Hollywood Boulevard. Venice Beach. Disney Hall. The La Brea Tar Pits. Universal Studios. Rodeo Drive. What do they all have in common? They’re, of course, all popular local tourist destinations that always get star billing in guide books about L.A.

But there’s a new Southern California guide book out that takes you to places way off the beaten path and introduces you to little known stories of L.A. history. Titled “A People’s Guide to Los Angeles” the books explores locations that have been important to the struggle for racial justice, women’s rights, unionization, gay and lesbian freedoms, and environmental justice.

Check out my conversation with the book’s co-author Laura Pulido. She shares some places you might want to check out if you like mixing your urban exploring with social justice.  And check out some of the photos from the book, below.

3112 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles The former location of Kashu Realty, a Japanese-American owned real estate company that played an important role in desegregating L.A. neighborhoods. It did so by successfully negotiating the purchase of homes in previously all Anglo neighborhoods by African-Americans, Asians and Latinos. Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

 

(Zoot Suit riots, Malibu and more below)

3780 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles The 12th floor of the landmark art deco Wiltern Builting is the headquarters of the Bus Riders Union, a grassroots group which has successfully fought for better public transportation for L.A.'s low-income residents. Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

 

Malibu Public Beaches 22126 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Site of the Geffen Accessway, where Malibu homeowners have long- battled environmental groups attempting to improve public access to the beaches, a right enshrined in the California Coastal Act of 1976. Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

842 South Broadway, Los Angeles The Orpheum Theater and the downtown neighborhood around it were the sites of the Zoot Suit Riots, on-going street brawls that pitted Mexican American youth against military personnel and white civilians in May and June of 1943 Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

4115 South Central Ave, Los Angeles Former headquarters of the Southern California branch of the Black Panther Party and the site of a gun battle between the Panthers and LAPD in 1969. Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

4620 Rising Hill Road, Altadena The approximate location for the grave of Owen Brown, the son of 19th Century abolitionist John Brown. After the elder Brown was executed for the raid on Harper's Ferry, Owen eventually settled in Altadena. Photo credit: Wendy Cheng

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76 Comments »

  • dave knight said:

    interesting post. Thanks for sharing the pictures. I came across it while searching Rising Hill road in Altadena.

  • Deirdre said:

    I WANT this book!!!! I love this kind of history! When i lived in LA I spent all of my nights crawling the city finding all the historical "ghost" sites or historically relevant areas. Uhhhhh I love it! She should do one for AUSTIN tx next! ;)

  • Saul Gonzalez
    Saul (author) said:

    Deirdre, the authors of this book are talking about working on a series of "People's Guides" focused on various American cities. Right now, they're looking at Detroit and Atlanta, which seem ripe for such an exploration. Sorry, but no information about Austin. Maybe you're the one to tackle it? Saul Gonzalez

  • Geoff said:

    One would hope it goes beyond Rodeo Drive, which is beyond Los Angeles. It's in Beverly Hills.

  • Saul Gonzalez
    Saul Gonzalez (author) said:

    Geoff, we obviously know that Rodeo Drive is in the fully independent municipality of Beverly Hills, just like we know the Santa Monica Pier is in Santa Monica, the Queen Mary is in Long Beach, etc, etc. That said, I think when many of speak about L.A., we're often talking about the region generally without considering strict municipal boundaries on the map. It gets worse than our headline. Just remember the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim! Saul Gonzalez

  • Laura said:

    If i can clarify – the focus of the book is LA county. We discuss at length the distinctions between the city and county in the introduction to the book :) Laura Pulido

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