Leimert Park, Los Angeles
Leimert Park is a 1.19-square-mile neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, within the South Los Angeles area. An area with a relatively aging population, it includes the Crenshaw Square shopping center and has six schools. It is considered the center of black culture in Los Angeles.
Jefferson Park flanks Leimert Park to the north, the Exposition Park neighborhood and Vermont Square to the east, Hyde Park to the south and View Park-Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw to the west. Leimert Park angles to the West Adams district on the northwest. Leimert Park is bounded by Exposition Boulevard on the north, South Van Ness and Arlington avenues on the east, West Vernon Avenue on the south and Victoria Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west.
||West Adams||Jefferson Park|
|View Park-Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw||Exposition Park and Vermont Square|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
Developed by Walter H. Leimert (for whom it is named) beginning in 1928 and designed by the Olmsted brothers (sons of New York Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted), Leimert Park was one of the first comprehensively planned communities in Southern California designed for upper and middle-income families, and was considered a model of urban planning for its time: automobile traffic near schools and churches was minimized, utility wires were buried or hidden from view in alleys, and densely planted trees lined its streets. Walter Leimert envisioned a self-sufficient community, with a town square, theatre and retail shopping. Leimert Park became a desirable community and one of the first to have a Home Owners' Association.
Today, Leimert Park is considered[by whom?] the center of the African-American arts scene in Los Angeles, with flourishing blues and jazz clubs, as well as venues for hip hop and numerous dramatic performances and poetry readings. One resident, filmmaker John Singleton, has called it "the black Greenwich Village." The park at the district's center, adjoined by shops and a theater, is a popular place for performances and gatherings.
The intersection of 43rd and Degnan at the south end of Leimert Park Village is home to the steeple of the Vision Theatre, a park with its landmark cascading fountain and a drum circle that convenes every Sunday.
The Lucy Florence Coffee House and Cultural Center came to Leimert Park in 2000, hosting an array of talent, art, and music. Lucy Florence is located at 3351 West 43rd Street @ Degnan and is owned by America's Next Top Model's (Aswirl Twins) Richard and Ron Harris. Lucy Florence was named after their mother on her 75th birthday, when Lucy Florence was located in Hollywood.
Another jazz venue, 5th Street Dick's Coffee and Jazz Emporium, founded by Richard Fulton in 1991, continued to be a mainstay for music lovers, chess players, and poets and comedians.
Tavis Smiley, host of a national public radio and TV show, has his studios in Leimert Park.
In January 1947, the bisected and mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, the victim of the infamous Black Dahlia murder, was found in Leimert Park in a vacant lot on the 3800 block of South Norton Avenue.
Initially white-dominated, Leimert Park and the neighboring Crenshaw District eventually became one of the largest black middle class neighborhoods in the United States.
Despite suffering from rising crime beginning in the 1970s and sustaining damage during the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Leimert Park has experienced a resurgence in recent years[when?] as middle-class black families from other parts of Los Angeles have settled down in the Spanish Colonial style homes and bungalows that line its leafy streets. Unlike other parts of Los Angeles, Leimert Park remains almost entirely black, with a minuscule Latino population, due in part because, along with Baldwin Hills, View Park-Windsor Hills, and Ladera Heights, Leimert Park is a black middle-class neighborhood maintaining itself in South Los Angeles.
Controversy has arisen in Leimert Park over the proposed Crenshaw rail line, a crucial link in a planned rail network that will span Los Angeles County. The Crenshaw line would cover 8.5 miles through South Los Angeles. Due to budget constraints, Leimert Park might be left without a station. A station at Leimert Park would provide greater access for residents to other parts of the city including downtown, the airport and Hollywood. Instead, community members will be left with the construction of a line running through their neighborhood as it bypasses them, and worries over what could happen to local businesses. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, supports Leimert Park getting a station, as long has it can be done within the existing budget of $1.8 billion. The overlying fear is that the Leimert Park Station is getting scrapped, to redirect money towards wealthier parts of the city, including the "Subway to the Sea", a subway extension on the west side of city costing $6.3 billion.
A total of 11,782 people lived in Leimert Park's 1.19 square miles, according to the 2000 U.S. census—averaging 9,880 people per square mile, about the same as the population density in the city as a whole. The median age was 38, considered old as opposed to the rest of the city. The percentage of residents aged 65 and above was among the county's highest.
Within the neighborhood, black people made up 79,6% of the population, with Latinos at 11.4%, Asian 4.6%, white 1.2% and other 3.2%. El Salvador and Mexico were the most common places of birth for the 10.7%% of the residents who were born abroad, considered a low percentage of foreign-born when compared with the city or county as a whole.
The median household income in 2008 dollars was $45,865, considered average for the city but low for the county. The percentage of households earning $20,000 or less was high, compared to the county at large. The average household size of 2.2 people was low for both the city and the county. Renters occupied 54.1% of the housing units, and homeowners occupied the rest.
In 2000 there were 817 families headed by single parents, or 27.7%, a rate that was high for the county and the city. There were 990 veterans, or 11.1% of the population, considered high when compared with the city overall. The percentage of veterans who served in the Vietnam War was among the county's highest.
Leimert Park residents aged 25 and older holding a four-year degree amounted to 21.9% of the population in 2000, about average within the city and the county; the percentage of residents aged 25 and older with some college education was high for the county.
- Audubon Middle, LAUSD, 4120 11th Avenue
- Tom Bradley Environmental Science and Humanities Magnet, LAUSD alternative, 3875 Dublin Avenue
- Transfiguration, private elementary, 4020 Roxton Avenue
- Creative Learning Center, private elementary, 1726 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- New Heights Charter, LAUSD elementary, 2202 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- Forty-Second Street Elementary, LAUSD, 4231 Fourth Avenue
Recreation and parks
- Pocket park at Degnan Boulevard and Norton Avenue, unnamed
- Leimert Plaza Park, 4395 Leimert Boulevard, unstaffed, with picnic tables, benches, decorative water fountain
- Dom Kennedy, rapper
- Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley
- Singer Ray Charles
- Singer Ella Fitzgerald
- Mark Bradford, artist known for grid-like abstract paintings combining collage with paints, incorporates found objects from around his home in Leimert Park.
- Carl C. Rasmussen (1901–1952), Los Angeles City Council member
In popular culture
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
- The popular 1990s sitcom Moesha took place in Leimert Park.
- The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.
- The jazz club scene in the film Collateral (2004) by Michael Mann (film director).
- John Singleton's 2001 film Baby Boy features Leimert Park prominently.
- American rapper Skee-Lo's 1995 music video for "I Wish" was chiefly filmed in and around the park.
- A Thin Line Between Love & Hate was filmed in Leimert Park area.
- Tyra Banks's America's Next Top Model 2006 (show) featuring Leimert Park's Aswirl Twins (Ron and Richard Harris).
- In the UPN/CW television sitcom Girlfriends, the character Maya Wilkes is a Leimert Park resident.
- The Indie band The Negro Problem recorded a song The Rain in Leimert Park Last Tuesday for its 1999 album Joys and Concerns.
- These are the ten neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of black residents:
- View Park-Windsor Hills, California, 86.5%
- Gramercy Park, Los Angeles, 86.4%
- Leimert Park, Los Angeles, 79.6%
- Manchester Square, Los Angeles, 78.6%
- Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Los Angeles, 71.3%
- Ladera Heights, California, 71%
- Hyde Park, Los Angeles, 66%
- Chesterfield Square, Los Angeles, 58.6%
- West Compton, California, 57.6%
- Westmont, California, 57.5%
- > "Leimert Park," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
- The Thomas Guide, 2006, page 633
-  "South L.A.," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
-  "Leimert Park," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
-  "Leimert Park Schools," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
-  Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks
- Brooklyne Gipson, "Interview: Dom Kennedy Talks New Mixtape & Wanting 2Pac to Slap Funkmaster Flex," ComplexMusic, March 11, 2011
- Valerie J. Nelson, "Wife of L.A Mayor Tom Bradley," Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2008
- Gayle Pollard-Terry, "Activism, Music Intersect in Leimert Park," Los Angeles Times, December 25, 2005
- 9/24/07 New York Magazine
- Los Angeles Public Library Reference File
- Location of his house on Mapping L.A.
-  "Black," Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leimert Park, Los Angeles.|
-  Leimert Park crime map and statistics
- Leimert Park Beat: "The Soul of Los Angeles" is an online community focused on Leimert Park and the surrounding area of South Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative site for Leimert Park project area
- Washington Post: Los Angeles's Black Pride, (19 Mar 2006)
- Curbed LA: West Adams on the Low Down (23 July 2007)
- LA City Beat: Go to the Park, Leimert Village is a cultural mecca for everyone (19 May 2005)
- LAist: Photo Essay: Rally Against Injustice (Jena 6 - 21 Sept 2007)
- Los Angeles Black Pride: Taking in the Retro Vibe of Leimert Park, Washington Post, March 19, 2006
- Historic American Buildings Survey, 1972. Leimert Theater