South Central Los Angeles is often characterized as an African American community beset by poverty and economic neglect. But this depiction obscures the significant Latina/o population that has called South Central home since the 1970s. More significantly, it conceals the efforts African American and Latina/o residents have made together in shaping their community. As residents have faced increasing challenges from diminished government social services, economic disinvestment, immigration enforcement, and police surveillance, they have come together in their struggle for belonging and justice.
South Central Is Home investigates the development of relational community formation and highlights how communities of color like South Central experience racism and discrimination—and how in the best of situations, they are energized to improve their conditions together. Tracking the demographic shifts in South Central from 1945 to the present, Abigail Rosas shows how financial institutions, War on Poverty programs like Headstart for school children, and community health centers emerged as crucial sites where neighbors engaged one another over what was best for their community. Through this work, Rosas illuminates the promise of community building, offering findings indispensable to our understandings of race, community, and place in U.S. society.
About the author
Abigail Rosas is Assistant Professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
"South Central Is Home offers an illuminating history of one of America's most iconic communities in transition—from the War on Poverty to the War on Drugs. In prose as vivid as her subjects, Abigail Rosas beautifully captures the struggles, tensions, and aspirations of people typically portrayed as perpetrators or victims of unremitting violence—reminding readers that South Central Los Angeles is, indeed, home."
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
"Finding seeds of hope for a better racial future in the stories she uncovers, Abigail Rosas offers profound insights into how ordinary folks did extraordinary things, the remarkable possibilities and limits of multi-racialism, and sweeping transformations in urban life since World War II. South Central Is Home is a compelling, timely, and imaginative book."
—Luis Alvarez, University of California, San Diego
"Interdisciplinary in scope and accessible to scholars of race, power, and urbanization, as well as practitioners working with communities at the intersection of these processes, this volume probes how distinct black and brown communities emerged, grew, and shaped each other in LA since the 1960s. Rosas...effectively engages with archival material and several detailed oral histories....Highly recommended."
—J. deGuzman, CHOICE
"Books like Rosas's help to fill an enormous void in both the urban and historical literatures where historical communities of color are often described too simplistically....South Central Is Home is a very well written urban history that should be a starting point and guide for all future work on the history of South Central and should be mandatory reading for undergraduate and graduate students in both introductory and higher-level social science courses."
—Robert Vargas, American Journal of Sociology
"For young scholars, [South Central Is Home] provides a model for writing about communities that formed us, communities that we unapologetically love. ....[By] disentangling the rich history of South Central, Rosas shows us the future of cities across the United States."
—Claudia Sandoval, Boom California
"South Central Is Home covers many of the issues found in interracial urban communities across America, and offers us a better understanding of the notions of race, community and place."
—Juan Manuel Niño, Journal of Urban Affairs
"This is a thoughtful, insightful, and at times, personal history of South Central as a particular space and place. South Central is Home provides important contributions to our understanding of the City of Los Angeles, the community of South Central, and the often complicated and complex relationships between Latino/as and African Americans in that community."
—Robert Bauman, Pacific Historical Review