Chapter 1 The Past

When Griffith D. Compton donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, he stipulated that a certain acreage be zoned for agricultural purposes only -- thus Richland Farms was born.

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Compton: The Hub City & Bread Basket
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Josh Sides - Director, Center For Southern California Studies, CSU Northridge
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Ellis Cooke - Longtime Resident
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From The South To Compton
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MARIE HOLLIS - Longtime Resident
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The Rise of Hip Hop and the Black Flight
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Los Angeles Changing Demographics: 1940s to the Present


The Past Mural

When Griffith D. Compton donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, he stipulated that a certain acreage be zoned for agricultural purposes only -- thus Richland Farms was born. The large residential lots of Richland Farms provided residents with enough space to raise a family, have a barn, tend to livestock and grow food. So it was no surprise that when black families began migrating from the rural South in the 1950's, they found their 'home away from home' in this small community. And although it didn't support large-scale agricultural business, the area did allow residents to work the land for their own use and benefit of the community.

This informal practice had largely disappeared by the late 70's and 80's, when being called "rural" or "country" began to strike many black people in Compton as a slur. Younger generations sold land their families had worked for decades, moving away or simply abandoned both farm work and the quest for sustainability. In the 1990's, though, when rural Latinos from Mexico and Central America began to migrate to Los Angeles in earnest, the same features that had made Compton and Richland Farms attractive to a previous group of migrants made them a draw for a new immigrant population.