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by Juan Devis
July 23, 2010
Last November, we had the chance to interview Navallete Tabor Bailey and her cousin Jataun Valentine for the Venice installment of the Departures series. We set up a bench in front of their home on Vernon Street in Oakwood, a house that has been in their family since early last century when a previous generation of Bailey's and Valentines moved from Louisiana to California to work for the idiosyncratic man building Venice of America.
Together, the cousins have an encyclopedic memory of Venice from the era of their growing up in the early 20's, through the 20th Century and into the turn of the Millennium. (For example, they vividly recall that, once upon a time, Venice and Oakwood were segregated by covenant.) They led engaged lives that earned them the respect of their neighbors and have remained active participants in Venice's community life, sitting on the the boards of cultural and political organizations such as the Venice Historical Society and the Venice Community Housing Corporation.
In one of their Departures interviews, Jataun said that although a changing real estate market was changing the composition of the area, she would only leave her home when she died. Her cousin Navallete, who was 95 at the time, shared her determination. This morning we received an e-mail from Jataun letting us know that Navallete had died on July 18.
Today we remember her with this interview and thank her for her contribution to Los Angeles and its history.