The Office of Historic Resources (OHR) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) have announced the launch of a new Los Angeles African American Historic Places Project, building upon the long partnership between the Getty and the City on SurveyLA, the citywide historic resources survey.
Despite the ambitious and comprehensive survey efforts undertaken by the City, its traditional historic designation programs do not yet equitably encompass the diversity and richness of the African American experience in Los Angeles. Only about 3% of the city’s 1,200 locally designated landmarks (Historic-Cultural Monuments) currently reflect associations with African American history.
Over the next three years, the project will work with local communities and cultural institutions to more fully recognize and understand African American experiences in Los Angeles. A robust community engagement program will create a space for meaningful input and local partnerships, drawing upon community-based knowledge of lesser-known histories.
The work of the project will include several components, including official historic designation of a number of African American historic places by the city. It will extend beyond traditional preservation tools to address the development of broader cultural preservation strategies with selected historically Black communities. It will also include work to do deeper community engagement around the citywide African American Historic Context prepared for SurveyLA, potentially leading to an expansion of the themes addressed. Finally, the project will include an examination of all of the City's existing historic preservation processes and practices through an anti-racist lens.
The Getty and OHR are now in the process of reviewing applications for a consultant Project Leader to further develop, manage, and implement the work of this project, under the guidance of a soon to be established local advisory committee representing key stakeholders in the city’s African American communities.