The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space

By William David Estrada | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
The Persistence of Memory

Today, the Plaza continues to grow in cultural significance, especially for Latinos, who have become the city’s majority population. The site is also going through an interpretive revival among other ethnic groups that are rightfully reclaiming visible representation in El Pueblo’s expanding historical narrative.1 Administratively, the problems of managing El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument have often taken on nightmarish proportions, and not surprisingly, preservation of the resources has occasionally been compromised. In addition, the bureaucratic problems of how to manage the resources are compounded by the more esoteric problems of what to preserve.

In 1981, after generations of misinformation and organized denial regarding the racial origins of the original founders of the city, Miriam Matthews, the first black librarian in the city and an expert on African American history and culture, led a community-wide effort to install a founders plaque in the Plaza for the city’s bicentennial. The plaque correctly lists the names and racial identities of the forty-four pobladores and today is the starting point for all walking tours of El Pueblo Monument. In addition, many of El Pueblo’s buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many needed physical improvements have been made.

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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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