The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space

By William David Estrada | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Homelands Remembered

A Plaza of Nations

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Anglo majority who now called Los Angeles their home were a sharp contrast to the Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, and European immigrants with whom they lived. Many of these new Anglo residents came from small Midwestern towns and farms, and despite the strands of populism among their ranks, many brought with them the Protestant values of small-town life. These values were antithetical to the culture and Catholic, Buddhist, and Taoist faiths of the Mexican, Italian, and Chinese immigrants who dominated Plaza life. These Anglo newcomers were generally suspicious of big cities and were alarmed by the mixture of cultures, faiths, and crowded living conditions that they found throughout the Plaza area. So they sought ways to shield themselves from contact with supposedly “inferior cultures,” and many moved away from downtown altogether. In response, Progressive Era reformers initiated programs to “Americanize” these supposedly inferior people in the name of modern education, sanitation, anti-radicalism, and domestic economy.1

Ethnic diversity and class divisions were essential components in the industrial and geographic expansion of Los Angeles. As previously noted,

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The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Cultural and Historical Origins 15
  • Chapter Two - The Rise and Decline of the Mexican Plaza 43
  • Chapter Three - From Ciudad to City 81
  • Chapter Four - Homelands Remembered 109
  • Chapter Five - Revolution and Public Space 133
  • Chapter Six - Reforming Culture and Community 169
  • Chapter Seven - Parades, Murals, and Bulldozers 203
  • Chapter Eight - Politics and Preservation 231
  • Chapter Nine - The Persistence of Memory 259
  • Notes 271
  • Bibliography 311
  • Index 329
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