Crenshaw, Los Angeles
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Crenshaw, also known as The Crenshaw District, is a neighborhood and district in the southwestern area of the city of Los Angeles, California. It derives its name from Crenshaw Boulevard, one of the city's principal thoroughfares.
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. The district's boundaries are 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 on Crenshaw between Exposition Boulevard on the north and Vernon Avenue on the south.
Crenshaw is the center of Los Angeles County's African-American community.
Charter schools in the area include the KIPP KIPP Academy of Opportunity middle school, Celerity Nascent Charter School the New Design Charter School (built in 2004), the View Park Preparatory Charter High School, and the View Park Preparatory Charter Middle School.
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. African Americans started arriving in the 1960s, and by the 1970s were the majority.
Since the 1970s, Crenshaw, Leimert Park and neighboring areas together have formed one of the largest African-American communities in the western United States. Crenshaw suffered heavy damage from both the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Crenshaw has significant middle-class areas, and some areas with some poverty rates such as Baldwin Village.
In 2006, the population of Crenshaw was around 27,600. Recently, there has been some increased middle-class Black migration to cities in the Inland Empire as well as cities in the Antelope Valley sections of Southern California. Despite the demographic shift, Blacks maintain their status as the neighborhood's largest ethnic group, with African-Americans forming 63.34% of the population, followed by Whites and Latinos (any race) at 30%, 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 Crenshaw district is known for the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping mall, which is home to a tri-level Wal-Mart (formerly a Broadway department store, then later a JJ Newberry's), Victoria's Secret, Forever 21, Macy's, Sears and TJ Maxx as well as other large stores such as Staples.
- The Holiday Bowl was a bowling alley and cafe known for being a center of ethnic diversity during the 60s and 70s in Crenshaw. It featured a sushi bar known as the Sakiba Lounge with live musical acts. Its historic Modernist Googie architecture style has been retained by the current occupant, Starbucks.
- Village Green, Los Angeles
The Crenshaw Square sign, a local landmark, had been in serious disrepair for years. In 2007, it was replaced by a modern illuminated red-and-green sign.
Santa Barbara Plaza was a shopping center in the district. This aging center was in disrepair and is a failed redevelopment project was demolished in 2011. It is currently building a new Kaiser Permanente.
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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. 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.
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." 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. By 1980, there were 4,000 Japanese ethnic residents, half of the previous size. 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. That year, Dai-Ichi Gakuen had 15 students.
Presently, the Crenshaw Community is home to Los Angeles's largest African-American community, and remains the hub for African-American culture it has been for the last 40 years.
Crenshaw Boulevard is a major thoroughfare that runs through the Crenshaw district and outside of it. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is an under construction light rail line that will run generally north-south including along Crenshaw Boulevard connecting the district with Leimert Park, Inglewood, and LAX.
Notable residents and natives
- Syd tha Kyd, rapper and producer
- Arthur Lee, rock singer
- Darryl Strawberry, professional baseball player
- Kenneth Hahn, (1920–1997) Los Angeles County supervisor
- Eric Davis, professional baseball player
- James Hahn, mayor of Los Angeles, 2001–2005
- Pam Ward, designer/author of Want Some Get Some, a Los Angeles novel
- Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, 1973-1993
- Ice Cube, rapper and actor
- Ice-T, rapper and actor
- Richard Elfman and Danny Elfman, sibling musicians (The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo/Oingo Boingo)
- Tremaine Fowlkes, professional basketball player (NBA)
- Lords of Lyrics, rap group
- Dom Kennedy, rapper
- Nipsey Hussle, rapper
- Skee-lo, rapper
- De'Anthony Thomas, college football player for the Oregon Ducks
- Paul Pierce, professional basketball player (NBA)
- Baron Davis, professional basketball player (NBA)
- DeMar DeRozan, professional basketball player (NBA)
- Saaphyri Windsor, reality television star, winner of "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School"
- 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).
- Scott Shibuya Brown, Crenshaw: Littler Tokyo : Although their children are grown and gone, older Japanese-Americans still evince pride, loyalty in their changing community., Los Angeles Times, October 3, 1993
- Robinson-Jacobs, Karen, "Noticing a Latin Flavor in Crenshaw," Los Angeles Times 2 May 2001: D1.
- Urban renewal project in L.A. begets blight instead - By Ted Rohrlich, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 10:38 PM PDT, April 27, 2008
- Brown, Scott Shibuya. "Crenshaw: Littler Tokyo : Although their children are grown and gone, older Japanese-Americans still evince pride, loyalty in their changing community." Los Angeles Times. October 3, 1993. p. 1. Retrieved on August 30, 2013.
- Brown, Scott Shibuya. "Crenshaw: Littler Tokyo : Although their children are grown and gone, older Japanese-Americans still evince pride, loyalty in their changing community." Los Angeles Times. October 3, 1993. p. 2. Retrieved on August 30, 2013.
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Crenshaw, Los Angeles.|
-  Leimert Park Beat, a collaborative online community
-  Articles about the Crenshaw district in the Los Angeles Times.