Op-Ed: L.A.’s history of Latino-Black political conflict? It’s a curiously short tale
This year on Sept. 23, the California NAACP, with the co-opting of other national Latino organizations, is holding its 50th annual convention at Los Angeles’s Rose Bowl Stadium.
The theme of the event is “Power, Freedom & Justice for All.” But at least one prominent speaker will seek to use the theme to once again bring up the racist legacy of one of the great figures who shaped the history of Latinos in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is well-known as the birthplace of Latinx culture, but it is also home to one of the most racist chapters in U.S. history
While Latinos have always been underrepresented in leadership positions in the US, it was the city’s first Latino mayor in the 1920s who made an enormous impact, helping spark a wave of immigration that transformed society here.
His name was José Gutiérrez, and he was a Spanish-born immigrant whose vision for an ethnically divided city was shared by other prominent Latinos in years to come, including the first Latino attorney in the United States.
Gutiérrez is remembered for his efforts to protect and integrate the city’s immigrant population, while in the process, laying the groundwork for the Los Angeles Times, a national newspaper that has published its own coverage of the topic.
After Gutiérrez died just two weeks before he was to be inaugurated, the Times chose not to cover his election, instead covering his coronation as mayor.
The newspaper even went so far as to run headlines like: “Gutierrez, the Man, not the Mayor.” The newspaper was founded in 1901.
In a city that is home to so much diversity, many Americans have a hard time envisioning Latinos from other countries as Americans, let alone as powerful leaders who can change American society.
In the past, Latinos were often vilified by the public – even by those who worked hand in hand with them, like the Los Angeles