The Leimert Park home of Tom and Ethel Bradley has been nominated as a historic-cultural monument. (Courtesy photo)

At a community event headlined by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Historic Resources (OHR) and Getty announced on June 26 that four new historic buildings that will be brought forward for nomination as City Landmarks (Historic-Cultural Monuments), all of which represent a piece of the region’s African American history.

The designations are the result of the ongoing work of African American Historic Places, Los Angeles (AAHPLA; formerly Los Angeles African American Historic Places Project), launched by the city and Getty in 2021 to identify, protect, and celebrate the city’s Black heritage.

The nominations were announced at a kickoff community engagement event for the project, where Abdul-Jabbar was interviewed by his longtime business partner Deborah Morales. They discussed his personal connection to the history of the Central Avenue jazz corridor as well as the potential to unearth hidden stories of African American history through AAHPLA.

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Attendees learned about the project, met community leaders, historic preservation advocates, and cultural ambassadors, and shared personal connections to the places that are important to them.

“I am honored for the opportunity to add to the work that my colleagues and mentors are already doing with respect to reinserting the hidden history of African Americans into the larger narrative of Los Angeles history,” said Rita Cofield, associate project specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute and project leader of the AAHPLA project.

First African Methodist Episcopal Church, another nominated landmark, was designed by Black architect Paul R. Williams. (File photo)

“The most exciting part of the project for me is doing the work to identify more historic sites associated with African Americans in a way that I hope will be more meaningful to the communities where they are found, because they will be leading the way.”

Nominated buildings include: California Eagle Offices, 4071-4075 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90011. The California Eagle, the oldest African American newspaper in Los Angeles, traces its origins to 1879, when John J. Neimore, a Texan, started the paper. Charlotta Bass published the California Eagle from 1912 until 1951. Bass is believed to be the first African American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. The newspaper was located in this building from approximately 1939 to 1942.

First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2270 S. Harvard Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018. Designed by celebrated Black architect Paul R. Williams, the church was constructed by 1968 to accommodate the growing number of members of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church. When Williams passed away in 1980, his funeral was held in the church.

StylesVille Beauty & Barbershop, 13161 Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331. Established in 1958, StylesVille is the oldest Black barbershop and beauty salon in the San Fernando Valley, and perhaps all of Los Angeles. Opened by Freddie and Ollie Carter, the barbershop is currently operated by a third-generation family member, Greg Carter Faucett, who began cutting hair when he was 10 years old.

Tom and Ethel Bradley Residence, 3807 Welland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90008. Tom Bradley (1917-1998) was the mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993. He was the first African American mayor of the city and his 20 years in office mark the longest tenure by any mayor in the city’s history. He lived in the house when he was elected to the City Council in 1963 until 1977 when he moved into The Getty House (the mayor’s official residence), where he resided until 1993.

For more information about the project, visit