Chapter 4 Brown and Proud

In the 1950s, a demographic shift began in Highland Park, reshaping and creating new vocabularies of resistance and pride within L.A.’s Latino and Mexican communities.

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New Neighbors
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The Duardo Family
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Property Rights
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Benjamin Franklin High School
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The Muñoz Family
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Civil Rights Awakening
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Yo Soy Chicano

Brown and Proud Mural
In the 1950s Latino immigrants and their American-born children began owning and renting in Highland Park in earnest, claiming the neighborhood as their home. This demographic shift coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and a series of aligned events - school segregation, a burgeoning protest movement and intense community organizing - began to reshape the East Side and create new vocabularies of resistance and pride within L.A.’s Latino and Mexican communities.

Highland Park, in particular, became a hotbed for new ideas and novel responses to the problem of discrimination, as schools, storefronts and parks became forums for discussion about a better future. In many ways, Highland Park was a forerunner of changes that would transform the region at large. Five years before the massive student walkouts of 1968, a Mexican-American was elected student president at Benjamin Franklin High School, the same wave of change that would bubble to the surface throughout Los Angeles already percolating in Highland Park.