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The Legacy of Leimert Park
By Ashley Nash, Sentinel Intern
Published October 3, 2012

An illustration of Leimert Park is also featured in the Crenshaw Mural of African-American Progress. photo by Ashley Nash

Leimert Park is known as the hub of African-American art, progress and grassroot movements for over 80 years.

Known as the hub of African-American Art and progress, Leimert Park (LP) has informed the community for over 80 years. Central to the neighborhood of LP, it is encompassed by Crenshaw Boulevard, 4th Street, Vernon and Roxton Avenues. The Olmsted Bros. designers, in partnership with Walter H. Leimert, brought this staple into existence. However, it would be the surrounding establishments and a few historic occurrences that would bring the locus to life. 

Vision Theatre photo by Brian W. Carter

While LP was not always a resort to African-Americans, it’s legacy of such developed quickly. Associated with the rise crime in the 1970s, The Uprising and today, LP still maintains its magnetism. With the involvement of community activists and leaders, LP became the modern core of the Crenshaw District.

From ‘The World Stage’ to the ‘Vision Theatre,’ LP represents grassroot movements and community advocacy. LP has become home to popular mainstays such as Eso Won Bookstore, Zambezi Bazaar and Phillip’s Barbecue just to name a few. Establishments such as The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, starring the legendary jazz artist herself as well as featuring many jazz greats, continues to keep LP on the map. LP remains the focal point of African-American awareness; most recently serving as the location of the 4th Annual LP Village African Art & Music Festival.

Legendary Jazz artist, Barbara Morrison

Once home to Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald, now to known rapper Dom Kennedy and beloved film producer, John Singleton, Leimert Park reflects a history of diversity in African-American progress.

A shot of Degnan Blvd, which runs through Leimert Park photo by Brian W. Carter

Brian W. Carter, Staff Writer contributed to this article.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around

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