Online February 23, 2003 (http://www.flexyourhead.net/interview_display.php?id=62) (February 15, 2004). 61. Los Crudos, “La Caida de Latino America,” Viviendo Asperamente, Ebullition Records, Side Los Crudos L-44896 6700-1, 1995, LP. 62. Los Crudos, “Tiempos De La Miseria” La Rabia Nubla Nuestros Ojos Lengua Armada Records, Matrix/Runout (Side A): U-39425M-A, 1993, LP. 63. Amin, Ash, and Nigel Thrift. The Blackwell Cultural Economy Reader. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell, 2004. 64. Amin, Ash. Regions unbound towards a new politics of place. Geografiska Annaler Series B Human Geography 86, no. 1 (2004): 35. Quoted in Balducci, Alessandro, Valeria Fedeli, and Gabriele Pasqui, Strategic Planning for Contemporary Urban Regions: City of Cities: A Project for Milan. Surrey, United Kingdom: Ashgate, 2011, p. 77. 65. Lipsitz, George. How Racism Takes Place. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011, p. 53. 66. Kun, Josh. “Vex Populi: At an Unprepossessing Eastside Punk Rock Landmark, Utopia was in the Air. Until the Day It Wasn’t.” Los Angeles Magazine, March 16, 2003. 67. Ibid. 68. Covarrubias, Teresa. “Crossing the L.A. River: The East L.A. Renaissance in the Wake of the L.A. Punk Scene.” Unpublished Paper (February 2004). 69. Quoted in Sorrondeguy, Mas Allá de los Gritos. 70. Ibid. 71. Ibid.

72. Villa, Raúl Homero. Barrio-Logos: Space and Place in Urban Chicano Literature and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, pp. 94–96. 73. Carrillo, Sean. “East to Eden.” In: Carrillo, Sean, Christine McKenna, Claude Bessy, and Exene Cervenka (Eds.), Forming: The Early Days of L.A. Punk. Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press, 1999, p. 42. 74. Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de los Gritos. 75. Habell-Pallán, Michelle. Loca Motion: The Travels of Chicana and Latina Popular Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 76. Quoted in Habell-Pallán, “Soy Punkera, y Qué? Sexuality, Translocality, and Punk in Los Angeles and Beyond.” In: Davis, Angela Y., and Nefertiti X.M. Tadiar (Eds.), Beyond the Frame: Women of Color and Visual Representations. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2005, p. 229. 77. Ibid. 78. Covarrubias, “Crossing the L.A. River.” 79. Habell-Pallán, Loca Motion, p. 153 80. Ibid., p. 156 81. Bag, Violence Girl, p. 372. 82. $3 Puta “WeHo”on Sounds from the Bedroom (Spitshine/Agitprop Records, 2001). 83. Arnold, Gina. “Queer to the Core: Punk Is dead, but Its Rage and Anarchistic Joy Live on in Lesbian and Gay Bands Like Pansy Division, Team Dresch and Tribe 8.” MetroActive (November 1997): 6–12. 84. Rodríguez, Queer Latinidad, p. 24. 85. Vocat, Daryl. “Punks: The US Punk Band Limp Wrist Plays Do-ItYourself Hardcore, but It’s Anything but Your Typical Hardcore Band.” Xtra! 23 (August 2001). 86. “Nice Boys Share: Limp Wrist at Dumba.” Scratchbomb April 2, 2000 (http://www.scratchbomb.com/limp_wrist.html). 87. Bag, Violence Girl, p. 378. 88. Davis is also rumored to have a PhD. Porter, James, and Jake Austen, “Black Punk Time: Blacks in Punk, New Wave and Hardcore 1976– 1983 (Part 2).” Roctober 32 (2002). 89. Concilio de Arte Popular ,“Politics of Punk.” Chisme Arte (October

3, 1981): 2. 90. Jones, Jim “The Vaginal Monologues: A Rare Interview with the Ultimate Punk Rock Drag Queen.” Tablet News (June 2001): 1. 91. Halberstam, Judith In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 92. Johnson, Dominic. Frieze Magazine. Quoted at http://www.vaginaldavis.com/bio.shtml. 93. Vocat, “Punks.” 94. Hebdige, Subculture, p. 123. 95. Oliver, Melvin, and James Johnson, Jr. “Inter-Ethnic Conflict in an Urban Ghetto.” Research in Social Movements: Conflict and Change 6 (1984): 57–94. 96. Acuña, Rodolfo. Anything but Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles. New York: Verso, 1995. 97. Ibid. 98. Bluestone, Barry, and Bennett Harrison. The Great U-Turn: Corporate Restructuring and the Polarizing of America. New York: Basic Books, 1990; Soja, Edward, Rebecca Morales, and Goetz Wolff. “Urban Restructuring: An Analysis of Social and Spatial Change in Los Angeles.” Economic Geography 59 (1983): 195–230. 99. This is a force well captured by George Lipsitz: “the influx of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans over the past decade has changed what it means to be Chicano for the nearly 3,000,000 people of Mexican origin in the city, while the migration of nearly 200,000 Koreans reconfigures the contours of the area’s Asian American population. Immigration has changed cultural networks, the color of low-wage jobs, and increased competition for scarce resources.” Lipsitz, George. “World Cities and World Beat: Low-Wage Labor and Transnational Culture.” Pacific Historical Review 68, no. 2 (May 1999): 213. 100. Winton, Sonya, “Concerned Citizens: Environmental (In) Justice in Black Los Angeles in Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramón (eds.), Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities. New York: NYU Press, 2010, pp 343-359. 101. Bland, Tyrone, and José J. Gonzalez, “Southern California Voices/A Forum for Community Essays; Platform; ‘Air Pollution Knows No Boundaries.’” Los Angeles Times August 24, 1996.

102. Platt, Kamala. “Chicana Strategies for Success and Survival: Cultural Poetics of Environmental Justice from the Mothers of East Los Angeles.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 18, no. 2 (1997), 48– 72; see also, Pardo, Mary. Mexican-American Women Activists: Identity and Resistance in Two Los Angeles Communities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998; Mike Davis, Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. New York: Vintage Books, 1999; Gumprecht, Blake. The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001; Banham, Reyner. Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001. 103. Villa, Barrio Logos, p. 130. Pardo, Mary. “Mexican American Women Grassroots Community Activists: ‘Mothers of East Los Angeles.’” In Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 11, no. 1 (1990): 5. 104. Author unknown. “A Mosaic of Movements: Progressive L.A. in the 20th Century, From Liberty Hill to a Living Wage” Progressive L.A.: An Essay (http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:FRpywEmMdWIJ:0departments.oxy.edu.oasys.lib.oxy.edu/libraryreservecourses/fall02/uep410/chapter1.doc). 105. Corona was a former longshoreman who served as president of Local 26 of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union during World War II. He later helped organize the Community Service Organization and Mexican-American Political Association (MAPA) in the Mexican-American community. 106. For a wealth of information on this era in Los Angeles, see http://www.progressivela.org/history/eighties.htm. 107. Penelope Spheeris’s 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization ignored the Chicano contingent completely. More recent histories of the scene, like Spitz and Mullen’s We Got the Neutron Bomb, Chicano and Black punk music as one of punk’s unincorporated ghettos; “marginal barrio music with permanent residence in history’s footnotes.” 108. D.I.Y. stands for “Do It Yourself,” a popular description used by underground punks to denote the punk underground network. 109. Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de los Gritos. 110. Ibid. 111. Chang, Jeff. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: Picador, 2005, p. 315.

112. For a brief discussion of street vending and swap meets, see Crawford, Margaret. “Contesting the Public Realm: Struggles over Public Space in Los Angeles.” Journal of Architectural Education. 49, no. 1 (September 1995):. 4–9. 113. McDermott, Terry. “NWA: Straight Outta Compton.” Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2002. 114. Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, p. 301. 115. Weiss, Jeff. “Remembering Rodger ‘Uncle Jamm’ Clayton, Early L.A. Rap Promoter.” Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2010; Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, p. 301. 116. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York: Vintage Books, 1992, p. 324. 117. McDermott, 2002. 118. Ibid. 119. Toddy Tee, “Batterram” Epic Records, 1985. 120. Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, pp. 183–228. 121. Sorrondeguy, Más Allá de Los Gritos. 122. This is a force well captured by George Lipsitz: “the influx of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans over the past decade has changed what it means to be Chicano for the nearly 3,000,000 people of Mexican origin in the city, while the migration of nearly 200,000 Koreans reconfigures the contours of the area’s Asian American population. Immigration has changed cultural networks, the color of low-wage jobs, and increased competition for scarce resources.” Lipsitz, “World Cities and World Beat,” p. 213. 123. Kelley, Robin D.G. Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002, p. 198.

CHAPTER 5

Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles “Get Up” is still a beautiful idea. —Chuck D1

Articulating spatial entitlements does more than just claim particular discursive and physical spaces. It also enables disaffected groups to reveal the history and effects of long-term racial and economic discrimination on their communities. Articulating a right to visibility and mobility (in physical places) and demanding recognition and respect (in discursive spaces) addresses and redresses the injuries enacted by systemic spatial isolation and racism. Public demands for dignity and respect by people meant to be contained or invisible (such as low-income communities or undocumented immigrants) constitute more than just a demand for specific concessions and reforms. They also identify and contest spatial structures of racial exclusion. They create an alternative narrative to official histories of cities, spaces, and places by exposing and opposing the mechanisms of raced and gendered containment. They project new visions of justice and democracy that take up space, figuratively and literally. By inflecting familiar places and spaces with new meanings, these visions tap into popular memories of particular places to reconfigure them as geographies of democracy. The generation of new understandings of place and space constitutes an archive of community information encoded in popular expression. In his prophetic speech on April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., urged striking Memphis sanitation workers to keep their focus on what had become a wearying and protracted struggle. He observed that the nation was sick, that “trouble was in the land” and “confusion was all around.” King acknowledged that this was a strange way to begin a talk to an audience in desperate need of inspiration—to proclaim that “the world is all messed up.” Yet just as King’s message began to seem bleak, he changed course. He asked the sanitation workers to recognize that “something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.” And he reminded them that even at what appeared to be the most exhausting moments for freedom seekers, people around the world were

tired of injustice. “The cry is always the same,” King said. “We want to be free.”2 Talking about Black and Brown unity requires some of the same rhetorical strategies and the same strength of vision expressed in King’s Memphis speech. To be able to discern solutions to twenty-first-century problems facing Mexican Americans and African Americans—some of the worst that either group has faced in decades—we need to be able to see the ugly in order to get to the beautiful, to reckon with the extent of racial oppression in order to discern the scope of the struggle ahead of us, and to consider the divisions among us—many of our own making—in order to imagine a just future together. These tasks require what King called “a kind of dangerous unselfishness,” a standpoint that has “the capacity to project the ‘I’ into the ‘thou,’”3 and a stubborn conviction that even at our darkest moments, brilliant futures can still be discerned. A deep and persistent poverty abides in many of the communities that Black and Brown people call home, especially South Los Angeles. The combination of wage inequality, stagnant economic growth, public disinvestment in urban communities, and labor discrimination has created staggering disparities over the past twenty years for these groups. Yet even at this dark moment, important egalitarian visions are discernible through the activism and cultural expressions emerging from these same contexts. In this chapter, I consider the material and spatial realities facing Black and Brown people in Los Angeles since the 1990s, the divisions and tensions among these communities of color, and the sonic expressions and spatial entitlements that offer important visions of a just future. I show how the militarization of urban space, anti-immigration policies, loss of assets, and disenfranchisement all contribute to what I term “spatial immobilization” among the Black and Latino urban poor. 4 I explore the ways that Black–Brown-led movements have countered that immobilization since the 1990s and consider the spatial entitlements expressed and enacted by cultural workers and social activists.

MATERIAL AND SPATIAL REALITIES SINCE 1990S Most of the economic and demographic changes that have reshaped the United States in the past twenty years are exaggerated in Los Angeles and in California as a whole. Economic growth through the 1970s and 1980s meant that California became the national leader in exports to the global market. During these same two decades, almost five million people from

around the world immigrated to the United States. In the mid-1980s, LA replaced New York as the chief receiving area for immigrants, and it is now the biggest industrial center in the United States—twice the size of second-place Chicago. 5 California has become a majority-minority state, a state in which no racial or ethnic group represents over 50 percent of the total population, though Latinos are at 47 percent. It continues to generate some of the nation’s most divisive immigration and economic policies, which is significant since California’s 52-person delegation to the U.S. Congress and its 54 Electoral College votes make it a central player in determining the outcome of national politics. 6 California has led the nation in passing legislation that denies immigrants access to basic social services like education and medical treatment, eradicates affirmative action, and all but outlaws bilingual education. Federal policy has shaped these changes in many ways. In the 1990s, social welfare programs were nearly destroyed. By the time President Clinton signed the Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in 1996, the belief that poor or disadvantaged Latinos and Blacks themselves—and their “cultures of poverty”—were largely to blame for their plight was long embedded in the psyche of liberal politics. 7 Some of this act’s most publicized features were the elimination of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs, its replacement of these programs with block grants to states with federally approved Temporary Assistance Programs for low-income families with minor children, its five-year restriction on assistance, and its rendering legal non-citizens ineligible for means-tested public benefits for their first five years of residence. 8 In signing this act into law, Clinton ended the federal welfare guarantee, giving the individual states wide powers to cut benefits or remove them altogether from the long-term jobless, single mothers, and immigrants, a measure that Newsweek noted “simply abolished . . . the sixty year-old New Deal system established by Franklin Roosevelt to protect poor children and their mothers.”9 It would seem that such injurious policies would be concomitant with an unrestrained and unapologetic denigration of poor people in popular media and mainstream politics. One might think that such devastating legislation must be accompanied by a widespread erasure of the demographic that so many feel are undeserving, and that elites would see no reason to censor their true sentiments about low-income Blacks and Latinos, who account for the greatest percentage of the poor in the United States. We see evidence of this race-based contempt and hatred nearly everywhere—in

state laws that require police officers to use racial profiling against Latino immigrants, in attacks on ethnic studies courses in college and high school classrooms, in the disproportionate numbers of Blacks and Latinos incarcerated for drug crimes even though all racial groups use drugs at similar rates, in political campaigns that blame people of color for the subprime mortgage meltdown, in the organized abandonment of Black working-class people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and in the crudely racist caricatures used to frame political debates about welfare, crime, and education. Yet in commercial culture, Blackness is strangely popular. The circulation and commodification of “Blackness”—Black images, style politics, vernacular, and popular music—continue to generate billions of dollars for (mainly white) corporate owners of clothing lines and copyrights. The election of Barack Obama elevated, at least for a time, the visibility and popularity of Black Americans around the world, even as they have been the objects of increased racism at home. Blacks in America are also more popular than ever in unwanted ways. According to Human Rights Watch, Blacks were arrested on drug charges as much as five-and-a-half times more often than whites every year for the past three decades (though drug use among Blacks is no higher than it is among whites), yet African Americans go to prison at ten times the rate of whites on those same drug charges. 10 The same kinds of statistics bear out in other areas of society, making Black people and their communities the most “popular” demographic for the most injurious social realities, including being the most-arrested and longest-sentenced population, having the most underfunded educational structures in their communities, earning the lowest wages, suffering the highest rate of foreclosures, and experiencing the worst poverty. Popular indeed. Latinos in the United States have been relegated to similar positions, but without the “privilege” of irony: conservative politicians, moral pundits, and local media harbor no desire to conceal their profound and sanctioned disrespect of Latinos, particularly in the border states. Racist immigration laws (like Alabama’s H.B. 56 and Arizona’s S.B. 1070) enacted over the past three years have proliferated—mandating racial profiling, denying the right to make contracts, and blatantly targeting American-born children of immigrants—echoing the mid-1990s California propositions and the turn-ofthe-century connection between the anti-Japanese Gentleman’s Agreement with the desire of Californians to maintain segregated schools. Since the 1990s, Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles have undergone a tremendous amount of change. Immigration, opportunities for upward mobility, and poverty have impacted these groups in both positive and detrimental ways. Immigration and political activism have changed the

meaning of “Brown” for Latinos in Los Angeles. Black and Brown workingclass people in Los Angeles are at once more differently situated and more related than ever before. While the preceding chapters have chronicled these relationships since the 1940s, some important connections can be made between official endorsements of anti-immigrant nativism and antiBlack racism. Charting that connection requires us to examine a historical moment much further back than the material that begins this book.

FROM DRED SCOTT TO ANTI‐IMMIGRATION POLICIES In the campaign for the ‘control of our borders,’ we are once again debating the citizenship of the native-born and the merits of Dred Scott.” —Ian Haney López11

In White By Law, critical race theorist Ian Haney López draws important connections between the anti-immigrant legislation in California in the mid1990s and the 1857 Dred Scott decision. 12 In Scott, Chief Justice Taney interpreted the Constitution to mean citizenship was too precious to be shared with Americans of African descent. The Supreme Court summarily declared that all Blacks, free and enslaved, “are not and can never be citizens because they are a subordinate and inferior class of beings” (and therefore were not eligible to sue for their freedom in federal court). 13 The history of legalized racism and the Supreme Court’s implicit endorsement of Black social death led accomplished educator Carter G. Woodson to conclude in 1921 that “the citizenship of the Negro in America is a fiction.”14 California and its neighboring states have a long and ignominious record of anti-immigrant hostility and legislation. In the 1990s, unwilling to acknowledge the ways that corporations profit from the Free Trade agreements (which cause falling wages, forced eviction from land, decimation of small businesses, and growing poverty in Mexico), California elites sought to divert accountability for the state fiscal crisis by inflating white fears about Mexican immigration. As the consequences of deindustrialization and globalization intensified in working-class lives, nativism escalated. Some of the most demonstrative examples of this occurred in California in the 1990s, when the state began passing immigration legislation for the first time in its history. In 1995, California’s Proposition 187 (also known as Save Our State) banned undocumented immigrants and their families from receiving vital social services. It targeted undocumented parents by refusing education and medical treatment to their children, many of whom were Americanborn. Ignoring the status of thousands of undocumented Canadian and

European immigrants in the United States, then-governor Pete Wilson initiated a campaign for the “Save Our State (SOS)” initiative. The alignment of politicians and pundits produced a powerful campaign endorsed by corporate and self-interested media: major networks ran prime-time images of people running through a Tijuana–San Diego border checkpoint, powerfully transforming the anti-immigration initiative by generating popular associations of the word immigrant with Mexicans. In documenting the effects of increased desegregation and spatial isolation in Los Angeles since the 1940s, Philip Ethington has demonstrated the ways in which space powered the race politics of this period. He illustrates how physical distance from the centers of Black and Latino populations proved highly significant in explaining the race-charged voting behind Proposition 187. 15 Ethington’s conclusions reflect the increased racialization of space that has occurred since the 1990s, connecting antiimmigrant racism in the 1990s to the long history of restrictive covenants, mortgage redlining, racial steering, urban renewal, and exclusionary zoning that created the white suburbs in the first place. In the months leading up to the passage of Proposition 187, chairman Ron Prince told an audience of conservative activists, “you are the posse and SOS is the rope,”16 alluding to and inciting white racial violence against immigrants as a resolution for the “immigrant problem.” The power of his words to both reflect and direct hostility were evidenced in a report by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, documenting a 24 percent increase in hate crimes against Latinos after the SOS initiative. 17 Even though Proposition 187 was declared unconstitutional in a federal court, the racist injuries it was designed to incite survived the federal court decision that declared it null and void. Subsequent federal immigration and welfare “reform” laws incorporated some of its provisions. Moreover, Proposition 187 was quickly followed by Proposition 227, which ended bilingual education programs in California public schools. In the twenty-first century, a strikingly similar corollary has surfaced: the link between anti-immigration legislation and the struggle to retain 14th Amendment rights. For nearly 150 years, the principle of birthright citizenship contained in the 14th Amendment has been a strong and clear element of American law and international identity. But in 2010, a renewed backlash against Mexican immigrants found a foothold in a debate over the merits of citizenship that has its roots in Dred Scott and its legacy in the consecutive anti-immigration bills either submitted or passed since 2008, which are most prominent in Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama. Politicians and pundits have called upon Congress to consider repealing the 14th

Amendment, arguing that the way to end unauthorized immigration is to deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Their arguments rest on a false representation of the 14th Amendment debates in the late 1860s, namely that the principle of birthright citizenship was heavily debated as the Supreme Court decided whether Blacks should be given citizenship rights. In fact, it was not. Elizabeth Wydra has argued that perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Congressional debates over the 14th Amendment was “that both its proponents and opponents agreed that it recognizes and protects birthright citizenship for the children of aliens born on U.S. soil. The Reconstruction Congress did not debate the meaning of the Clause, but whether, based on their shared understanding of its meaning, the Clause embodied sound public policy by protecting birthright citizenship.”18 Each year, bills are introduced in Congress to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants and, in some cases, the children of immigrants who are in the country on temporary visas. In 2009, Georgia Republican Representative Nathan Deal reintroduced Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles his “Birthright Citizenship Act” (HR 1868), which would deny birthright citizenship to children born in the United States to “illegal,” and even temporary, immigrants. Although his bill was not passed, Deal rode the support it garnered to become elected governor of Georgia a year later. State lawmakers in California and Texas have also introduced proposals to abolish birthright citizenship in hopes of advancing a national debate on the issue and pushing a legal challenge to the Supreme Court. The drive to repeal the 14th Amendment points to a racial reality about the ways white people presumably judge the fitness of Black, Brown, and poor people for national inclusion in the twenty-first century: as citizen-aliens in the case of Brown children born in the United States and as an entire race undeserving of American citizenship in the case of Latino immigrants seeking documentation. Voting rights, one of the most important guarantees of U.S. citizens, continues to fall short of the promise of the 15th Amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act for Blacks and Latinos. Ryan Scott King’s work on voting rights charts the effect of laws that disenfranchise felons in their communities. King reveals that such disenfranchisement is never confined to felons: Suppressed registration rates suggest that felony disenfranchisement policy is having a profound effect on the Black community’s ability to express its political voice. A recent study analyzing the interaction between voter turnout rates and the degree of restrictiveness of state felony disenfranchisement laws found a strong correlation. African-

American voter turnout among non-disenfranchised persons was about equal with whites in states with the least restrictive disenfranchisement laws. However, African-American participation dropped precipitously, relative to whites, in more restrictive states. Thus, harsh disenfranchisement policy impacts not only those persons who are ineligible to vote, but also suppresses voter turnout for the entire African-American community.”19 Alexander Bickel demonstrates what Scott and Proposition 187 share: “it has always been easier, it always will be easier, to think of someone as a non-citizen than to decide that he is a non-person, which is the point of the Dred Scott decision.”20 It may sound extreme to classify the treatment of Blacks and Latinos in the United States as an experience of nonpersonhood. But the record of spatial and racial discrimination over the past twenty years reveals an astounding denial of democracy and full citizenship to poor and workingclass Blacks and Browns. Today, conditions for the poorest Americans are worse than they’ve been for decades. The spatial contours of the subprime mortgage crisis are taking shape. According to the 2007 Annual Minority Lending Report, about 47 percent of Latinos and 48 percent of Blacks who purchased mortgages in 2006 got higher-cost loans, as compared with about 17 percent of whites and Asians. The predatory lending that targeted minority communities resulted in what the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity has called “extreme geographic concentrations of foreclosures.”21 All of the states in the top three leading in foreclosures were states with high concentrations of Latinos. California ranked second in the nation. 22 In 2008, United for a Fair Economy estimated that the results of predatory lending would be disastrous for Black and Brown people and that by the time the recession is over the loss of wealth for people of color will total between $164 billion and $213 billion: it is the greatest loss of wealth for people of color in modern U.S. history. 23 In Chapter 2, I detailed the importance of understanding the significance that household wealth holds, demonstrating the trans-generational devastation that occurs as a result of totalizing loss of assets. In the twenty-first century, as people of color have attempted to regain or initiate asset acquisition, many have lost homes to predatory lending strategies, seriously changing the spatial geography of homeownership and neighborhoods themselves. Black borrowers alone will lose between $71 billion and $92 billion, and Latino borrowers will lose between $75 billion and $98 billion for the same period. If that weren’t enough, homeownership rates for Blacks as compared with whites

are already starting to lose recent gains. At the current rate of improvement (from 1970 to 2006), parity will not be achieved for another 5,423 years. 24 Ethington reminds us of the spatial trends of the 1990s, in which whites became increasingly spatially isolated from non-whites, “barricaded behind walls of wealth in municipal spaces far away from the center of the metropolis.”25 According to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010–2011 the poverty rate in the United States reached its highest level since 1933, while the wealth of the richest individuals rose from $507 billion in 1995 to over $2 trillion in 2011. Black Americans, of all groups listed in national annual poverty analysis, had the highest (and increasing) annual poverty rates in America going into 2012. 26 More Latino children are living in poverty—6.1 million in 2010—than are children of any other racial or ethnic group. 27 In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the elites who supported him ratified a devastating budget at the end of his term. Under this new Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles budget, $80 million was cut from child welfare programs, $61 million from county funding to administer Medi-Cal, $52 million from AIDS prevention and treatment, and $50 million from Healthy Families, the state health insurance program that covers about 700,000 low-income children. In 2012, more children go without insurance, foster families receive less money and the state has all but cut HIV/AIDS testing. 28 The CalWORKs program, which provides temporary assistance and employment to families with minor children, suffered major losses as well. The consequences will be devastating because one million CalWORKs beneficiaries are children and 75 percent of the remaining 400,000 are women—most of them victims of domestic violence. 29 Los Angeles has registered these injuries most tellingly among the working and unemployed poor, and particularly among Black and Latino communities. The poverty rate in South LA is two times the poverty rate for Los Angeles County as a whole. Children in South LA are more likely to live in poverty than children in the county overall. 30 At present , the alliance politics underlying neoliberal success have found new ways to obscure the class dimensions of racial exploitation as well as the racial and imperial dimensions of class inequality. 31 As Lisa Duggan has pointed out, conservative elites have consolidated their gains and strategies into successful neoliberal structures of containment, and the inability of progressive political activists to grasp this has constituted a key area of shortsightedness. 32 Using spatial racism in the form of housing-rights discrimination,

disparate educational structures, and job discrimination has resulted in renewed restrictions upon the freedom, opportunities, and mobility of Black and Brown people. In such an environment, it can be difficult to recall the value in Black–Brown solidarities. Working-class people in Los Angeles, as in every American city, have long been pitted against each other in debates about civil, economic, and immigrant rights, often in a context that measures the histories of interethnic struggles by their shortcomings rather than by their successes. Particularly at present, those with vested interests in deepening divisions between excluded communities are more frequently and more prominently generating discourse toward that end. A contemporary case in point is the prison fight between Black and Latino prisoners at the Pitchess Detention Center outside Los Angeles in February 2006. In the months that followed, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and prominent research centers presented this event as well as other antagonisms between Blacks and Latinos outside of their historical, regional, and structural contexts. On February 21, the Washington Post reported that the recent jail riots illustrated the fact that “in almost every arena of public life—schools, politics, hospitals, housing and the workplace—African Americans and Hispanics are engaged in an edgy competition.”33 In March, a report by the Pew Research Center stated, “for blacks, the growing presence of immigrant workers adds to the formidable obstacles they face in finding a job.”34 Pew ignored the fact that many economists reject immigration as the reason for high unemployment among Blacks and instead focus on shrinking budgets for job training and job creation and on industry downsizing and flight to foreign countries to explain this pattern. 35 These reports implicitly elide the structures of institutionalized racism that give rise to such violence, making these interactions appear capricious and illogical. Their narrow depictions undermine collective memories of interracial solidarity by denying existent material and ideological connections between these communities. Christian Parenti argues that the “self-oppressing systems of racialized hatred that convicts create—with help from ‘the Man’—are the ultimate forms of social control. . . . [T]he totalizing prescripted nightmare of ‘yard politics’ is too massive for any single individual to buck.”36 In 2007, researchers at the University of California Irvine compared cases of violence involving Blacks and Mexicans in four precincts of the LAPD’s South Bureau. Their results “went against the more spectacular stories that have been dramatized in the media.” And in spite of the high profile that media give to Black-versus-Latino violence, “despite a few highly publicized cases, Los Angeles is not ‘on the brink’ of a major

interracial crime wave.”37 Nevertheless, these reports continue. In 2009, for example, the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations noted “a sharp drop in the number of hate crimes” overall in Los Angeles, but warned that hate crimes between blacks and Latinos were “disturbingly high.” The commission also reported that Latinos had perpetrated 77 percent of hate crimes against Blacks, while Blacks accounted for nearly half of the hate crimes recorded against Latinos. 38 Even activists who would like to see Black–Brown alliances work have underestimated the histories and power of grassroots coalitional politics. For example, noted activist and journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson observed: Black and Latino leaders have long papered over tensions and Conflicts between the two groups by putting on the happy public face of blacks and Latinos marching in lockstep to do battle against race discrimination and poverty. There are many well-documented instances where black and Latino leaders have joined forces to battle conservative Republican policies that harm black and Latino interests. That cooperation, though, has mostly been among blacks and Latinos at the legislative level, in Congress and in state legislatures, and not on the ground, in communities where blacks and Latinos uneasily rub shoulders. 39 In this context, it is more important than ever to remember shared struggles for spatial entitlement and to imagine how they might be augmented and extended under new conditions. Black and Brown conflict is certainly real. We live in a society that constantly mobilizes the resentment and anger of powerless people against each other, recruiting them into rounds of blaming and shaming that leave the real causes of their problems unaddressed. People pitted against each other will not magically unite simply because they are both oppressed. But this divide-and-conquer strategy is not new, and it has not always worked. The very communities most threatened by it also have histories of mutual identification, affiliation, and alliance. The hidden histories of sonic and spatial mobilization in Black and Brown Los Angeles and across the nation constitute invisible archives of collective memories and struggles. Robin Kelley’s essay on Black working-class oppositional politics on Birmingham’s streetcars and buses during WWII elucidates the ways that whites encountered public space as “a kind of ‘democratic space’ where people of different class backgrounds shared city theaters, public conveyances, streets, and parks.” But for Black people in the same era, “white-dominated public space was vigilantly undemocratic and potentially

dangerous.”40 It is easy for people whose citizenship is assumed via racial or class markers to forget that one of the most damaging results of antiimmigration policy has been the ways it renders Latinos unable to move freely through space. In 2009, Arizona passed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), which required, among other things, all undocumented immigrants to have registration documents in their possession at all times. The law made it a misdemeanor for an alien to be in Arizona without proper documentation. Its most injurious element, however, was the empowerment of state law enforcement officials to stop and detain an individual if they were suspected of being illegal, which made every Brown person on the street a suspect—leading to Latinos being subjected to harassment and detention. As in the case of Proposition 187, a federal judge ultimately issued an injunction that blocked the law’s most damaging provisions. But the damage, as with Proposition 187, was already done. Latinos fled the state in droves, and as states such as Georgia and Alabama have followed Governor Jan Brewer’s lead in anti-immigration policy, children have been forced out of school and people are unable to seek necessary social services for fear of being harassed, detained, or deported. In other words, in many states across the nation, Latinos have been spatially immobilized. Joseph Nevins’s work on the response of the federal government to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles over the beating of Black motorist Rodney King by LAPD officers illustrates how California and other states engage in punitive spatial immobilizations that specifically target Latinos, regardless of documentation. Nevins reveals how some Orange County police officers have empowered themselves to act as immigration officials, indiscriminately criminalizing Latinos by detaining them and transferring them to immigration checkpoints. “Given that such actions are something for which they have no training . . . it is not surprising that some of those [detainees] brought to the checkpoint turn out to be in the country with authorization.”41

EXPRESSIVE CULTURE/VISIONS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE In the face of the radical divisiveness promoted by anti-immigrant initiatives and the enduring ecology of race and place in Los Angeles, expressive culture continues to reflect and shape the struggle for spatial entitlement. The hip-hop songs of M.E.D. and Kemo the Blaxican reflect the mutual social and musical influences of Blacks and Latinos and offer a distinct and relevant egalitarian imaginary. Instances of spatial struggle and entitlement involving cultural workers such as Ozomatli and Rage

Against the Machine reflect the desire among both groups to move freely across space. All of the examples I examine emerge from an experience of shared racial and social space in Los Angeles, but particularly from the shared spaces of Black and Latino residence and culture. The identities they produce can be personal, especially in the politics of embodied “Blaxicans” such as M.E.D. and Kemo (though this archive of spatial and racial politics is not, as Lipsitz has specified, “reducible to embodied identity”42). Taken together, however, they express a political identity, an articulation of spatial entitlements that make unexpected use of space and offer the possibility of peace, justice, and human dignity. Moreover, they offer examples of the relational politics and identities that emerge from shared spaces and can serve as an important model for building mutually beneficial and meaningful futures. These archives are descriptive of spatial politics, racial politics, the future of Black and Brown people, and struggle. They are commentary on shared experience and evidence of a shared history. They are evidence of what Lipsitz has called a “counter warrant against the white spatial imaginary.” Like the Black spatial imaginary he describes, they “continuously generate new democratic imaginations and aspirations,” promoting “solidarities within, between, and across spaces.”43 Their work shows how an interracial imaginary has emerged from the complex history of shared social and discursive space among Blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles. The musical ensemble Ozomatli emerged in what might seem like an unlikely place for a popular music group. In mid-March 1995, twenty-three workers began a sit-in at the 4th Street office of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC)—a nonprofit organization whose annual budget at the time was $6.5 million and was funded both by the government and private sources. It paid its workers from $4.25 to $6.25 an hour to plant trees, remove graffiti, clean up after disasters, and paint murals at elementary schools and other buildings. Like most of its sister programs under the Corporation for National Service, the LACC paid its members the minimum wage, but did not provide enough work hours for employees to qualify for medical benefits. LACC workers had tried unsuccessfully to unionize the corps, but their endeavors were foiled by managers, who told workers at other sites that the organizers were a rebellious group trying to ruin things for everyone. By March, what began as a protest when one of the union organizers, Carmelo Alvarez, was placed on administrative leave, grew into concerns about broader issues. The protesters complained that these low-paying jobs demeaned the minority workers. Their demands included higher pay, health benefits, and advancement to management jobs. Corps worker Willy Abers, a corps

worker who was paid $4.25 per hour, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s slave labor. Some of these women have two children. How are they going to pay for those children on minimum wage?” Abers continued, “We’re getting paid minimum wage and they keep our hours beneath the legal max where they have to give you benefits. Of course, the upper management is getting full benefits and rental cars.” On March 22, corps officials, eager to avoid the bad publicity of forcibly removing the workers, began a mediation process. 44 Abers’s characterization of his and others’ salaries as “slave wages” reflected a national pattern. By 1998, the minimum wage had become a poverty wage. Adjusting for inflation, it was 19 percent lower than in 1979. The minimum wage, which formerly brought a family of three with one fulltime worker above the official poverty line, now would not allow one fulltime worker with one child above that line. 45 For many working-class families of color in Los Angeles, these conditions were brought into sharp relief in the events leading up to and resulting from the 1992 riots after the acquittal of the LAPD officers who assaulted Rodney King. Labor historian Mike Davis reminds us that of the first 5,000 people arrested, 52 percent were Latino and only 39 percent were Black. In order to understand this, he argues, one has to comprehend the severity of the economic crisis at that time in LA: Although they talk about gaps between haves and have-nots, what actually fueled this outbreak is not a general structural trend, but a specific economic condition: we are in the worst recession Southern California has seen since the ’30s . . . it’s been a vicious, disastrous recession for the newest strata of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, which is why the worst looting outside Black areas occurred in the largely Mexican eastern half of South Central LA, and in Central American immigrant areas like Hollywood and the MacArthur Park area. 46 The need for a remedy was clear. One attempt to redress some of these issues was the passage of the National and Community Service Trust Act, which created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service and was signed by President Clinton in 1993. The LACC, which was formed two decades before, followed a tradition of American national service programs since the early twentieth century, like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933; John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps, approved by Congress in 1961; and Lyndon Johnson’s VISTA program, established in 1964. All of

these programs were created in response to economic crises in order to build national infrastructure. Notably, we witness this directly after the Depression, in the creation of the Works Projects Administration and Roosevelt’s CCC and again during the Civil Rights Era. Clinton’s plan in 1993 came after a major economic recession whose official end was March 1991. In the opinion of Holly Sklar, however, one would never have known that this was the official end, since the poverty rate for two-parent young families more than doubled between 1973 and 1994. As Abers observed, LACC management received full benefits while LACC workers received only minimum wage. The average CEO in Businessweek’s annual survey in 1997 made 326 times the pay of factory workers in 1997, as compared with 1980, when CEOs made 42 times as much. 47 This disparity was part of a rising trend that continues unabated today. In 2010, the median pay of U.S. corporate chief executive officers jumped 27 percent, from $7.1 million in 2009, one of the largest increases in recent history. These increases set CEOs up for even larger gains in the future: many were granted stock options when stock prices were much lower than they are now, which will mean that as stock prices rise (such as in 2010, when there was a median value gain in stocks of 32 percent) and CEOs cash them in, these CEOs will make substantial profits. 48 In 1995, the homeownership rate was 47 percent for Blacks and 44 percent for Latinos, about two-thirds the rate for white households (69 percent). The median Latino household had a net worth of only $5,000 (just 8 percent of that for whites) and the median Black household had a net worth of just $7,400. 49 The experience of failed unionization efforts and subsequent firings recounted by Carmelo Alvarez, Abers, and their coworkers was likewise part of a nationwide trend. Over the dozen years preceding this struggle, union-affiliated workers in the United States were routinely harassed, and thousands were illegally firing for exercising their right to organize. 50 One of the most commonly used slogans of the Corporation for National Service has been that “when faced with challenges, our nation has always relied on the dedication and action of citizens.” In times of economic downturn, the creation of corps of young workers has proven to be an extremely powerful tool in national recovery, galvanizing feelings of national membership and community investment. Yet for some, the benefits of national service programs are offset by their disconnection from grassroots movements and by the ways they have historically undermined collective and union struggles for equal pay and just working conditions. Victor Viesca’s important work on the workers’ struggles with the LACC

reveals Alvarez’s disgust with the ways that the LACC deployed young laborers to do menial work instead of developing leadership skills and improving opportunities, as the program promised. The LACC was eager to avoid bad publicity, and workers seized upon this opportunity, intensifying the pressure through proclamations of the LACC’s corruption and their own dedicated strike; this eventually resulted in a settlement. The workers lost their jobs, but were granted the use of the building for the rest of the year to engage in their own projects. These workers used the building to open a cultural community center dedicated to the arts of inner-city Los Angeles youth. This end of the strike was the beginning of an enduring politics of cultural expression: Abers and longtime friend and co-worker José Espinosa had begun to collaborate on musical ideas and decided to create a band to raise money for the youth center. After they hired friends and other musicians around Los Angeles to participate, this new band had nine members, from African-American, Cuban, Chicano, Japanese, and Jewish backgrounds. Abers, Espinosa, and the others decided to give their band a Nahuatl name, after the Aztec god of dance: Ozomatli. 51 In Ozomatli’s music, one can hear such diverse percussive instruments as tablas, congas, and turtle drums. Their use of a combination of African, Caribbean, and Mexican instruments and musical patterns reflect the shared spaces of influence and congregation in Los Angeles. In their demands for the public rights and recognition for aggrieved groups, Ozomatli draws attention to the disparities between the mobility of capital and the containment of people, challenging the politics of spatial immobilization through the expression of cultural fluidity. The historical interactions between Brown and Black people in Los Angeles’s spaces gave rise to Rage Against the Machine, a band very different from Ozomatli in its musical styles yet grounded in some of the same kinds of struggles for spatial entitlement. Rage Against The Machine didn’t form until the late 1980s, but 1968 was actually an important year for them. On August 28, 1968, Detroit rock band The MC5 was the only band to perform for demonstrators at the Chicago Democratic National Convention (DNC). They opened their performance with “Kick Out the Jams,” a song they characterized as an opportunity to “testify” and to “use the music to hold us together.” Drummer John Sinclair told listeners that rock ’n’ roll was the “resensifier” that listeners needed to build a gathering or else, he warned, “you’re dead and gone.” Sinclair urged the audience to “stay alive with the MC5!”52 The performance served as prelude to a police riot: Chicago police took action against crowds of demonstrators without provocation. The police beat some marchers unconscious, arrested

175 protestors, and sent at least 100 people to emergency rooms. The next day, Mayor Daley famously explained: “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.” Twenty-eight years later, when the Democrats next held a convention in Chicago, some police officers still on the force wore t-shirts proclaiming, “We kicked their father’s butt in ’68 and now it’s your turn.”53 The audience of demonstrators at the DNC on August 28 was poised to receive the MC5’s messages about testifying for unity and for sensitizing themselves to the human condition of aggrieved groups, both domestic and international. It seemed that 1968 was a year of successive tragedies: In January, the Tet Offensive claimed over 11,000 American lives. In February, Richard Nixon declared his presidential candidacy. On March 16, Senator Robert Kennedy declared his own candidacy; the same day, U.S. ground troops initiated a massacre at My Lai, killing more than 500 Vietnamese civilians. On April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis while working and meeting with local leaders about plans for his Poor People’s March. On June 5, Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. In August, Nixon secured the Republican nomination for Presidency. In October, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Mexico City and were boycotted by thirty-two African nations in protest of South Africa’s participation, and on the 18th, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, U.S. athletes and medalists in the 200-meter dash further disrupted the games by raising their firsts in the symbol of Black Power while the “Star-Spangled Banner” played at the medal ceremony. The MC5’s performance was situated in this context, among these events and many more, including the state’s highly visible brutality against Black and Brown activists and the repression of freedom movements through COINTELPRO. Thirty-two years later, at the 2000 DNC in Los Angeles, Rage Against the Machine, a Black, Brown, and white band from Los Angeles, chose “Kick Out the Jams” as their opening song at a free concert for demonstrators outside the Staples Center. Lead vocalist Zach de la Rocha told demonstrators, “brothers and sisters, our democracy has been hijacked.”54 After Rage Against the Machine, Ozomatli took the stage, but the LAPD had had enough. They attacked audience members, disconnected the band’s microphones from the speakers and enabled their own, and declared the concert an unlawful assembly. With over 200 officers in riot gear, as well as mounted police, the LAPD dispersed the crowd with pepper spray and batons. Protestors and Rage Against the Machine/Ozomatli concert-goers at the DNC recorded these actions in photos and video. The export of these

images across the world brought pressure to bear on Los Angeles city officials, who eventually were forced to honor a request by Rage Against the Machine to give a free concert to those who had been forced out of the DNC concert by the LAPD. Using this media coverage to their advantage, Justice for Janitors, the Bus Riders Union, and several other protest movements involved themselves in the event, speaking between songs performed by Rage Against the Machine at the Staples Center following the DNC. In this instance, actions of protestors and musicians constituted an articulation of spatial rights to be represented at the DNC, to use public spaces for political expression, and ultimately, in the concert that followed, to convey the accumulated injury and political possibilities contained in collective action. As the actions of Rage Against the Machine and Ozomatli in 2000 demonstrated, collective struggles to claim physical and discursive spaces can be tools for opposing spatial isolation, to the erosion of the welfare state, anti-immigrant sentiment and policy, and the disrespect for the lives of people of color. As I have shown in previous chapters, these struggles do not need to be structured around the liberation of all groups, they merely need to be ready to act on the possibility that their struggles empower and/or affect other, similarly disenfranchised, groups. This action may be minimal or immense; the point is in recognizing and learning from the triumphs, strategies, and mistakes of similarly intended struggles. In Los Angeles today, the Los Angeles Community Action Network carries on the tradition of successful multiethnic, broad-based radical movements. The group has been at the forefront of the struggle to protect basic human rights for residents of LA’s skid row and for the right to fair housing for every person. Since November 2005, they have sought to protect their constituents from police brutality, setting up an alternative security presence in the community comprised of trained community members. This private “security company” ensures that civil and human rights violations by the Los Angeles Police Department and Business Improvement District (BID) security guards and others are documented and stopped. By turning the spaces of extreme poverty into spaces of opportunity for community self-empowerment, mobilization, and public education, these social actors transform the lived environment into a locus of activity around access to food, the empowerment of women, and civil and human rights. An important spatial counternarrative has also been articulated by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). From its beginnings as an education and advocacy group, BAJI has recognized the linked interests of Black Americans and immigrants of color and has worked to develop a core

group of African Americans who are rhetorically and strategically prepared to support immigrant rights. Through its support of Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles immigrant causes and public opposition to attempts at repealing birthright citizenship, BAJI builds coalitions with immigrant communities and immigrant rights organizations. Members of BAJI believe that the impact of racism and economic globalization on African-American and immigrant communities constitutes a basis for forging alliances across these communities. They argue that Black and Brown people continue to suffer under histories of exclusion and economic exploitation. In high schools, reading groups, blogs, and public demonstrations, BAJI connects Black histories of economic exploitation, marginalization, and discrimination to the experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants.

FIGURE 16. Black Alliance for Just Immigration at Immigration Justice Protest.

Though BAJI began in the Bay Area, they are expanding their coalition work to include the Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance (LATWA)—a worker-led organization that protects and advances the rights of the predominantly immigrant taxi drivers in Los Angeles. They labor in a postindustrial economy in which employers have restructured the nature of work, cutting labor costs by shedding long-term union employees and adopting flexible work schedules using subcontracted, part-time nonunion employees. The janitorial industry in Los Angeles became a model of this process when it switched from employing union janitors to nonunion janitors in 1981, following a janitors’ strike in 1980. Contractors replaced unionized workers, many of whom were African American, with a mostly immigrant workforce from Mexico and Central America. The employers

then bitterly opposed any efforts at unionization, eventually contracting with the lowest-bidding cleaning companies. Soon after that, wages tumbled as nonunion firms established themselves in the sprawling suburbs and the union lost its hold on the market. 55 At the same time, hundreds of thousands of immigrants arrived from Mexico and Central America, desperate for work and vulnerable to exploitation. Almost overnight, the workforce changed from highly unionized, relatively well-paid and primarily African American to nonunion, minimum wage, and primarily immigrant. Taxi work in Los Angeles has also been transformed by immigration, though many of its workers are African immigrants. Led by Ethiopian immigrant Sentayehu Silassie, LATWA was formed in 2005 by a coalition of organizations, attorneys, and taxi drivers in partnership with the South Asian Network. Since then, LATWA has won two meterrate increases and the creation of a $15 airport minimum fee, which resulted in more than $22 million in additional annual income for the 4,000 drivers in Los Angeles. LATWA’s efforts led to elimination of the city’s necktie requirement, which posed a safety risk to drivers. BAJI and LATWA are now struggling together to protect driver-organizers, many of whom have been fired for their political work. BAJI’s actions to create alliances between Black Americans and immigrants, as well as their coalition with LATWA, are an eloquent example of the spatial entitlements that Black and Brown people have enacted. BAJI’s public alliance with immigrants is evidence that Black and Brown people are stronger together than they are apart. It demonstrates shared interest and mutual investment in the right to be treated humanely in every space. By linking the shared histories of economic injustice and colonial occupation, BAJI transforms a vulnerable minority into a multiethnic majority, one whose interests transcend national boundaries through their situated struggles against the damaging effects of free trade agreements and globalization. This alliance signals an enduring connection between the spirit of abolition democracy that was responsible for the 14th Amendment and the strategies deployed by immigrant rights groups to keep visible the humanity and dignity of immigrants and to relate their struggles to those of others.

CONCLUSION Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. —Martin Luther King Jr.56

Martin Luther King Jr.’s, message to the Memphis sanitation workers was a powerful directive to recognize the places where working people around the world could find points of common strength. He reminded his listeners about the Bible stories in which “Pharaoh” had a “favorite formula” for prolonging slavery. “What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens . . . that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”57 The material conditions that have created instances of intergroup and intragroup Conflict have also created new visions of space, citizenship, and sound in the midst of struggles for social justice. In many instances, the racial injustice experienced by Blacks and Browns has produced the notion that “there is no justice, there is just us.” Multiple spatial and psychic assaults on communities of color have even prompted some to surrender to individualistic strategies for transcending their beleaguered communities. In those instances, the attitude is much more defeatist, renouncing the networks of shared struggle and collective good that have not always been successful but that have sustained communities through their most challenging moments. One might hear from those individuals that “all we have is ourselves.” But the lessons contained in the historiography of Black–Brown spatial struggles and cultural expression, the efforts of individuals and social justice groups on behalf of human dignity, and a desire to maintain unity offer a different message, if we’re willing to listen. They say, “We have each other.”

NOTES 1. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I See The Promised Land.” Speech give in Memphis, TN, April 3, 1968. King, Martin Luther and James Washington, A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: HarperOne, reprint edition, 1990. 2. Public Enemy, “Harder Than You Think” SlamJamz Records, 2007. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. African Americans and Latinos, together, constitute 67 percent of the total state-prison population, though the rate of incarceration is significantly higher for the former. “California’s Changing Prison Population.” San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, August 2006. 6. Walker, Richard “California’s Collision of Race and Class.” In: Rogin,

Michael, and Robert Post (Eds.), Race and Representation: Affirmative Action. New York: Zone Books, 1998, p. 284. 7. Baldassare, Mark. California in the New Millennium: The Changing Social and Political Landscape. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000, p. 17. 8. Hadjor, Kofi Buenor. “Race, Riots, and Clouds of Ideological Smoke.” Race and Class 38, no. 4 (April–June 1997): 15–32. 9. Schiele, Jerome H. “The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996: The Bitter and the Sweet for African American Families.” Families in Society 79 (1998), 424–432. 10. “Washington Washes Its Hands.” Newsweek, August 11, 1996. 11. Fellner, Jamie, “Decades of Disparity: Drug Arrests and Race in the United States.” New York: Human Rights Watch, 2009, pp. 1–15. 12. López, Ian F. Haney. White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race. New York: New York University Press, 1996, p. 43. 13. Dred Scott was an African-American slave in the United States who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. His case was based on the fact that although he and his wife Harriet Scott were slaves, he had lived with his master Dr. John Emerson in states and territories where slavery was illegal according to both state laws and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The U.S. Supreme Court found that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States, and therefore could not bring suit in federal court. 14. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857). 15. Woodson, Carter G. “Fifty Years of Negro Citizenship.” Journal of Negro History 6, no. 1 (January 1921): 1. 16. Ethington, Philip J. “Segregated Diversity: Race-Ethnicity, Space, and Political Fragmentation in Los Angeles County, 1940–1994.” Final Report to the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation (September 13, 2000), 43. Los Angeles, CA: Haynes Foundation, 2000. 17. Quoted in Unz, Ron. “California and the End of White America,” Commentary 108 no. 4 (April 1999): 3. 18. Finnegan, David “Hate Crimes up since Proposition 187, Group Says (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles—CHIRLA)” National Catholic Reporter 32, no. 10 (October 1995): 6.

19. Wydra, Elizabeth “Debunking Modern Arguments against Birthright Citizenship.” In: Ho, James, Margaret Stock, Eric Ward, and Elizabeth Wydra, “Made in America: Myths and Facts About Birthright Citizenship.” Perspectives, A Publication of the Immigration Policy Center (September 9, 2009). 20. King, Ryan Scott. “Jim Crow Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Continuing Struggle to Silence the African-American Voice.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society 8, no. 2 (206): 11–12. 21. Bickel, Alexander. The Morality of Consent. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975. 22. Jason Reece, quoted in Fernandez, Valeria, “Communities Foreclosed” Colorlines, January 6, 2009. 23. Fernandez, Valeria. “Communities Foreclosed.” Colorlines, January 6, 2009, online publication http://colorlines.com/archives/2009/01/communities_foreclosed.html. 24. Household wealth is the accumulated sum of assets (houses, cars, savings and checking accounts, stocks and mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc.) minus the sum of debt (mortgages, auto loans, credit card debt, etc.). It is different from household income, which measures the annual inflow of wages, interest, profits, and other sources of earning. See Kochhar, Rakesh, Richard Fry, and Paul Taylor. “Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics” Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, July 26, 2011. 25. Rivera, Amaad, Brenda Cotto-Escalera, Anisha Desia, Jeanette Huezo, and Dedrick Muhammad. Foreclosed: State of the Dream 2008, vii, Boston, MA: United For a Fair Economy, 2008. 26. Ethington, “Segregated Diversity.” 27. Quoted in Chavis, Benjamin. “Black American Income Inequality.” Blackvoicenews.com (http://www.blackvoicenews.com/commentary/morecommentary/47287black-american-income-inequality.html). 28. Lopez Mark Hugo, and Gabriel Velasco, “Childhood Poverty among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation.” Pew Hispanic Center, September 28, 2011 (http://www.pewhispanic.org/2011/09/28/childhood-povertyamonghispanics-sets-record-leads-nation). 29. Lin, Judy. “Schwarzenegger Terminates Funding For Child Welfare,

AIDS Prevention.” In Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/28/schwarzenegger-expectedt_n_246100.html). 30. Viji Sundaram, “Cutting CalWorks, Schwarzenegger Channels Pete Wilson” May 17, 2010. New American Media http://newamericamedia.org/2010/05/cutting-calworks-schwarzeneggerchannels-pete-wilson.php 31. Ong, Paul, Linda Tran, Theresa Firestone, Deirdre Pfeiffer, and Oiyan Poon. “The State of South L.A.” Los Angeles: UCLA School of Public Affairs, 2008. 32. Lipsitz, George. “Abolition Democracy and Global Justice.” Comparative American Studies 2, no. 3, August 2004, pp. 271–286. 33. Duggan, Lisa. The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. 34. Pomfret, John. “Jail Riots Illustrate Racial Divide in California: Rising Latino Presence Seen as Sparking Rivalry with Blacks That Sometimes Turns Violent.” The Washington Post, February 21, 2006, p. A1. 35. Doherty, Carroll. “Attitudes Toward Immigration: In Black and White” Report for Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, April 26, 2006. 36. Wood, Daniel B.. “Rising Black-Latino Clash on Jobs.” Christian Science Monitor, May 25, 2006. (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0525/p01s03-ussc.html) 37. Parenti, Christian. “Satellites of Sorrow: Los Angeles, Prison, and the Circuits of Social Control.” In: Sawhney, Deepak Narang (Ed.), Unmasking L.A.: Third Worlds and the City. New York: Palgrave, 2005, p. 60. 38. Tita, George E., John R. Hipp, Lindsay N. Boggess, and Jill Leovy, “Intra- and Inter-Group Violent Crime among African-Americans and Latinos: A Study of Ethnically Transforming Neighborhoods in South Los Angeles.” Report to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), September 2007. Quoted in “Black-Latino Crime Wave in L.A. Unlikely, Study Finds.” Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2007, p. A4. 39. Holmes, Emory, and Sylvester Monroe, “Who’s Got the Power in the City of Angels?” The Root 3 (January 2011): xxx. 40. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, interviewed in Holmes & Monroe, “Who’s

Got the Power.” 41. Kelley, Robin D. G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 56. 42. Reza, H.G. “Thousands Get Deported over Minor Violations.” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2001, pp. A9–A10, quoted in Nevins, Joseph “Third World and Illegal in the City of Angels.” In: Sawhney, Deepak Narang (Ed.), Unmasking L.A.: Third Worlds and the City. New York: Palgrave, 2005, p. 109. 43. Ibid., p. 61 44. Lipsitz, George. How Racism Takes Place. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011, pp. 28, 57. 45. Martinez, Marilyn. “Strike at Jobs Program: L.A. Conservation Corps Workers Stage Sit-In, Demand Benefits and Better Pay.” Los Angeles Times March 22, 1995, p. C6. 46. Collins, Chuck, Betty Leandar-Wright and Holly Sklar. Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing American Wealth Gap. Boston: United for a Fair Economy, 1999, p. 31. 47. CovertAction Information Bulletin, “Uprising and Repression in L.A.: an interview with Mike Davis.” In: Robert Gooding-Williams, Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising. New York: Routledge, 1993, pp. 142–145. 48. Collins, Leandar-Wright, and Sklar, Shifting Fortunes, p. 31. 49. Krantz, Matt, and Barbara Hansen. “CEO Pay Soars While Workers’ Pay Stalls.” USA Today, April 1, 2011, p. xx. 50. Collins, Leandar-Wright, and Sklar, Shifting Fortunes, p. 31. 51. Chomsky, Noam, “The United States and the Challenge of Relativity.” In: Tony Evans (Ed.), Human Rights Fifty Years On: A Reappraisal. Manchester University Press, 1998. 52. Victor Hugo Viesca. “The Battle of Los Angeles: The Cultural Politics of Chicana/o Music in the Greater Eastside.” American Quarterly 56, no. 3 (September 2004): 719–739. 53. Sinclair, John. “Original Liner Notes & White Panther Party Statement.” Kick Out the Jams (Elektra Records 1 November 1, 1968). 54. Kornblut, Anne E. “Preserving disorder: Bush and other –isms.” New York Times, April 16, 2006, p. x.

55. Appleford, Steve. “Rage Against the Machine: Older and as Defiant as Ever.” Los Angeles Times July 24, 2011, p. xx. 56. For a concise history of this struggle, see Xxxxx, Xxxxx X. “Janitors’ Quest Complicated by Shifting Nature of the Job.” Los Angeles Times April 7, 2000, p. XX. 57. Luther, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”

Conclusion In This Great Future . . .

The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something entirely new . . . they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle slogans and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language . . . [the revolutionary] . . . has assimilated the spirit of the new . . . [but] can produce freely in it only when he moves in it without remembering the old and forgets in it his ancestral tongue. —Karl Marx1 Yes me friend . . . them say we free again The bars could not hold me, force could not control me now They try to keep me down, but Jah want I around. Yes I’ve been accused many a time, and wrongly abused now But through the powers of the most high, they’ve got to turn me loose . . . So if you are bullbucker, let me tell you this: I’m a duppy conqueror . . . —Bob Marley2

The history of struggles shared by Black and Brown people in Los Angeles from World War II to the present is a history of shared spaces and shared sounds. Although often resource-poor, African Americans and Mexican Americans were network-rich. They turned the segregation of the ghetto and the barrio into political and cultural congregation. They used their identities as commercial target constituencies of minor media outlets like low-wattage radio stations and ethnic newspapers to fabricate ways of making their own voices heard, both among themselves and by members of other communities. Estranged from ancestral homes in the southern United States and Mexico, they made an art out of migration and taught themselves how to feel at home everywhere in the world. The history of spatial entitlement and sonic politics in Black and Brown Los Angeles helps us see how the imagination can serve as a site for social practice. Housing segregation, urban renewal, discriminatory policing, educational inequality, and transit racism engrave the identities of race in

the experiences of place. Yet in response, aggrieved racialized groups reconfigure space as more than a mode of public and private segregation; it is also a critical tool used to seek full cultural enfranchisement, social membership, and political agency. These efforts did not erase the rivalries, divisions, and antagonisms between the groups. They did not prevent African Americans and Mexican Americans from resenting each other as they competed for scarce housing, limited employment opportunities, and social prestige. Yet reclaiming the city by deft manipulations of physical and discursive spaces enabled Black and Brown people to unmask and uncrown the power of Whiteness as a social force, to forge solidarities with one another, and to create constellations of struggle inside spaces of containment and confinement. Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno claimed public political space as a domain of women of color. They fought racialized space directly through Bass’s decades-long crusade against deed restrictions determined by race in the private housing market and Moreno’s bold championing of the rights of immigrant workers. When they could not move across space themselves as physical beings, their ideas and opinions traveled in newspaper editorials, magazine articles, speeches broadcast on the radio, and handprinted leaflets passed out at rallies and demonstrations. In negotiating the nexus of race and place in this way, they followed the pattern established in the everyday lives of their communities by zoot suiters who turned the sidewalks of the city into sites for celebration and self-assertion, by musicians and dancers who transformed dance halls into venues for interracial communication and cocreation, and by students, workers, and housewives whose everyday speech created a unique pattern of slang punctuated by elements of African-American “jive” and Mexican-American “calo.” These strains of mutual recognition and intersubjectivity came together materially on the night of July 2, 1944, during the benefit concert for the Sleepy Lagoon defendants, an event that turned a venue for classical music into a performance site for jazz, called an interracial and interlingual community together through performance of music by Black and Brown musicians, and appropriated the discursive spaces of jazz to assert a shared right to dwell in the city free of police brutality and prosecutorial racism. In the postwar years, urban renewal, freeway construction, white flight, and the first stirrings of deindustrialization and capital flight demolished many of the places and institutions that served as centers of interracial recognition and coalition during the war. In the wake of this destruction, African-American and Mexican-American youth appropriated the mechanisms of commercial culture to create new physical and discursive

spaces. Rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll music made by Black and Brown musicians in small studios on inexpensive recording equipment found its way on to the playlists of television and radio stations and reached audiences all across the metropolitan area. The powerful pull of this music brought young whites from the suburbs to share newly integrated spaces in the city and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County with AfricanAmerican, Mexican-American, Asian-American, and Native-American young people. Inside John Dolphin’s record store at 1065 Vernon Avenue, at the Legion Stadium in El Monte and the Rainbow Gardens in Ramona, and inside custom-made lowriders and hot rods cruising along Whittier Boulevard, musical performance and consumption connected people across races and places. The cumulative consequences of racialized poverty, punitive policing, and urban renewal and its attendant displacements led to the upheavals of the 1960s, to the collective mass mobilization of politicized people of color in civil rights and nationalist organizations, to the Watts Riots and the new community-centered institutions created in its wake, and to the maturation of a consciousness that the racial order of the United States had clear connections to the practices of empires overseas. In the midst of this political upheaval, cultural workers created new places and spaces through street demonstrations, mural art, armed self-defense groups, consumer collectives, and sites for performing music, theatre, and poetry. The kinds of shared injuries and indignities that enabled women of color to work together in campaigning for welfare rights, decent housing, health care, and employment opportunities also informed musical collaborations by The Mixtures, WAR, and Señor Soul. These well-established patterns of interracial cooperation and communication persisted into the era of deindustrialization, when cuts in funding for education and social services, the beginnings of mass incarceration, and the flight of high-wage jobs to low-wage areas around the world enacted new injuries on Black and Brown people in LA. These harsh new realities produced new forms of political resistance, mobilization, and struggle that had a cultural corollary in the emergence of the politicized punk music produced by disaffected youth of color. Their frustration with and anger at urban decay and persistent racism, led them to struggle to create new collective identities that reflected radical new perspectives on race, gender, class, and location. Their music expressed rejection of economic inequality through lyrics that were literally shouted back at what they perceived to be the sources of injustice. These patterns continue today. Anti-immigrant nativism, mass incarceration, the shredding of the social safety net, and the organized

abandonment of communities of color all promote divisions between African Americans and Mexican Americans. Yet the linked fate authored by these actions also produces shared struggles, spaces, and sounds. In mobilizations by young people, immigrants, workers, the homeless, and women’s groups, the struggle for spatial entitlement continues. Expressive culture continues to reflect and shape these efforts as exemplified in the hip-hop songs of M.E.D. and Kemo, the intercultural creativity of Ozomatli and the heavy metal sounds of Rage Against the Machine. Relational politics and identities emerge from shared spaces, and can serve as mechanisms for forging mutually beneficial and meaningful futures. The history of struggle, space, and sound in Black and Brown Los Angeles shows how an interracial imaginary has emerged from a complex history. These parts of the past persist in the present and point the way toward a possible future. Yet the problems of the past persist in the present as well. This dialectical relationship between the blasted hopes and unfilled hopes of the past and the struggle for a meaningful future characterizes struggles by people of color all around the world. For example, the Akan people, from whom many Jamaicans claim ancestry, believe that humans have three souls, one of which remains behind after death in the form of a duppy. There are both pleasant and spiteful duppies, but as a biographer of Bob Marley wrote, “all are feared for their unpredictability . . . in such a climate, many weak men make the wrong choices, follow the doomed path.”3 Similarly, Karl Marx believed in what he called a “world-historical conjuring up of the dead,” arguing that even a victorious revolution could fall victim to reinscribing “spirits of the past,” or old structures of domination that reemerge in a new form. 4 Marley’s observation that “them say we free again” signaled an understanding that for colonized people, “national freedom” signified little if any change, and it usually meant that governments financed by “first world” monetary funds would ensure colonialism’s continuation in a more obscure form. Yet the predictions about liberation in Marley’s songs show that Marley, like Marx, believed that “modern bourgeois society . . . is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”5 Most importantly, Marley professed to be a “duppy conqueror”—someone who had identified and defeated oppressive spirits of the past in order to forge a new vision in the present. Contrary to Marx’s warning about forgetting the ancestral tongue, Marley’s vision of the future included cultural memory. Across space and time, from the anticolonial struggles in the Caribbean, Africa, and South America, to the struggles for civil rights in the United States, Marley drew from the past for strategies of resistance to bullbuckers6 of racial oppression.

What he created in song remains a powerful symbol of unity for people all over the world. Marley’s philosophy about the strength and purpose of one’s past in the potential for liberation holds enduring historical relevance to Black–Brown spatial struggles and coalitional politics. Black and Brown people have shared more than histories of racism and segregation, of economic discrimination and immigrant exclusion, and of brutality and inequality. Part of mutually influential diasporas, the spatial entitlements they have enacted over the past seventy years in Los Angeles have shaped significant intellectual traditions and visions of social justice, even as their agents have been embattled by the histories of exclusion and subjugation. As the authors of critical freedom dreams and complex sonic and spatial politics, freedom seekers in this historical record remind us that we do not struggle to create meaningful futures out of nothing: the historical groundwork has been laid over decades of shared alliances, identities, and identifications in Los Angeles. These families of resemblance have created important archives of memory, strategy, and culture, making, as George Lipsitz has observed, “the distant past part of the proximate present.”7 It is a past whose legacy has too much power to remain unacknowledged and unexamined, particularly as evidence of what cultural workers and community activists have already accomplished on the road to a just future. If it weren’t for the freedom dreams of activists and cultural workers in the past and present, facing the future would be a daunting task for Black and Brown working-class communities. The national unemployment rate for Blacks exceeded 17 percent in 2011 and surpassed 20 percent in at least five states; the poverty rate for Black children is predicted to reach as high as 50 percent by the end of the recession—a 16 percent increase since 2008. In 2010, Blacks earned 62 cents and Latinos 68 cents for every dollar of white income. Blacks and Latinos are 2.9 and 2.7 times as likely, respectively, to live in poverty as whites. Black and Latino children are 3.3 and 2.9 times as likely, respectively, to live in poverty than white children. Blacks have 10 cents of net worth and Latinos 12 cents for every dollar of white net worth. 8 United for a Fair Economy concludes that “the economic situation for Latinos—from native-born to recent immigrant, from citizen to undocumented—has become increasingly interwoven with the economic conditions of Black populations.”9 There is a preponderance of conjecture that the current material and social realities for Black and Brown communities are evidence of the failure of interracial struggles—in other words, that the movements for and cultural expressions of the right to social justice have failed. But to assume that is to imagine that such efforts should succeed all the time and that

they should be evaluated by a measure outside their own making. This conclusion is both historically inaccurate and too simple. People become active in the social struggles to make meaningful changes in their own conditions and to make the world we live in a more just place. They are rarely, if ever, completely perfect and exemplary models of resistance, because they emerged from specific contexts and had goals relevant to particular times and spaces. As Robin Kelley has opined, “to be effective, social movements must develop their own leaders and build agendas around people’s actual needs and grievances, irrespective of whether or not they fit into the logic of a particular analytical framework.”10 Mutual struggles waged in response to racial and spatial repression have created both moments and movements in which Blacks and Chicanos have unmasked power imbalances, sought recognition, and forged solidarities by embracing the strategies, cultures, and politics of each other’s experiences. Giving priority to space and sound strengthens our understanding of this history’s significance. Spatial entitlement draws attention to what we can learn from coalitional politics, space, and popular culture in the lives of ordinary people. The efforts by Charlotta Bass and Luisa Moreno to reveal shared conditions of exclusion and marginalization among working class, particularly Black and Mexican-American youth, drew attention to the ways in which these groups were not only isolated from white residential and commercial spaces, but also were constantly pitted against each other in desperate competition for scarce resources. Bass’s and Moreno’s work on the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (SLDC) brought a tradition of interracial organizing into contact with the sonic and spatial politics of Black and Brown youth in wartime and postwar LA. Articulating a spatial entitlement to create new congregations and constellations of struggle through new uses of sound and mobility enabled them to perceive similarities as well as differences and to build political affiliations and alliances grounded in intercultural communication and coalescence in places shaped by struggles for meaningful space. Despite the high price that activists and zoot-suited youth paid for enacting spatial entitlements, Black and Brown youth deployed them as a way of advancing democratic and egalitarian ideals. Spatial entitlement is one way to understand a tradition of organized and creative resistance by ordinary people who generated extraordinary alliances. Urban renewal resulted in devastating losses of assets and space in the postwar period, particularly among Mexican Americans. In very different ways and with different consequences, space was the source of both tremendous loss and great empowerment for youth of color. In this

period and in the 1980s, spatial entitlements articulated by Black and Brown youth were achieved largely through creative uses of discursive cultural practices. Black and Brown punk subcultures turned spaces abandoned by deindustrialization into powerful sites of interracial and antiracist congregation. The hip-hop and dance culture that foreshadowed gangsta rap made use of public spaces such as swap meets and locally owned recording technologies to circulate sonic commentary on the devastating effects of Reaganomics, and express spatial entitlements to live productive lives in meaningful spaces. The use of literal and discursive space in struggles for rights, resources, and recognition has acquired renewed significance in the late twentieth century and early 2000s, when anti-immigrant legislation and mass incarceration have resulted in punitive forms of spatial immobilization that make it dangerous for Latinos in particular (documented or not) to move freely in public space. Interracial coalitions in nearly 20 states have passed official boycotts of states that harass and denigrate immigrants. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration organizes and educates African Americans to be critical allies for immigrants. They show how shared histories of oppression can be redeployed to effect powerful alliances. They and the immigrant rights groups they support express Latino entitlement to live productive lives in meaningful spaces, and demand that our human and social worth no longer be taken for granted, least of all in our own communities. The history of spatial entitlements among Black and Latino people in LA evidences the belief that everyone deserves to be recognized in the places and spaces they call home. Throughout the history of the spatial and racial struggles that I have described is the desire for freedom to build meaningful futures, to have our histories validated, and to exercise the “freedom dreams” created under terribly oppressive conditions. When the physical spaces have been revoked from Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles, Black and Brown youth cultures have turned discursive space into a locus of empowerment and created new soundtracks of struggle and dignity. Karl Marx and Bob Marley had very different beliefs about the purpose and influence of one’s past in informing struggles for freedom, but they both believed in the power of aggrieved groups to achieve it. The calculated exclusion that poor people and people of color experience today can sometimes result in a collective uncertainty about whether the efforts we make can ever amount to living in a world where dignity and equity are prized over profit. But the record of struggles among Black and Brown freedom seekers in Los Angeles offers a vision of justice, often ridiculed

but always renewed, that is worthy of our critical attention. It reveals an abiding faith in the power of history to help effect great outcomes. Perhaps these are the kind of politics Marley had in mind when he reminded us that “in this great future, you can’t forget your past.”11

NOTES 1. Marx, Karl. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte New York: International Press, 1987, p. 1 2. Marley, Bob “Duppy Conqueror.” Tuff Gong Records, 1969. 3. White, Timothy. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley. New York: Holt, 1994, p. 25 4. Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire, p. 1 5. Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” In: Tucker, Robert C. (Ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd ed.). New York: Norton, 1978, pp. 473–483. 6. A “bullbucker” is a bully. White, Catch A Fire. 7. Lipsitz, George. Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2007, p. 263. 8. Dillahunt, Ajamu, Brian Miller, Mike Prokosch, Jeannette Huezo, and Dedrick Muhammad. “State of the Dream 2010: DRAINED; Jobless and Foreclosed in Communities of Color,” Annual Report. Boston: United for a Fair Economy, 2010. 9. Sullivan Tim, Wanjiku Mwangi, Brian Miller, Dedrick Muhammad, and Colin Harris. “State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority,” Annual Report. Boston: United for a Fair Economy, 2012. 10. Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class, New York: Free Press, 1996, p. 230. 11. Marley, Robert Nesta. “No Woman No Cry.” Natty Dread, Island Records—ILPS 9281.

Acknowledgments It’s one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they’re the four hugest words in the world when they’re put together: You Can DO It. —Sherman Alexie

This book has been many projects and has had many lives, but it is what it is because of my people, my pueblo querido that includes family and compañeros from around the world. First, a shout-out to all the people who came to my talks over the years, who aren’t academics, who grew up on or wrote the music I write about, or who witnessed or participated in the movements I examine. Many times I recall your excitement about my work. I wish I knew all your names, so I could say thank you directly for affirming that what I was writing was true for the most important folks: the ones who were there. Fellowships from the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research at UCSB, and the UCSB Center for Black Studies allowed me the time and resources to complete this project and begin the next one. This project began under the guidance of David W. Noble: my advisor, friend, and source of constant intellectual inspiration and kindness. Gail Noble’s encouragement and support is, also, greatly cherished and admired. Thank you to the entire staff at the UCLA Special Collections, Southern California Research Library, and USC Special Collections, who were very helpful over the years, and also to Sylvia Curtis and Sherri Barnes at UCSB for their research assistance at critical moments. Professors Daniel Widener and Luis Álvarez convened a working group at UC San Diego in 2009 comprised of scholars researching the links between Black and Brown communities. Two days of intense conversation and critical feedback that included wonderful colleagues such as Lauren Araiza, Ana Rosas, Cat Ramirez, Poncho Sánchez, George Lipsitz, and George Sánchez, was an incredibly fruitful experience that greatly shaped my thinking on the early chapters. Laura Pulido and Josh Kun organized a similar collective of scholars to write about Black and Brown LA, and our

meeting at USC in 2010 was similarly inspiring as I honed the parameters of my thinking on spatial entitlement. Both Laura and Josh mean more to me than they know in terms of modeling how to be committed colleagues and scholars. As with any project that values collective action, the list of people to whom credit is due for inspiration and support is vast. Several colleagues at UC Santa Barbara, namely George Lipsitz, Douglas Daniels, Cedric Robinson, Stephanie Batiste, Ingrid Banks, Jeffrey Stewart, Claudine Michel, Roberto Strongman, Otis Madison, Jude Akudinobi, Jane Duran, and Elizabeth Robinson have been important to my understanding of why this work matters in Black Studies. Colleagues and friends such as Grace Chang, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Avery Gordon, James Kyung-Jin Lee, Rhonda Gonzales, Tammy Amoth, Danielle Wortham, Lisa de la Portilla, Malik Farrakhan, Claudia Jimenez, Josie Mendez-Negrete, Richard and Terry Nelson, Keta Miranda, Cary Clack, Malik Nevels, Carolina Gaete, Jenessa Nye, Melchia Crowne, Mary Ann Soule, Claudia Jiménez, Pete White, Becky Dennison, and Barbara Spindel have provided valuable support, whether through critical encouragement or direct feedback on talks or drafts. Nimisha Shastri has been a friend and support for 22 years, and her excitement about this project’s possibilities has been sincere, inspiring, and gratefully received. Karen Liu is the most competent, professional, and resourceful research assistant in the universe. Yeah I said it: the universe. She has been both a teaching and research assistant for the past 7 years, and there is, simply, no one like her. Jose Alex Marroquín made key inquiries for me that resulted in some of the most important work in the book. His interest in cultural politics and commitment to social justice make me proud to have called him my student. Every scholar needs the folks with whom you can share your roughest ideas and drafts. Anne Martínez and Deborah Vargas, I and this book are better for your feedback, love, and encouragement. Anne, “always we begin again.” Laura Jiménez has supported this project by reading my work, but also continues to inspire me through her activism and her personhood. She is my comadre and sister, and I am better for our heart and soul connection. Many, many people read parts of the manuscript and offered useful suggestions, criticisms or encouragement. Jordan Camp and Jonathan Gómez were particularly engaging in this regard on questions of geography and music, and I’m grateful for their good work. Ingrid Banks has been a stellar colleague and a true friend, offering incisive critiques of my work but also supporting me in ways I would never

have considered asking for. Big ups to my homegirl. Always. Clyde Woods read one of my chapters, gave me feedback, then forgot he’d done so and apologized to me from his hospital bed, telling me he’d always felt like a bad colleague because he never returned my chapter with comments. But he had. Typical Clyde, my brilliant, totally disorganized brother. Those of us who strive to do conscious work that means something are a little less without you, but also much more for having had you in our lives. Marjorie Bryer came through for me at a crucial moment, reading drafts and suggesting unique sources. For nearly 20 years, she’s inspired me to think and listen—and laugh—harder. Kirsten Gardner and Jennifer Guglielmo read several chapters, gave wonderful feedback, and offered helpful advice as I prepared the manuscript for review. Julie Carlson—one of the kindest people on the planet—is also one of the toughest readers. My work gained much strength as her feedback made me raise my writing and research standards. I’m similarly grateful to Robin Kelley, who was and continues to be a wonderful combination of friend, colleague, and inspiration. Through conversation, written word, and critical practice, Lord Aswod, Jeff Chang, Dave “Davey D” Cook, Brendan “BK-One” Kelly, Mark Anthony Neal, (Brother) Ali Newman, and Oliver Wang have taken my comprehension and appreciation of music to new levels. Conversations with BK-One, Brother Ali, and DJ Lord (mi FREN!) have held special significance for me over many years. I was sitting in my office one day and got a most surprising call from Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who had pen in hand to grant me permission to use photos of herself and her father, LA Councilman (and later U.S. Representative) Edward Roybal. Those 10 minutes we spent talking about environmental justice and Black–Brown coalitions were very important to me and carried me over the finish line. The Roybal family has maintained important commitments to multiracial struggles for social justice in Los Angeles, and those of us who do this work are grateful for your contributions and achievements. Special shout-outs must be made to Lorenzo Ridenhour, who models for our family the importance of listening to and telling people’s stories; to Judy Ridenhour whose good nature and astonishing commitment to researching and preserving family history inspires. To Lisa and CeeCee and Eric for always keepin’ it real (and often real hilarious). And to Veronica Ridenhour for demonstrating a rare philosophy of kindness and forbearance. A special thank you to my stepdaughters Djira and Dominique, my bonus daughters to be sure, who have allowed me to

witness their growth and generosity and who surprise me in wonderful ways. Thank you, Deborah McClendon-Ridenhour, for sharing them with me. My brother, Hymon Johnson, Jocelyn Brown Johnson, Karen Younkins, Judy and Dewitt Harris, Holly and John Marshall, Cornita Brown, Melvin Johnson, Rudy and Chrys Darden, Tika Jackson, Kim Piper, Rasaan Younkins, Lester Augustine, and Marcus Augustine are treasured family members who have always encouraged me. Thank you to Kelly Brown, my sista-cousin, for reminding me why this book was an important demonstration of something bigger than a bound volume, that the politics and people and spirit in it constitute a gift for me and, I hope, for others. Yovana Burton, trusted caregiver for my daughter, made it possible for me to work and to recharge, indispensable gifts for someone in the last throes of a project such as this. Olga Ruiz made our house feel like home while I focused on work. I’m deeply grateful to both of these women for their good work and help in the core areas of my life. I take my place among many, many scholars who have benefited from George Lipsitz’s friendship, committed collegiality, and unflappable support. George shrinks from recognition of this kind, but his fingerprint is all over much of the best work that many of us do. Thank you, George, for your unswerving and protracted faith in me and in my scholarship. I am unbelievably fortunate to have Juanita Hernández Johnson and Hymon T. Johnson for parents. They have endeavored to give me everything that might inspire me to contribute something meaningful to a conversation on love and social justice. As I was finishing this book, my Mom in particular sacrificed her days and nights to spend time with my newborn daughter, make sure I was eating and sleeping, and give us both as much love as anyone can receive, a gigantic gift that I can never repay. My Dad was also there every step of the way, and I’m so grateful for his wise reminders and his tender encouragement through it all. And I mean all of it. I have the kind of husband who listens to my ideas, endures my grumpiness when I don’t have the time or energy to write, tirelessly encourages me, comes to my talks and takes notes, and is the first to raise his hand during the Q&A. Chuck D is one of the most legendary and righteous public intellectuals we have, but he’s also the generous and gentle love of my life, father to our beautiful daughter, and steadfast partner and friend. I’m so grateful for his support of this work, and most especially for his steely commitment to justice, in the heart, in the home, and in the world. The mistakes in this monograph are mine to own, but the best of this

book is for the best of me: La Cayeloncita Marie Tonantzín. Gracias por elegirme.

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Index

14th Amendment, xvi–xvii, 9–10, 175–76 Aardell record label, 70 Abers, Willy, 182, 183, 184, 185 abolition democracy, 9, 10, 13, 189 AFL International Association of Machinists, 44n70 African Americans: as citizens, xi; employment of, 98, 151, 199; homeownership rates, 184; impact on Mexican music, 67–68; marketing to, 74; in Mexico, xvii–xviii; migration of, xxv; in NYC & Detroit, 44n70; political identity of, 26; in poverty, 177–78, 199; in prison, xxvin36, 190n5; socioeconomic condition, 94, 172; upward mobility of, 131; votes of, 120n26 Afro-Mexicanos, xvi–xvii, xxvn23 The Afro Sisters, 148 agricultural workers, 16, 17, 44n70 Aid to Needy Children (ANC), 97 aircraft manufacturing industry, 16, 84n90 Allen, James, 93 Allen, Papa Dee, 113–14 Allen, Tony, 71 alliances. See interracial alliances and activism “alternative academies” of aggrieved peoples, xvi alternative and relational histories, 111–12 Althusser, Louis, xxi, 127, 161 Alvarez, Carmelo, 182, 184 Alvarez, Luis, 7–9 Amezcua, Mike, 155 Amigo, Mr., 66

Amin, Ash, 142 Anders, Vernon, 51 Annual Mortgage Lending Report, 177 anti-immigration legislation: Birthright Citizenship Act, 175–76; HB 56, xxiiin9; HB 87, xxiiin8; Proposition 187, 174–75; SB 1070, xxiiin7, 180. See also immigrants and immigration antiracist alliances. See interracial alliances and activism Apollo Theater, 113 Appadurai, Arjun, 64 Arechiga, Avrana, 60 Armendariz, Alicia. See Bag, Alice Armstrong, Louis, 66 Arnold, Gina, 146 Arteaga, Alfred, 102 Arturo “Tito” Guizar Tolentino, Federico, 65–66 assassinations of the 1960s, 119n10, 197 Aswod, Lord “DJ Lord,” xxivn14 audiences, 72, 79, 115 audiomobility, 111, 112 Autobiography of Malcolm X (X), 27 Ávila, Eric, 51–52, 80n15, 93 Bad Brains, 135 Bag, Alice: band of, 126; early influences, 125–26; with Jackson, 147; marginalization of, 133–34; in Nicaragua, 145–46; significance of, 144; on social movements, 138–39; with Vaginal Davis, 126fig. BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration), 187, 188fig., 189, 200–201 ballads, 67–68 bands: The Bags, 126; The Brat, 143; Bus Boys, 139; El Chicano, 118; Los Crudos, 114–15, 137, 138, 140, 141, 143, 146; Fishbone, 135, 136; Fun Boy Three, 165n45; Los Illegals, 143; Jaguars, 69–71, 70fig., 115, 116; Limp Wrist, 146, 147fig.; Los Lobos, 114–15; The Miracles, 69– 70; The Mixtures, 115–16; Pachuco Boogie Boys, 28, 29; Rage Against the Machine, 181; Señor Soul, 87fig., 110–11; The Specials, 165n45; Thee Midniters, 29, 75, 76, 77, 84n90, 112–13, 118; WAR, 91, 113–14; The Warriors, 143–44 Bass, Charlotta: background of, 13; electoral politics of, 36–37; on Fremont High, 83n78; housing activism of, 21, 22–23; impact on SLDC, 34–35; linked to Kenyatta, 88; legacy of, 39, 97; on racism in schools,

54; with Robeson, 14fig.; significance of, 3–4, 7, 20, 23–24, 26, 195, 200; use of discursive space, 21; use of spatial entitlement, 3, 4; on White supremacy, 32 Bass, Joseph Blackburn, 13 “The Batterram” (Tee), 159–60 beat juggling, xiv–xv Bemis, Gray, 37 Berman, Marshall, 56 Berry, Richard, 71 Bickel, Alexander, 176 bilingual education programs, 175 Birmingham, Alabama, xiii birthright citizenship, 175–76 “BK-One,” xxivn14 Black, Les, 3 Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), 187, 188fig., 189, 200–201 Black Arts West (Widener), xiii, 102 Black imaginary, 109, 182 Black nationalism, 101, 106 Black Panther Party, 91 Black public spheres, 64 Black punks, 135–36, 139, 143–44 Black Student Union (BSU), UCLA, 105 Black Studies, demand for, 105 Blake, Art, 111 Blaxicans, 181 blues epistemology, 41n29 bolero trio ballads, 67–68 Bond, J. Max, 17 Bowron, Fletcher, 52, 59 Boyle Heights, 56–58, 72 Bracero Program, 16 Bradley, Tom, 54, 120n26, 151–52, 159–60 Brat, Rudy, 143 Bridges, Harry, 36–37 Briggs, Willie, 87fig., 110 British punk, 132, 136 Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 20, 44n70

Brown, Edmund “Pat,” 100 Brown, Elaine, 117 Brown, Harold, 113 Brown, Oscar, Jr., 77 Brown Berets, 107 Bull, Michael, 3 Bunch, Lonnie, xvi Bureau of Music, 72 Bus Boys, 139 California, governance of: Brown, Edmund “Pat,” 100; Proposition 13, 155–56; Proposition 187, 174–75, 180; Proposition 227, 175; Schwarzenegger, 177–78; Wilson, Pete, 174. See also Los Angeles, governance of California CIO Convention, 9fig. California Eagle: Bass at, 3–4; as discursive space, 20, 21; leadership of, 13; role of, 88; on Sleepy Lagoon case, 31, 32 CalSan, xix CalWORKS, 178 Camacho, Alicia, 12 car culture, 73–75 cartographic imagination, 12 CB Radio culture, 111 CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), 183 Central Avenue: characteristics of, 51; clubs of, 66–67; culture of, 78; Dolphin’s of Hollywood, 50, 51, 79n10, 144 Chang, Jeff, 156, 157 Chávez, César, 107 Chavez Ravine, 60–63, 61fig., 62fig. Chevrolet, 74 Chicana feminism, 23 Chicana punks, 144–45 Chicana Service Action Center (CSAC), 97 Chicana Welfare Rights Organization, 97 Chicano historiography, 43n65 Chicano nationalism, 106 “Chicano Power” (Thee Midniters), 84n96, 113 Chicano Studies, demand for, 105–6

Children’s Defense Fund, 131 Chuck D, 169 “Chucos Suave” (Pachuco Boogie Boys), 45n82 CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations), 4, 9fig. citizenship, birthright, 175–76 citizenship, social, x–xi, 25–26, 64–65, 72 City Council of Los Angeles, 12 city planning, Los Angeles, 93–94, 98. See also urban renewal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 183 Clark, VéVé, 137–38 Clayton, Rodger, 157–58 Clinton, George, 113 Clinton, William Jefferson, 171–72, 183 Coalition for Clean Air, 153 Coalition for Women’s Economic Development, 151 coalition politics: Coalition for Clean Air, 153; Coalition for Women’s Economic Development, 151; constellations of struggle as, 3, 7, 12, 25, 30; history of, xix; for a living wage, 154; impact of state repression on, 101–3; scholarship on, 103–4; of SLDC, 6–7, 39; linked to spatial entitlement, 34; of workers, 90–91. See also interracial alliances and activism cognitive mapping, 137 COINTELPRO, 90, 117 the collective self, 76–77, 79 collectivities, nature of, 10, 125 Collins, Albert, 114–15 Communist Party, USA, 44n70 Community Service Organization (CSO), 11 Compton, California, 91, 93, 158fig. congregation, interracial, xii, 51, 64, 76 Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), 4, 9fig. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 107 constellations of struggle, 3, 7, 12, 25, 30 CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), 107 Corona, Bert, 154, 168n105 Corporation for National Service, 182 The Cosby Show, 133 Cosgrove, Stuart, 32–33

counterintelligence programs, 90, 117 Covarrubias, Teresa, 143, 144, 145, 148 Crayton, Connie, 51 The Creators, 113 Los Crudos, 137, 138, 140, 141, 146 cruising, 51, 72–73 Crump, James, 87fig., 110 CSO (Community Service Organization), 11 “Darling” (The Mixtures), 115–16 Davis, Mike, 99, 183 Davis, Vaginal Crème, 126fig., 147–48, 166n88 defense industry, 129–30, 163n16 deindustrialization, 131, 151 de la Rocha, Zack, 186 Democratic National Convention (DNC), 185, 186 demography and economy, 92–95 demonstrations, protest, 6fig., 106, 152fig., 153fig. Department of Social Services (DPSS), 106 deregulated economies, impact of, 132–34 DeVeaux, Scott, 29 Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta (Woods), 41n29 diaspora literacy, 137–38 Díaz, José, 24–25 Diaz, Raul, 28 disc jockeys, xxivn14, 51, 79n7, 79n8 divide-and-conquer strategy, 22, 37–38, 180, 181 “DJ Lord,” xxivn14 DNC (Democratic National Convention), 185, 186 Dolphin, John: death of, 79n7; use of discursive space, 53; Dolphin’s of Hollywood, 50, 51, 79n10, 144; record label of, 50, 70 “Don’t Knock It ‘til You Try It” (Limp Wrist), 147fig doo-wop ballads, 67–68 downzoning, 94 Doyle, Peter, 75 DPSS (Department of Social Services), 106 “Dreaming Casually” (Thee Midniters), 77, 113

Dred Scott v. Sanford, 173, 175, 191n13 Du Bois, W.E.B., 9 Duggan, Lisa, 178 Durazo, Maria Elena, 154 East Los Angeles, 28, 29, 92, 97, 154 East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU), 97 Eastside Sun, 31, 56 East Valley Organization, 154 Ebony Magazine, 69 Economic and Youth Opportunity Agency (EYOA), 96, 104 economic aspects of interracial tension, 149–50 Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, 95 Economic Opportunity Federation (EOF), 97 economic policies and issues: deindustrialization, 131, 151; demography and, 92–95; economic crisis, 199; economic growth, 171; Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, 95; EOF, 97; EYOA, 94, 104; growth, 177; home loans, 56–57, 58; homeownership, 177, 184; interracial tension in relation to, 149–50; mortgage crisis, 177; Thatcherism, 132; United for a Fair Economy, 199. See also Reaganomics; War on Poverty Educational Opportunity Program, 105 El Chicano, 118 El Congreso del Pueblos que Hablan Español, 8, 10–11 Ellison, Ralph, 29 “El Plan del Barrio,” 107 Elysian Park Heights housing project, 60 employment and unemployment: Black, 98, 151, 199; city planning in relation to, 94; JOBS, 171; under Reagan, 130–32; wages, 182–83, 184. See also workers environmental racism, 57, 151–53 Escalante, Alicia, 90–91, 97–98 Escobar, Edward, 35 Espinosa, José, 185 Esteban Muñoz, Jose, 76, 79 Ethington, Philip J., 57–58, 177 ethnic nationalism, 101 ethnic studies, 105–6, 133 Eubanks, Bob, 116 Evans, Eric, 132

EYOA (Economic and Youth Opportunity Agency), 94, 104 fascism compared to racism, 31, 32, 34 Fatima Records, 143 Federal Housing Act of 1934, 58 Federal Housing Administration (FHA), 15, 22, 58–59 feminism and feminists: Chicana, 23, 43n65; in El Congreso, 10; constellations of struggle as, 7; Pruitt on, 19; punk, 144–45, 147–48 Fierce, Tasha, 139 Fierro de Bright, Josefina, 10 Fishbone, 135, 136 Fisher, Floyd H., 22, 42n47 Flint, Collin, 99 Flores, Francisca, 97 “Flying Home” (Hampton), 66 Ford Motor Company, 73–74 Fourteenth Amendment, 9–10, 175–76 Frantic Five, 78 freedom dreams and movements: coalitional, 90–91; Freedom Summer, 100–101; historical aspects, x; international influences, 88–89, 106; James on, 119n4; King on, 169–70; nationalist, 101–2, 106 Free Press, 99 Freer, Regina, 13, 22, 30 freeway construction, 56, 72 Fremont High School, 2fig., 54, 83n78 Fun Boy Three, 165n45 Galvin, Paul, 73 Gamble and Huff, 114 gangsta rap, 156, 159, 160 García, Matt, 17 Gates, Darryl, 158–59 gender and space. See feminism and feminists General Motors, 122n74, 154 General Strike of 1934, 44n70 GI Generation, 40n14 Gilroy, Paul, 45n82 “Going Home” (Fun Boy Three), 165n45

Golden State Freeway, 56 Gonzalez, Michelle, 143 government and politics. See California, governance of; Los Angeles, governance of; Reaganomics Gramsci, Antonio, 88, 91 Granz, Norman, 29 Grito Records, 155 gritos, 75, 77, 112 Guerrero, Vicente, xvii guerrilla radio stations, 157 Guevara, Rubén, 67, 114 Habell-Pallán, Michelle, 145 Hall, Stuart, 105 Hampton, Lionel, 66 Hancock, Hunter, 51, 68–69, 70fig., 71, 72 Hansberry, Lorraine, xxii Hansberry, Nannie and Carl, xvii–xviii Harlem Holiday, 68 “Harlemmatinee,” 68, 69, 72 a harmony of rejection, 128 Harvey, David, 4, 12, 40n10 hate crimes, 179 HB 56, xxiiin9 HB 87, xxiiin8 Healey, Dorothy, 14–15, 44n70 health, public, 60 Hebdige, Dick, 126, 128, 136, 148–49 Heller, Jerry, 159 Hernandez, Mike, 150 Herron, Willie, 143 Himes, Chester, 32 hip-hop music and culture: “BK-One,” xxivn14; economic aspects, 157–58; gangsta rap, 156, 159, 160; sonic politics of, 159; use of space, 200; spatial entitlements of, 160–61 history and histories: alternative and relational, 111–12; Bass and Kenyatta’s, 88; of CA, xvi; Chicano, 43n65; “a long fetch of,” 123n95; of Mexico, xvii; nature of, 41n29; punk, 125, 128; shared, ix–x, 10, 91,

189, 201; of soundscapes, 117–18; of spaces, 63 home loan practices, racialization of, 58 homeownership, 21, 177, 184 Home Owners Loan Corporation, 56–57 honking, 28 hooks, bell, 23 Hopkins, Lightnin’, 115 Horne, Gerald, 83n65, 95–96, 108, 117 household income vs. household wealth, 191n24 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), 5, 12–13 housing: activism, 22–23; FHA, 15, 22, 58–59; Home Owners Loan Corporation, 56–57; loans for, 56–57, 58; mortgage crisis, 177; ownership of, 21, 177, 184; public, 59; racial covenants, 15, 43n57; segregation, 15–16, 72, 120n23; tension over, 94 HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee), 5 Hugg, Dick “Huggy Boy,” 51, 75–76, 79n10, 112 Hughes, Langston, xviii–xix human rights, 8–11, 172 Hutchinson, Earl Ofari, 179–80 identity politics: formation of, 111; Mexican American, 25–26; in punk, 139–40; representation of, 110–11; social knowledge linked to, 106 immigrants and immigration: abolition democracy linked to, 189; BAJI, 187, 188fig.; birthright citizenship and, 175–76; to LA, 16–17, 132; legal aspects, xii, xxiiin7–9, 171, 173, 174–76; Lipsitz on, 167n99; SB 1070, 180; White, 17 immobilization, spatial. See mobility and immobilization implicit social knowledge: between Black & Brown LA, 106, 112; in hiphop & punk, 161–62; of Señor Soul, 110–11; significance of, 118; spatial assaults as, 109–10; of WAR, 113 In a Queer Time and Place (Halberstam), 148 income, household, 191n24 independent record labels, 50–51 industrial neighborhoods, 15 Infante, Pedro, 125, 126 infrapolitics, xxiin2, 6, 7, 15, 118 integration, school, 54, 83n78 interethnic alliances. See interracial alliances and activism interethnic tension. See interracial tensions

intergenerational organizing, 27 International Association of Machinists, 108 internationalism, 101, 106 International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, 168n105 International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, 18fig. interracial alliances and activism: BAJI, 30, 187, 188fig., 189, 200–201; Bass & Moreno, 5–6, 12; musical, 28–29; significance of, xv, 38–39; of the SLDC, 25, 34; unique aspects, 14; in zoot culture, 30. See also coalition politics; sonic politics interracial congregation, 51, 64, 76 interracial tensions: amongst workers, 107–8; causes, 179, 190; economic aspects, 149–50; in labor and housing, 17–18; Parker on, 103–4; in prison, 178–79; Rodriguez on, 18–19; uses of, 105; in Watts, 21–22 Invisible Man (Ellison), 29 Itagaki, Lynn, 32 Jackson, Fertile LaToya, 147 Jacobson, Matthew, 58 The Jaguars, 69–71, 70fig., 115, 116 James, C.L.R., 20, 88–89, 119n4 Jameson, Fredric, 134 janitorial industry, 188–89 Jenifer, Daryl, 135 Jewish neighborhoods, 51, 58 Job Opportunity and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program, 171 Jobs with Peace campaign, 151 Johnson, Dominic, 148 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 90, 92, 95–96 Jones, Opal, 103 Jordan, Lonnie, 114 Jordan High School, 54, 78 Joseph, Bella, 31 jump blues, 28 “Jump Jive and Harmonize” (Thee Midniters), 77 KCOP television, 116 KDAY radio, 157 Kelley, Robin: on oppositional politics, 180; on racism, 47n123; on

Reaganomics, 160; on resistance, xiii; on social movements, 199; on zoot culture, 28, 29–30 Kelly, Brendan “BK-One,” xxivn14 Kemo the Blaxican, 181 Kenyatta, Jomo, 20 Kern, Jerome, 70 KFVD radio station, 68 “Kick Out the Jams” (MC5), 185 King, Martin Luther Jr., 96, 100, 169–70, 189–90 King, Rodney, 183 King, Ryan Scott, 176 Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 177 Kovner, Eli, 56 KOWL radio station, 67 KRKD radio station, 51 KRLA radio station, 116 Laboe, Art, 69, 75 laborers. See workers “La Caida de Latino America” (Los Crudos), 141 La Causa de lo Pobres, 106 LACC (Los Angeles Conservation Corps), 182, 184 LaFalle-Collins, Lizette, xxvn32 LANCER (Los Angeles City Energy Recovery Plant), 151–53 landscapes, 112, 118 language of Sleepy Lagoon Defence Committee, 33, 34 language of zoot culture, 29 LAPD. See Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) La Raza, 102–3, 106 “La Raza” (El Chicano), 118 La Raza Unida Party, 91 Laslett, John, 120n23 Latino punks: Bag, Alicia, 125, 126fig., 133–34, 138–39; Los Crudos, 137, 138; marginalization of, 133; Sorrondeguy on, 134; spatial politics of, 137 Latinos: foreclosures rates, 177; Mexican American, 16–17, 25–26, 43n65, 67–68, 105–6; in poverty, 177, 199; in prison, 190n5; socioeconomic condition, 173 LATWA (Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance), 188, 189

League of United Latin American Citizens, 8 Lear, William, 73 Lechuga, Frank, 105–6 leisure space: Central Ave. as, 51, 78; policing, 76; politics of, 64; punk, 144; repression of, 69; segregated, 83n65; threat of, 78 Lengua Armada label, 137 Lewis, Earl, xxiii, 64 Liberty Hill Foundation, 130 licensing compensation, 79n8 Limp Wrist, 127, 134, 137, 146, 147fig. Lindsey, Gilbert, 152 Lipsitz, George: on homeownership, 21; on immigration, 167n99; on popular music, 123n95; on race and space, 142; on spatial imaginary, 63, 182 Lizarraga, David, 97, 108 Los Lobos, 114–15 “a long fetch of” history, 123n95 Longshoreman’s Union, xix, 44n70 López, Ian Haney, 173 Lopez Landfill, 152 López Tijerina, Réies, 91 Los Angeles, California: characteristics of, 42n47, 51–52; demographics aspects, 92–93, 150; demonstration in, 6fig., 18fig., 44n70; economic crisis in, 183; economic growth, 171; geographic aspects, 42n37; image of, 100; immigrants to, 16–17; industries of, 15–16; labor in, 17, 18fig.; public schools, 54–55; Reaganomics in, 130–31; socioeconomic aspects, 53–54 Los Angeles, governance of: Bowron, 52, 59; Bradley, 54; Bureau of Sanitation, 152; city planning, 98; divisiveness of, 22, 37–38, 180–81; Edward Roybal, 12; Gates, 158–59; Gilbert, 152; hip-hop on, 159–60; Housing Commission, 59; LA County Human Relations Commission, 175; LAPD, 52, 60, 76, 86–87, 106, 159; Neutra, 99; Planning Department, 93–94; policing, 60, 76; response to spatial entitlement, 51–52; Roybal, 11; Yorty, 94–95 Los Angeles City Energy Recovery Plant (LANCER), 151–53 Los Angeles Commission on Human Rights, 179 Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), 182, 184 Los Angeles County Action Network, 187 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD): congregation and, 52, 76; at the

DNC, 186–87; in hip-hop, 159–60; La Raza on, 106; punitive policing by, 60 Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance (LATWA), 188 Los Angeles Times, 61 “Lovin John” (Crayton), 51 lynching, mock, 2fig., 54, 83n78 Macías, Anthony, xxivn19, 52 Mack, Greg, 157 MacMillan, Don, 158 Macola Records, 158 manufacturing in Los Angeles, 84n90, 98, 151, 154 “Marijuana Boogie” (Pachuco Boogie Boys), 45n82 Marley, Bob, 194, 198, 201 Martos, Rafael, 125–26 Marx, Karl, 194, 197–98, 201 Masque Era, 126 MC5, 185, 186 McAdam, Doug, 100–101 McCormick, LaRue, 25 McGraft, Alice, 4 McKnight, John, 134, 135 McNeely, Big Jay, 69 McVea, Isaac, 65 McWilliams, Carey, 25, 31 M.E.D., 181 media coverage of Black Brown Los Angeles, 31–32, 178–79 MELA (Mothers of East Los Angeles), 152fig., 153fig. memory and representation, 109 Mexican Americans, 16–17, 25–26, 67–68, 105–6. See also immigrants and immigration; Latinos Mexico, xvii, xviii–xix, 114, 125 Miller, Charles, 87fig., 110 minimum wage, 182–83, 184 Minimum Wage Rock & Roll (Bus Boys), 139 Minky Records, 92fig. The Miracles, 69–70 Miranda, Keta, 76

The Mixtures, 92fig., 115, 116 mobility and immobilization. See spatial mobility and immobilization mock lynching, 54 Molina, Gloria, 97 Molina, Natalie, 59 Moore, Angelo, 135, 136 Moreno, Luisa: background of, 8; deportation of, 36–37; HUAC testimony, 12–13; impact on SLDC, 34–35; interracial antiracist activism of, 12; legacy of, 39, 97; photo of, 9fig.; significance of, 4, 7, 11, 20, 23–24, 26, 195, 200; at UCAPAWA, 11, 12; use of spatial entitlement, 3; on White supremacy, 32; women’s rights resolution of, 10. See also Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (SLDC) mortgage crisis, 177 mortgage restrictions, racialization of, 58 The Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA), 152fig., 153fig. Motorola radios, 73, 74 Mr. Amigo, 66 multinucleated urban pattern, 93 Muñoz, Rosalío, 98 music: audiences, 72, 79, 115; production of, 50–51, 68, 70, 117, 155; promotion of, 69, 70fig., 156–59, 158fig.; radio’s impact on, 50; venues for, 115, 143. See also bands; hip-hop music and culture; punk music and culture; sonic politics National American Aviation, 107–8 National and Community Service Trust Act, 183 nationalist politics, 91, 101–2, 106 national service programs, 183 Neal, Mark Anthony, 30 “The Neighborhood” (Los Lobos), 115 Neighborhood Adult Participation Project (NAPP), 103 neighborhoods: Boyle Heights, 56–58, 72; Chavez Ravine, 60–63, 61fig., 62fig.; Compton, 91, 93, 158fig.; demographics aspects, 92–93; East LA, 28, 29, 92, 154; Jewish, 51; racial and ethnic, 15–16; racial covenants in, 15, 21, 22; segregation of, 1, 54–55, 57–58; White, 54. See also South Central Los Angeles Neutra, Richard, 99 Nevins, Joseph, 181 The Nightshift, 113–14

Nixon, Richard, 100 Noble, David, 90 NWA, 158fig., 159 Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), 95 Okies, 17 O’Malley, Walter, 61 Orange County police officers, 181 Ortega, Anthony “Naff,” 78 Ory, Kid, 66 Otis, Johnny, 28 Ozomatli, 181, 182, 185, 186 Pace, Harry H., xvii Pachuco Boogie Boys, 28, 29, 45n82 Page, Tom, 73–74 Palafox, José, 134, 138, 155 Parenti, Christian, 179 Parker, Heather Rose, 103–4 Parker, William, 60 Parsons, Lucy, xvii People v. Zamora, 24–25, 34 Pérez, Louie, 115 Pew Research Center, 179 Phelps-Dodge Cooper Products, 18fig. Phil and Harv, 115 Philco radios, 73 Phillips, Johnny, 159 physical and discursive space: from commercial culture, 196; for constellations of struggle, 30; Dolphins of Hollywood, 51; Dolphin’s use of, 53; Eagle as, 4; sharing of, xii–xiii, 18–19; significance of, 195, 200; as terrains of struggle, 20–21; women activists use of, 10–11 Pico, Pío, xvi Pitchess Detention Center, 178 policing. See Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) politics: abolition democracy, 9, 10, 13, 189; of citizenship, 175–76; of cognitive mapping, 137; Communist Party, USA, 44n70; DNC, 185, 186; identity politics, 25–26, 110–11, 139–40; nationalist, 91, 101–2, 106;

oppositional, 180; of transfiguration, 45n82; transhistorical, 140–42. See also coalition politics; sonic politics Poliuto, Val, 69, 71 Pollock, Dan, 115, 116 Poor People’s March, xix portable radios, 73–74 Poulson, Norris, 60, 61fig. poverty: city planning and, 94; rates, 177–78, 199; rates of, 183; War on, 91, 92–93, 95–96, 97, 99–100, 103–4 Prince, Ron, 174–75 prison rates, xxvin36, 190n5 Proposition 13, 155–56 Proposition 187, 174–75, 180 Proposition 227, 175 Pruitt, Lisa, 19 public health policies, racialization of, 60 public housing, 59 public sphere, Black, 64 Pulido, Laura, xxiv, 102, 107 punk music and culture: bands, 136; Black, 135–36, 139, 143–44; British, 126, 132, 136; cognitive mapping in, 137; Los Crudos, 137, 140, 141, 146; Fishbone, 135; historiography on, 128; identity politics in, 139–40; marginalization of, 133, 138, 139; origin of, 125, 136; queercore, 139, 146–48, 147fig; racism and, 142–43; significance of, 138; Sorrondeguy on, 127, 134; spatial entitlements of, 142, 155; spatial politics of, 137, 140–41; style of, 134, 138; transnational aspects, 140–41; use of space, 200; Vaginal Davis, 126fig.; venues for, 143; The Warriors, 143–44; compared to White, 127; as White, 137; women in, 144–45. See also Bag, Alice; Latino punks Qualls, Brian, 143–44 Queer Latinidad (Rodriguez), 146 queer punk, 139, 146–48, 147fig. Quintero, Luis, xxivn20 Ra, Sun, 113 race records, 68 racial covenants, 15, 21, 22, 43n57 racism: anti-immigrant, xii, 174, 175, 180; fascism compared to, 31, 32,

34; impact of, 37–38, 179; Kelley on, 47n123; legal, 173–74; in punk, 143; in radio, 71; in schools, 54–55; space used for, 63; spatial, 178 radical openness, 23 radio: audiences of, 72; car culture in relation to, 73–74; hip-hop, 157; history of, 65–66; impact of, 50, 73; KFVD, 68; KOWL, 67; KPOP, 72; KRKD, 51; KRLA, 116; significance of, 66–67; White, 68 Rage Against the Machine, 181 Rainbow Gardens, 116 Ramirez, Catherine, 34, 43n65, 45n82 rap music. See hip-hop music and culture Reaganomics: in California, 130–31; impact of, 125, 128, 132–34, 156; impact on hip-hop, 159; Kelley on, 160 “reconstituted regionalism,” 141–42 Recorded in Hollywood record label, 50, 70 reggae and punk music, 136 representation and space, 109–11 Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, 171 “Rhythm & Bluesville,” 69, 70fig., 71 rhythm and blues, 50, 51, 68, 79n10 RIH record label, 50, 70 riots, 94, 178–79, 183, 185 The Roadium, 157 Roberts, Samuel, 60 Robeson, Paul, 14fig. Robinson, Cedric, xvii, 63 Rodriguez, Juana, 139, 146 Rodriguez, Luis, 18–19 Rogin, Michael, 129 Ross, Fred, 11 Roybal, Edward, 11, 12, 152fig. Roybal-Allard, Lucille, 152fig. Ruiz, Vicki, 8 Salas, Steve and Rudy, 114 San antonio, Texas, 19–20 Sánchez, George, 26, 56, 58 Save Our State (SOS) initiative, 174

SB 1070 (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), xxiiin7, 180 Schafer, R. Murray, 122n81 Schlesinger, Arthur, 133 schools: Fremont High, 2fig., 54, 83n78; Jordan High, 78; racism in, 55– 56; UCI, 179; UCLA, 105 Schrade, Paul, 107–8 Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 177–78 Scott, Dred, 191n13 Scott, Howard, 113 segregation, residential, 15–16, 72, 120n23 segregation of leisure space, xiii, 83n65 Self-Help Graphics, 143 Señor Soul, 87fig., 110–11 Sesma, Lionel “Chico,” 67 sexism in punk, 145 Shah, Nayan, 60 shared histories. See history and histories Shelley v. Kraemer, 43n57 Silassie, Sentayehu, 189 Sinclair, John, 185 Si Se Puede, 115 skid row, 187 Sklar, Holly, 130, 183 Slauson Avenue, 42n37 slaves and slavery, xvi, 9 Sleepy Lagoon case, 4, 31–32, 45n82 Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (SLDC): coalitional politics of, 39; Defense Fund, 29, 196; impact of, 35; intergenerational organizing of, 27; interracial activism of, 25; legacy of, 200; origin of, 6–7, 24–25, 26; strategy of, 33, 34 Smith, Roger, xi Smith, Susan J., 83n62 Smith and McCarran Acts, 6fig. social citizenship, x–xi, 25–26, 64–65, 72 sonic politics: concept of, 26–27; of hip-hop, 159, 160–61; of The Jaguars, 69–71; legacy of, 198–99; of Pachuco Boogie Boys, 29; of punk, 137, 140–41; of radio, 66–67; significance of, 195; spatial aspects, 49–50, 72–73, 78, 86–87, 117–18; of Thee Midniters, 75, 76, 84n90, 112–13,

118; of transfiguration, 29; of the vernacular, 29; of WAR, 113; of zoot culture, 28 sonic spatial entitlement. See sonic politics Sorrondeguy, Martin, 127, 134, 137, 140, 146–47 SOS (Save Our State) initiative, 174 soundscapes, xiii, 2, 112, 114, 117–18, 134 South Central Los Angeles: demographics aspects, 92–93; environmental racism in, 57; interracial tension in, 150; LANCER project in, 151–53; Organizing Committee, 154; poverty in, 94, 178; riots in, 183; schools in, 54 South Coast Air Quality Management District, 153 spatial entitlement, expressions of: Bass and Moreno’s use of, 3, 4, 10; concept of, x, 1–2; by Fishbone, 135, 136; gendered aspects of, 19–20; government response to, 51–52; in hip-hop, 160–61; historical aspects, 125; identifying, 124; interracial alliances linked to, 34; musical aspects, 29; of Ozomatli, 185; by punks, 137–38, 142; as resistance, xii; in schools, 55–56, 142, 155; significance of, 169, 181–82, 195–97, 198. See also physical and discursive space; sonic politics spatial mobility and immobilization: anti-immigration laws as, 181, 200; audiomobility, 111, 112; Bass in relation to, 21; causes, 170; city planning in relation to, 98–99; history of, 88; housing in relation to, 22, 58; resistance to, 158–59, 185; theory of, xxi, 4, 19 The Specials, 165n45 Spike Brothers, 66 stakes of spaces, 141–42 Stark, Phyllis, 71 Stax Records, 117 Stevenson, Edwin, 87fig., 110 Stompin’ at the Rainbow (The Mixtures), 92fig. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 101 students, 2fig., 54, 78, 83n78, 105–6 style, punk, 126, 138 “subaltern counterpublics,” 64 subprime mortgage crisis, 177 suburbs, 15–16, 72 supply-side economics. See Reaganomics Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), 180 Supreme Liberty Life Insurance

Company, xvii swap meets, 156–57, 158fig., 159 Tafolla, Carmen, 42n50 Talley, Howard, 87fig., 110 technology, 50, 73 Tee, Toddy, 159 teeth-gritting harmony, 127–28 TELACU (East Los Angeles Community Union), 97 television shows, 69, 72, 116, 133 Temecula, Emma, 19–20 Tenayuca, Emma, 42n50 Tenney Commission, 35–36 Thatcherism, 132 “The Ballad of César Chávez” (Thee Midniters), 84n96 The Crisis, 32 Thee Midniters: Black influences of, 77; political aspects, 84n90; significance of, 76, 84n96, 118; soundscapes of, 112–13; “Whittier Blvd,” 75 “The Way You Look Tonight” (Kern), 70–71 Third World Left, 102 Thompson, Robert Farris, xvi Thrift, Nigel, 140, 141–42 Thunderbird, 74 “Tiempos de la miseria” (Los Crudos), 141, 146 Tierra, 114, 117–18 Tillmon, Johnnie, 90–91, 97–98 Torres, Eddie, 76 Torres, Esteban, 104–5 Tosti, Don, 28 transfiguraton, politics of, 45n82 transhistorical politics, 140–42 transistor radios, 73–74 Treaty of Cahuenga, xvi Tremblay, Maxwell, 136–37 Tucker, Monroe, 51 Turner, Eugene, 93

UAW (United Auto Workers), 107–8, 122n74 UCAPAWA (United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers Alliance of America), 8 Uncle Jamm’s Army, 157–58 unemployment. See employment and unemployment unions: Alvarez on, 184; Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 20; CIO, 4, 9fig.; in coalitions, 90–91; constellations of struggle in relation to, 12; International Association of Machinists, 108; International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, 18fig.; janitorial, 188–89; longshoremen’s, xix, 168n105; TELACU, 97; UAW, 107–8, 122n76, 154; UCAPAWA, 8, 11, 12; UFW, 107; WLCAC and, 96–97; women’s activism in, 44n70 United Auto Workers (UAW), Local 645, 107–8, 122n74, 154 United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers Alliance of America (UCAPAWA), 8, 11, 12 United Farm Workers (UFW), 107 United for a Fair Economy, 199 United Mexican-American Students, 105–6 United Neighborhood Organization, 154 University of California, Irvine, 179 University of California, Los Angeles students, 105–6 urban renewal: in Boyle Heights, 56–57; Chavez Ravine, 60–63; consequences of, 78–79; impact of, 200; response to, 58, 65; of Whittier Blvd., 72–73 U.S. Housing Act of 1937, 59 Ventura County Limoneira Company Strike, 17 The Vex, 143 Villa, Raúl Homero, 109, 153 Villegas, Timmi, 105–6 Vincent, Ted, xxvn27 “Viva Tirado” (Wilson), 113 voting rights, 176 Wagner, Brian, 110 Walters, Rita, 150 WAR, 91, 113–14 War on Poverty: activism during, 99–100; demography and, 92–93; impact of, 91; management of, 103–4; programs of, 95–96; weakness of, 97

The Warriors, 143–44 “wars of position,” 88, 91 Watkins, Ted, 96, 108 Watts: demographics aspects, 93; interracial tensions in, 21–22; Neutra on, 99; riots in, 94, 100; Summer Festival, 116–17; WLCAC, 96–97, 108 wealth: household, 191n24; loss of, 75, 104, 177; from property, 21, 63; under Reagan, 129; transgenerational, 58 Welts, Johnny, 115 White, Timothy, 197 White accountability, 11, 13 White audiences, 79 White By Law (López), 173 Whiteside, Johnny, 69 “white spatial imaginary,” 63 Whittier Boulevard, 65, 72–73 “Whittier Boulevard” (Thee Midniters), 75, 112 Widener, Daniel, xiii, xxivn17, 102, 110 Williams, Margie, 72 Williams, Patricia J., xxivn17 Wilson, Gerald, 113 Wilson, Pete, 174 WLCAC (Watts Labor Community Action Committee), 96–97, 108 women’s activism, 38, 43n65, 44n70, 152–53fig.. See also Bass, Charlotta; feminism and feminists; Moreno, Luisa Women’s Asiatic Conference, 3 Woods, Clyde Adrian, 41n29 Woodson, Carter G., 13, 174 workers: activism of, 154; agricultural, 16, 17, 44n70; Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 20; coalitions of, 90–91; defense industry, 130; factory, 12; International Association of Machinists, 108; International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers, 18 fig. 5; LATWA, 188, 189; longshoremen, 168n105; National American Aviation, 107–8; racialization of, 16–19; racial tensions amongst, 107–8; sanitation, 189– 90; TELACU, 97; UAW, 122n74; UCAPAWA, 8, 11, 12; UFW, 107; wages of, 182–83; wartime, 52; women, 44n70. See also employment and unemployment Wright, Eric “Easy E,” 157 Wright, Richard, xviii Wydra, Elizabeth, 175

X, Malcolm, 27 Yanga, Gaspar, xxvn24 Yorty, Samuel, 94–95, 98, 120n26 zoot suit culture, 27–31, 195 Zukin, Sharon, 109