Crenshaw, Los Angeles

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Map of the Crenshaw District in western south region as delineated by the Los Angeles Times.
Mural of African-American Progress along Crenshaw Boulevard

Coordinates: 34°01′05″N 118°20′26″W / 34.01810°N 118.34064°W / 34.01810; -118.34064

Crenshaw, informally as the Crenshaw District, is a neighborhood[1] and district in the southwestern region of the city of Los Angeles, California. It derives from its namesake Crenshaw Boulevard, one of the city's major principal thoroughfares.

The Crenshaw business commercial corridor along this street has had many different cultural backgrounds throughout the years but still has a positive African American commerce with other enthnicity groups in recent years.[2]


According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Crenshaw is bordered by Chesterfield Square on the east, Hyde Park on the south, View Park-Windsor Hills on the west. It includes Leimert Park.

Crenshaw is bounded roughly Van Ness and Arlington Avenues on the east, Exposition Boulevard on the north, La Brea Avenue near Baldwin Hills on the west, and roughly Stocker Street & Slauson Avenue on the south. The Crenshaw Strip is the area directly stretched on Crenshaw between Exposition Boulevard on the north and Vernon Avenue on the south.


The public schools are operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

The district's Charter schools in the area include the KIPP KIPP Academy of Opportunity[3] middle school, Celerity Nascent Charter School[4] the New Design Charter School (built in 2004), View Park Preparatory High School,[5] and View Park Preparatory Middle School.[6]


Crenshaw is a largely residential area of single-story houses, bungalows and low-rise apartment buildings, with an industrial corridor along Jefferson Boulevard, and several commercial districts.

After courts ruled segregation covenants to be unconstitutional, the area opened up to other races. A large Japanese American settlement ensued, which can still be found along Coliseum Street, east and west of Crenshaw Boulevard.[7] African Americans started migrating to the district in the mid 1960's, and by the early 1970's later were the majority.[8]

In the 1970's, Crenshaw, Leimert Park and neighboring areas together had formed one of the largest African-American communities in the western United States. Crenshaw had suffered significant damage from both the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake but was able to rebound in the mid 2000's with the help of redevlopment. Crenshaw has significant affluent middle-class areas, and some areas with some poverty rates.

In 2006, the population of Crenshaw was around 27,600. Currently, there is a huge demographic shift increased in where middle-class blacks and latinos are migrating to cities in the Inland Empire as well as cities in the Antelope Valley sections of Southern California as a form of gentrification. Despite the current major demographic shift, blacks had maintained their status as one of the neighborhood's largest ethnic group, with African-Americans forming 63.34% of the population, followed by Whites and latinos (any race) at 30%,[2] white (not Latino), 16.89%; Asian, 4.38%; American Indians, 0.43%; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, 0.20%; other races, 9.20%; two or more races, 9.32%.


The Metro Crenshaw LAX Line is a light rail line now under construction. It will run between the Expo/Crenshaw station and Los Angeles Airport, transiting generally north-south along Crenshaw Boulevard and passing through Leimert Park and Inglewood.[9]

Notable places[edit]

Googie architecture of the former Holiday Bowl in 2002 before converting into a Starbucks


  • The Holiday Bowl was a bowling alley and cafe known for being a center of ethnic diversity during the 1960's and 1970's in the Crenshaw district . It featured a sushi bar known as the Sakiba Lounge with live musical acts. Its historic Modernist Googie architecture style has been refurbished by the buildings new tenants, Starbucks and Walgreens, along with an newly outdoor shopping center that opened in early 2006.

  • The Crenshaw Square center and sign, a local landmark, had been in some disrepair throughout the years. In 2007, the sign was replaced by a modern illuminated red-and-green sign.The Crenshaw Square outdoor shopping center was sold in 2015 and it has had a massive renovation in 2016.

  • Marlton Square formally known as Santa Barbera Plaza was once a shopping center in the district. The center had aged over the years and was a failed redevelopment project. Recently local city business developers and Kaiser Permanente had purchased the land and had demolished the old retail stores in 2011. It is currently constructing a new Kaiser Permanente medical office building.[10]


In the post-World War II era, a Japanese-American community was established in Crenshaw. There was an area Japanese school called Dai-Ichi Gakuen. Due to a shared sense of being discriminated against, many of the Japanese-Americans had close relationships with the African-American community.[7]

At its peak, it was one of the largest Japanese-American settlements in California, with about 8,000 residents around 1970, and Dai-Ichi Gakuen had a peak of 700 students.[7]

Beginning in the 1970s the Japanese American community began decreasing in size and Japanese-American businesses began leaving. Scott Shibya Brown stated that "some say" the effect was a "belated response" to the 1965 Watts riots and that "several residents say a wave of anti-Japanese-American sentiment began cropping up in the area, prompting further departures."[7] Eighty-two-year-old Jimmy Jike was quoted in the Los Angeles Times in 1993, stating that it was mainly because the residents' children, after attending universities, moved away.[7] By 1980, there were 4,000 Japanese ethnic residents, half of the previous size.[7] By 1990 there were 2,500 Japanese-Americans, mostly older residents. By 1993, the community was diminishing in size, with older Japanese Americans staying but with younger ones moving away. [7] That year, Dai-Ichi Gakuen had 15 students. Recently there has been a shift in a new generation of Japanese Americans moving back into the neighborhood.[7]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times combines Baldwin Hills with the Crenshaw District to form an area it calls Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw. The Thomas Guide for Los Angeles County (2004) lists each neighborhood separately (page n).
  2. ^ a b Robinson-Jacobs, Karen (May 2, 2001). "Noticing a Latin Flavor in Crenshaw". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Brown, Scott Shibuya (October 3, 1993). "Crenshaw: Littler Tokyo : Although their children have grown and gone, older Japanese-Americans still evince pride, loyalty in their changing community.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Kurashige, Scott (January 30, 2014). "Growing Up Japanese American in Crenshaw and Leimert Park". Communities. KCET. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Sumers, Brian (January 21, 2014). "Metro breaks ground on new $2 billion L.A. Crenshaw/LAX Line". Daily Breeze. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Urban renewal project in L.A. begets blight instead - By Ted Rohrlich, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 10:38 PM PDT, April 27, 2008
  11. ^ Axelrod, Jeremiah B. C. (Occidental College). "The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles." The Journal of American History, 12/2008. p. 909-910. Cited: p. 910.
  12. ^ Tafur, Vic (May 21, 2011). "NFL star DeSean Jackson talks bullying in Oakland". SFGate. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] Leimert Park Beat, a collaborative online community
  • [2] Articles about the Crenshaw district in the Los Angeles Times.