cbshome.gif (2731 bytes)

Report Index

Director's Statement 

Summary of Research Highlights 

Other Projects and Activities 

Publications  

Statistical Summary 

Staff/Advisory Board 

Other Participants 

 

 

 

Professor Douglas Daniels

Undergraduate students will learn the methods of the urban historian, using the 1920 U.S. Manuscript Census (more recent data is not available) as the evidential base.  This material, together with Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the city, will permit them to reconstruct the households and residents of two specific streets or an entire block in South Central Los Angeles as it existed in 1920. The census data enables them to characterize the population of each residence and then make generalizations about the targeted area regarding household and family structure, place of birth, origins of parents, migration patterns, schooling, occupations, unemployment, and home-owner or renter’s status. 

 Los Angeles street maps will allow the students to view the entire region, and gauge the relationship between the different areas selected for close study.  The fire insurance maps permit them to visualize and portray a particular street, household by household.  The census data enables them to characterize the population of each residence and then make generalizations about the targeted area regarding household and family structure, place of birth, origins of parents, migration patterns, schooling, occupations, unemployment, and home-owner or renter’s status.  

The students will learn how to use the census to reconstruct actual households and to ascertain various social patterns.  These include the number of African-American households on a street; the specific family size and composition – whether nuclear, single-parent, or extended; the number of white households on a street; the proportion of California natives and the number of foreign-born; and the percentage owning their own homes (Black Los Angeles residents were exceptional in this regard).  Their experience with the small sample of a street or block constitutes, in effect, a qualitative study which will acquaint them with the methods of the urban and social historian and thus prepare them for more sophisticated quantitative studies in graduate school. 
  
Though there have been a number of studies of Black Los Angeles in recent years, none have undertaken the kind of basic research which allows a meaningful detailed analysis of family structure, social life, household composition, or residence patterns using census data.  The published census gives the rough contours for the total Black population, and allows one to locate them spatially.  This particular project lays the groundwork for analyses that are essential for comprehending family structure, living patterns and the degree for racial integration, all of which are necessary for an understanding of the changing social and cultural life of Black Los Angeles.  

The students will present their findings concerning geographic origins, occupations, family structure, and residential locations of their selected sites in Black Studies/History 169CR class. The faculty mentor and the undergraduate students are also working on a video production based on their research findings.