Southern California Library

Where Making History Is a Struggle

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A poster in the Library's collections

A poster in the Library's collections


From a youth leadership tour at the Library:

It is always great to expose students to places that are holding the rich history of too often hidden histories of Los Angeles that they don't learn about in their schools. Know that you played a key role in sparking that interest and motivating these students as they move forward as youth leaders. 


From a professor at a local community college:

The students love the information about Charlotta Bass and the street cart vendors struggle. I want students to feel empowered but I also want them to learn that when it comes to research, your library is a place for understanding what it means to build and organize. 


This past year, the Library has been able to work with thousands of students, educators, researchers, organizers, filmmakers, and artists to connect them with rare histories that hold lessons for today. Having access to our histories expands our imaginations of what’s possible, and shows us a way forward.

Give today--so we can continue to meet the demands of the moment and ensure we can offer access to all in 2018. 

Connecting Histories to Today

 Here are some of the research topics that people accessed at the Library in 2017.

•   Housing issues in the Chinatown area, to aid in developing videos for an LA Chinatown organization advocating for fair housing and equitable development; gentrification in Koreatown, also for video development (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance papersMark Keats Photograph collection, LA Subject Files).

•   Police surveillance in South Los Angeles in the 70's and 80's (Urban Policy Research Institute records, Coalition Against Police Abuse papers).

•   The history of Virginia Road Elementary School in West Adams and its changing demographics throughout the 20th century, including youth organizations and activism in West Adams, conducted by teachers in training to better understand conditions their students face (LA Subject Files, Periodicals collection, South LA Documentation collection).

•   Activism in the Pico Aliso housing project and how tenants' successful effort to stay put during construction was a moment of agency and expression of active political citizenship  (Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles collection and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Photograph collection)

•   How Black communities and other marginalized peoples sought to use the ballot to force white politicians and parties to advance the struggle for freedom and equality (Charlotta Bass papers)

•   Koreatown, Latinx and Korean worker solidarities, labor organizing, supermarkets, food justice and farm labor (Farm Worker Organizing collection, Street Vendors Association records, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) project files, Civil Rights Congress records)

•   Black cultural production in the Reagan Era, specifically Black music in Los Angeles in the 1980s (Clyde Woods papers)

 •   White anti-racist organizing, the rainbow coalition, intersectional feminist organizing (Emil and Tassia Freed papers, Sherna Gluck papers, Los Angeles Women''s Liberation Movement collection)

•   History of Watts from The Great Migration to the gang truce of 1992 and to the present, for a feature-length documentary film (Coalition Against Police Abuse papers, Civil Rights Congress records)

In appreciation of your support


If you make a gift of $50 or more, we will send you a set of greeting cards honoring the labor of farmworkers, as our way of saying thanks.

The cards are 4x5.5 inches, and there are 5 cards in a set. The inscription in Spanish means “The land belongs to those who work it.”