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Meet KCET Local Hero Nominee: Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez

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Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Title: UCLA Professor/Project Director, Million Dollar Hoods

Organization: Million Dollar Hoods Project


"I'm nominating Professor Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez because of the work she has done and is doing to promote social justice, most recently with her digital mapping project "Million Dollar Hoods" which uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in L.A. This data has revealed that not all neighborhoods are equally impacted by the jail system and that L.A.s nearly billion-dollar jail budget is largely committed to incarcerating people from just a few neighborhoods. This rich data is broadly available to advocates and activists to urge local authorities to divest from police and jails and to invest in community-based services."

                    Marco Perez, Nominator


  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez is a UCLA Professor of History and African American Studies at UCLA and the Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA - considered one of the nation’s leading historians of race, policing, immigration, and incarceration in the United States.
  • Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program.
  • Principal Investigator for Million Dollar Hoods (MDH), an innovative university-based, community drive research project that maps how much is spent on incarceration per neighborhood in L.A. County and reports on trends in the local criminal justice system. MDH project is now expanding across the State of California.
  • Was honored with the 2018 Freedom Now! Award from the Los Angeles Community Organizing Network for her work with MDH.
  • Her recent book “City of Inmates: Conquests, Rebellion and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles”  about the history of incarceration in L.A. won the 2018 James Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the 2018 American Book Award and the 2018 Athearn Prize from the Western Historical Association.
  • Her book, “MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol” explored the making and meaning of the U.S. Border Patrol in the U.S Mexican borderlands, arguing that the century-long surge of U.S. immigration law enforcement in the U.S. Mexico borderlands is a story of race in America and was awarded the Clements Prize in 2010.
  • Other Awards include Honorable Mention, 2011 Lora Romero First Book Prize, American Studies Association; Honorable Mention, 2011 John Hope Franklin Book Prize, American Studies Association; Finalist, 2011 First Book Prize from the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians; 2007 Oscar O Winther Award for the best article to appear in the Western Historical Quarterly; 2007 Bolton-Kincaid Award for best article on the Spanish Borderlands.

More about Lytle Hernandez:
YouTube: UCLA College: 37 Questions with Kelly Lytle Hernandez

The Main Museum: Kelly Lytle Hernandez: City of Inmates

UCLA Newsroom: How Los Angeles became the capital of incarceration

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