That time L.A. City Council Sank Federal Money for Public Housing

L.A. Post World War II was defined by Anti-Blackness. After the fight against Nazis, it was time to fight against housing for ‘Negroes.’

The California Eagle on November 28, 1946; Courtesy of the Internet Archive
They said there were only dirty N—, Mexicans, Chinks, and Japs in those poor districts, and they ought to be made to get along the best they could.“; The California Eagle on November 28, 1946; Courtesy of the Internet Archive
The California Eagle on November 28, 1946; Courtesy of the Internet Archive

When, however, a survey was finally made it was found that those who lived in the slum districts were not only Negroes, Mexicans, and Japanese…’Sixty five percent of the slum homes were occupied by white families,’ [according to the L.A. housing official]…And we found that many of those houses were owned by the people who objected to slum clearance. If it had not been for these obstructions, he declared, Central avenue could have had ten more housing projects than it has.”

Children at the Jordan Downs Housing Project in Watts, 1957; Courtesy of the L.A. Public Library

During the emergency housing program for war workers, the same objections against minority groups prevailed. And last year when ‘private enterprise’ began building, only 1 percent was made available for Negroes.”

1951: L.A. City Council Cancels 10,000 Public Housing Units; Courtesy of the L.A. Public Library

In 1951, after a “bitter eight-hour battle over a $110,000,000 federally-financed housing program on December 26, 1951,” in L.A. City Council Chambers, Councilman Davenport introduced a resolution to cancel a multi-million dollar contract for 10,000 public housing units in Los Angeles. The cancellation resolution passed, 8 to 7.

J.T.