The Getty and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning have announced the Los Angeles African American Historic Places Project, an initiative to identify, protect and celebrate Black heritage in the city.
Despite comprehensive efforts to record and preserve Los Angeles’ historic places, a little over 3 percent of the city’s 1,200 designated local landmarks are linked to Black heritage.
Over the next three years, the project will work with local communities and cultural institutions to more fully recognize and understand Black experiences in Los Angeles. The initiative aims to identify and help preserve places that best represent the stories and work with communities to develop creative approaches to meet goals for placemaking, identity and empowerment.
“Historic preservation is about the acknowledgment and elevation of places and stories. The point of this work is to make sure that the stories and places of African Americans in Los Angeles are more present and complete than previously,” said Tim Whalen, the John E. and Louise Bryson director at the Getty Conservation Institute. “The work is also about making sure that preservation methods are examined for systemic bias. It’s ultimately about equity.”
“This project will illuminate overlooked narratives and historic places important to Los Angeles and our nation that deserve protection and recognition,” added Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Through public and private partnership, the Getty and city of Los Angeles can model broader reform in the U.S. preservation field and can work proactively at the local government and city levels to grow pathways for equitable interpretation and community-driven preservation.”
For information, visit getty.edu and planning.lacity.org.
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