Welcome to Volume 3 of
The Toro Historical Review!
Welcome to Volume 3 of The Toro Historical Review! This volume features 5 senior seminar papers developed by students in Dr. Namala’s Spring 2017 History 490 course. The theme of the course centered around the historical interconnectedness of ethnicity and socioeconomic rank in 19th– and 20th-century Los Angeles. The rich depositories of primary sources pertaining to the history of Los Angeles, in particular, the history of the South Bay, at the CSUDH Archives and Special Collections served as an important entrance into primary source research for many students. In addition, many also took advantage of the increasing number of excellent digital primary source archives offered by, for example, the Los Angeles Public Library, USC, or Densho.
In the first essay of this volume, Cambria Rodriguez focuses on the physical changes that Anglo city builders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries imposed on Los Angeles’ physical landscape in order to better accommodate their vision of a modern city. These changes to the land and waterways of Los Angeles often impacted the communities who lived in those areas; Rodriguez focuses in particular on the impact on indigenous and Mexican (American) communities.
Moving into the 20th century, in particular, the time period of World War II, Sarah Wheeler developed a powerful paper documenting the consequences of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 on Japanese (American) communities in Los Angeles. Facing forced removal, Japanese (American) families lost almost all material possessions as well as businesses and cultivated lands, which in turn had a profound impact on the communities from which they were so suddenly ripped. Wheeler makes a compelling argument tracing anti-Japanese Anglo sentiments throughout the early 20th century and tying it to the slow but steady economic betterment of Japanese (American) families and communities.
Jovanni Perez and Michael Wood both discuss the targeting of largely Mexican (American) communities to make room for L.A.’s development as a modern city in the aftermath of World War II. While Perez focuses on the post-war frenzy of freeway construction, which disproportionally affected East Los Angeles residents, Wood tells the story of the displacement of Chavez Ravine residents. In a time when the support of low-income public housing increasingly came to be seen as communist, it ultimately was a brand-new baseball stadium that replaced 3 Mexican (American) communities, while promising an increase in revenues and prestige for the city. Despite the seeming inevitability of the course of events, Wood highlights the decade-long resistance of Chavez Ravine residents against their removal.
In the last featured History 490 paper, Mackenzie Cosgrove takes a closer look at 20th-century Los Angeles indigenous experiences and identity, as she traces the consequences of the relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes on indigenous lives. In particular, Cosgrove engages with the argument that the federally engineered urbanization of Indians in the 20th century led to a pan-Indian solidarity and successfully places Los Angeles within this history.
In addition to these 5 senior seminar papers, the volume also includes contributions from students in Dr. Luckett’s American Immigration History course (History 354) and Dr. Namala’s History 301. Alvin Okoreeh’s paper considers the congruence of nativist sentiment on Asian immigration in Southern California by analyzing parallels and disparities between the Chinese Massacre of 1871 and Japanese Internment. Jason Khozam looks at the representation of Asians in Hollywood over the course of the 20th century and argues that the repeated reproduction of Asian stereotypes in the film industry contributed to the continuation of these same stereotypes in U.S. society.
By Cambria Rodriguez
By Sarah Wheeler
By Jovanni Perez
By Mike H.F. Wood
By Mackenzie Cosgrove
Additional Contributions to Volume 3
By Jason Khozam
By Alvin Okoreeh