Tuesday, February 07, 2006

435 North Westbourne To-day

Wait. What kind of Indian? Nowadays I’d wonder if they’re Kayastha Jats or perhaps of the Sudra Varna. But this is 1947, and one can only assume God-fearing White folk were disinclined to share a sewer system with the heathen Gabrielino. Or terrifying Chumash from the North!

Here’s the house. I mean, it’s fine, yeah, it’s West Hollywood, so you’re there for the schools or the nightlife or something equally repellant. In defense of the neighborhood, this house is markedly less attractive than any of its neighbors.

This instance, some Chinese and Korean lawsuits, and the Sugar Hill Gang, no wait, the Sugar Hill Case, all led to racial covenants being deemed unconstitutional in 1948, but it is this squaw's tenacious fortitude (as had by, you know, those people) shall forever be remembered as how and when Los Angeles became the beautiful rainbow it is.

Statistics regarding a post-Supreme Court rise in scalpings and/or purushamedha have not been evaluated. (Ok, so if you want the real story, go to the comments section.)

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Isabel Crocker was breakin’ the law. The house was subject to perpetual deed restriction forbidding its occupancy by persons of non-Caucasian descent. (Which conveniently ignores some other stuff, like public policy, the State Constitution, and conformity with guarantees of the 14th Amendment to our Federal Constitution. Ah, whattayagonna do.)

Isabel knew what to do: Go on the warpath, is what! Yes, I just wrote that. But I’m cribbing from contemporary accounts. Here are some faves—this, from the article “Redmen Here Fight to Regain Ancient Rights”: “…about 250 American Indians living in the Los Angeles area last night started on a legal warpath…” and though Yids aren’t supposed to show blood in the face, I’m pretty sure this made even me blush: “It’s beginning to look like the white man vs. the red man all over again…To sharpen their tomahawks for a fight which they expect may reach the United States Supreme Court, the…” and so on.

Anyhow, Thomas Humphreys, full blooded Hopi and Indian organizer, rallied the cause at the Patriotic Hall, and played the Vet Card: “We want to find out where we stand…a lot of us are veterans and we’re beginning to wonder what we fought for.”

By the end of March, 1000 persons were packed into Hollywood High to hear Rep. Will Rogers Jr. and Ira Hayes face off against the Citizen’s Housing Coucil and some suits from the US Indian Service.

After more challenges to the Supreme Court, racial covenants were eventually stripped from Los Angeles (and the Valley by the early 60s) and everything has been swell since. Plus, Ira Hayes got a song written about him.