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Grant number like: FZ-250386-16

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Natalia Molina
Regents of the University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA 92093-0013)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018

Place-Makers and Place-Making: The Story of a Los Angeles Community

A history of the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the book will highlight the role of six largely Mexican-owned restaurants and their clientele (including movie stars, baseball players, boxers, activists, musicians, and artists) in building a community for immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. The book will also address gentrification and the loss of historical memory it often entails. 

For decades, outsiders dismissed Echo Park, a neighborhood in the heart of Los Angeles, as just another barrio, dirty and dangerous. In the last ten years, gentrification has transformed it into a trendy, hipster zone. Neither label captures Echo Park’s unique reality as a crossroads where a variety of communities intersected with the wider cosmopolitan city. "Placemakers" examines a century of change in Echo Park’s diverse history. At the heart of the book is an in-depth look at six Echo Park restaurants during the 1950s and 60s that served to form community and preserve memory. "Placemakers" will open new dialogues focusing on the immigrant, urban, multicultural experience, social relations and political structures. These dialogues are urgently relevant for every American neighborhood struggling to maintain its history and identity in the face of the transformational and history-erasing force of gentrification and displacement.