The Pacoima 10,000, where did they go?

UnknownThe Pacoima 10,000

Pacoima means “the entrance” in the Tataviam (or Fernandeño) language. During World War II, the rapid expansion of the workforce at Lockheed’s main plant in neighboring Burbank and need for worker housing led to the construction of the San Fernando Gardens housing project . The project was racially integrated; its wartime black population was the first significant African-American population in the San Fernando Valley By the 1950s, the rapid suburbanization of the San Fernando Valley arrived in Pacoima, and the area changed almost overnight from a dusty farming area to a bedroom community for the fast-growing industries in Los Angeles .
Throughout its history, Pacoima was a place where Southern Californians escaping poverty in rural areas settled. In the post-World War II era, many African Americans settled in Pacoima after arriving in the area during the second wave of the Great Migration, as they had been excluded from other neighborhoods due to racially discriminatory covenants. By the end of the Second Great Migration, African Americans had become a highly urbanized population. More than 80 percent lived in cities, a greater proportion than among the rest of American society. Fifty-three percent remained in the Southern United States , while 40 percent lived in the Northeast and North Central states and 7 percent in the West.
Around 1955 Pacoima residents worked in construction, factories, fields, and railroad gangs. By 1960 almost all of the 10,000 African Americans in the San Fernando Valley lived in Pacoima and Arleta. Timothy Williams of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Pacoima “became the center of African-American life in the Valley.”
By the late 1960s, immigrants from rural Mexico began to move to Pacoima due to the low housing costs and the city’s proximity to manufacturing jobs. A 1966 city planning report criticized Pacoima for lacking civic pride, and that the community had no “vital community image, with no apparent nucleus or focal point. African Americans who were better established began to move out and, in an example of ethnic succession, within less than two decades, the African-American population was replaced by a poorer Latino immigrant population. 75% of Pacoima’s residents were African Americans in the 1970s. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, 71% of Pacoima’s population was of Hispanic/Latino descent while 10% was African American. Immigrants from Mexico , Guatemala and Salvador settled in Pacoima.
The 1970’s brought in a heavenly influential Hollywood party atmosphere along with drugs music and party hard lifestyle. Even though I did not grow up with him my dad was local DJ in the area and back then the teens would cruise their low riders up and down Van Nuys Blvd for fun. Towards the end of the decade with the introduction of drugs into the community, I watched it rip apart families, and tear the fabric of the social structure that had been developing over the years.
The 1980’s brought in a heavy gang influence along with a change in the music my generation was listening to at the time.
The gang activity and influence devastated the surviving generation and attempted to poison any possibility of a foundation or leadership being established in the community. It was normal to come from a single parent household and the only outlet or activity were the sports programs the local recreational parks provided.
The closing of factories in the area around Pacoima in the early 1990s caused residents to lose jobs, reducing the economic base of the city; many residents left Pacoima as a result. By 1994 Pacoima was the poorest area in the San Fernando Valley . One in three Pacoima residents lived in public housing. The poverty rate hovered between 25% and 40%. In 1994 Williams wrote of Pacoima, “one of the worst off” neighborhoods in Los Angeles , “nevertheless hides its poverty well.” Williams cited the lack of homeless people on Pacoima’s streets, the fact that no vacancies existed in Pacoima’s major shopping center, and the presence of “neat” houses and “well-tended” yards. Williams added that in Pacoima “holding a job is no guarantee against being poor.” In 1994 Timothy Williams of Los Angeles Times said that the fact that Pacoima was “free of the overt blight found in other low-income neighborhoods is no accident.” Cecila Costas, who was the principal of Maclay Middle School during that year, said that Pacoima was “a very poor community, but there’s a tremendous amount of pride here.
With out leadership, structure or foundation my generation was left to themselves. The church was the only place of refuge and sanity that existed through out this time. The only light during decades of darkness, a light in which DM Ink Publishing displays so that others can be inspired by this story to think, write and live.

Pacoima means “the entrance” in the Tataviam (or Fernandeño) language. During World War II, the rapid expansion of the workforce at Lockheed’s main plant in neighboring Burbank and need for worker housing led to the construction of the San Fernando Gardens housing project . The project was racially integrated; its wartime black population was the first significant African-American population in the San Fernando Valley
By the 1950s, the rapid suburbanization of the San Fernando Valley arrived in Pacoima, and the area changed almost overnight from a dusty farming area to a bedroom community for the fast-growing industries in Los Angeles .
Throughout its history, Pacoima was a place where Southern Californians escaping poverty in rural areas settled. In the post-World War II era, many African Americans settled in Pacoima after arriving in the area during the second wave of the Great Migration, as they had been excluded from other neighborhoods due to racially discriminatory covenants.

By the end of the Second Great Migration, African Americans had become a highly urbanized population. More than 80 percent lived in cities, a greater proportion than among the rest of American society. Fifty-three percent remained in the Southern United States , while 40 percent lived in the Northeast and North Central states and 7 percent in the West.
Around 1955 Pacoima residents worked in construction, factories, fields, and railroad gangs. By 1960 almost all of the 10,000 African Americans in the San Fernando Valley lived in Pacoima and Arleta. Timothy Williams of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Pacoima “became the center of African-American life in the Valley.”

By the late 1960s, immigrants from rural Mexico began to move to Pacoima due to the low housing costs and the city’s proximity to manufacturing jobs. A 1966 city planning report criticized Pacoima for lacking civic pride, and that the community had no “vital community image, with no apparent nucleus or focal point. African Americans who were better established began to move out and, in an example of ethnic succession, within less than two decades, the African-American population was replaced by a poorer Latino immigrant population. 75% of Pacoima’s residents were African Americans in the 1970s. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, 71% of Pacoima’s population was of Hispanic/Latino descent while 10% was African American. Immigrants from Mexico , Guatemala and Salvador settled in Pacoima.

The 1970s brought in a heavenly influential Hollywood party atmosphere along with drugs music and party hard lifestyle. Even though I did not grow up with him my dad was local DJ in the area and back then the teens would cruise their low riders up and down Van Nuys Blvd for fun. Towards the end of the decade with the introduction of drugs into the community, I watched it rip apart families, and tear the fabric of the social structure that had been developing over the years.
The 1980s brought in a heavy gang influence along with a change in the music my generation was listening to at the time.

The gang activity and influence devastated the surviving generation and attempted to poison any possibility of a foundation or leadership being established in the community. It was normal to come from a single parent household and the only outlet or activity were the sports programs the local recreational parks provided.

The closing of factories in the area around Pacoima in the early 1990s caused residents to lose jobs, reducing the economic base of the city; many residents left Pacoima as a result. By 1994 Pacoima was the poorest area in the San Fernando Valley . One in three Pacoima residents lived in public housing. The poverty rate hovered between 25% and 40%. In 1994 Williams wrote of Pacoima, “one of the worst off” neighborhoods in Los Angeles , “nevertheless hides its poverty well.” Williams cited the lack of homeless people on Pacoima’s streets, the fact that no vacancies existed in Pacoima’s major shopping center, and the presence of “neat” houses and “well-tended” yards. Williams added that in Pacoima “holding a job is no guarantee against being poor.

In 1994 Timothy Williams of Los Angeles Times said that the fact that Pacoima was “free of the overt blight found in other low-income neighborhoods is no accident.” Cecila Costas, who was the principal of Maclay Middle School during that year, said that Pacoima was “a very poor community, but there’s a tremendous amount of pride here.
With out leadership, structure or foundation my generation was left to themselves. The church was the only place of refuge and sanity that existed through out this time. The only light during decades of darkness, a light in which DM Ink Publishing displays so that others can be inspired by this story to think, write and live.

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