From KKK to Full Diversity: Inglewood’s Racial Past

Thursday, February 05, 2015 Written by 
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Inglewood was not unlike that of many other Los Angeles area communities prior to the 1960s.  African Americans pursuing better quality schools and other opportunities began to expand westward from what is now known as South Central L.A.   The city has also had to overcome his racist past.

 

Inglewood was once a hotbed for Ku Klux Klan activity, made famous by the 1922 arrest and trial of 37 men who raided a suspected bootlegger and his family. One of the men killed in the raid was an Inglewood police officer.  The raid led to the shooting death of one of the culprits, an Inglewood police officer. All defendants were found "not guilty.”  The scandal eventually led to the Klan being outlawed in California.  The KKK had a chapter in Inglewood as late as October 1931.

 

Recounting the migration of African Americans in Inglewood, late Inglewood historian Gladys Waddingham wrote:

 

"No blacks had ever lived in Inglewood," but by 1960, "they lived in great numbers along its eastern borders. This came to the great displeasure of the predominantly white residents already residing in Inglewood. In 1960, the census counted only 29 'Negroes' among Inglewood's 63,390 residents. Not a single black child attended the city's schools. Real estate agents refused to show homes to blacks. A rumored curfew kept blacks off the streets at night. Inglewood was a prime target because of its [previous] history of restrictions." "Fair housing and school busing were the main problems of 1964. The schools were not prepared to handle racial incidents, even though any that occurred were very minor. Adults held many heated community meetings, since the Blacks objected to busing as much as did the Whites."   In 1969, an organization called "Morningside Neighbors" changed its name to "Inglewood Neighbors" "in the hope of promoting more integration."

 

The Anglo population dropped from nearly 21 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 1990. By 1983, Inglewood had elected its first black mayor, Edward Vincent.  That trend has continued until this day, with the election of 3 additional African American mayors—Roosevelt Dorn in 1998, Danny Tabor in 2010 and the current mayor, James Butts, in 2011.

 

According to the 2010 Census, African Americans comprise 43.9% of Inglewood’s population. The Inglewood City Council is 60% African American and 40% Latino. 

 

The City’s leadership reflects its diverse neighborhoods.  Famous African Americans from Inglewood include Tyra Banks, Lisa Leslie, Paul Pierce, and Omarion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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