African American History Month

Celebrate African American History Month

Members of the Junior NAACP in 1923. Photo from Los Angeles Public Library's Shades of L.A. Collection: African American Community.
Members of the Junior NAACP / Shades of L.A. Collection

For African American Heritage Month, we reflect on the African American community of early Los Angeles. Arriving in the region in search of the California Dream, African American migrants relied on the institutions they created—particularly churches, Black-owned newspapers, and civic organizations—to strengthen their community against the backdrop of racial discrimination.

When California became a U.S. state, Los Angeles had fewer than two thousand residents, with about a dozen of those being African American. A slow trickle of African American migrants arrived in the coming years, and they formed a small network of friends which planted the seed for a budding community.

African American History Month: Fiction & Literature