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November 18, 1998

Side 1B

Interview of Elmo Espree and Eydthe Espree by Phil Ethington and Heidi Bleiser for the University of Southern California ISLA project.
00:06 Jefferson High School in the 1920s
00:10 Influx of black students at Jefferson High School in 1930s
00:39 Diversity of Jefferson High School
01:39 Whites who lived in Vernon/Central, issue of class
02:24 Black/white relationship in Vernon/Central
02:45 Discusses neighborhood harmony of Vernon/Central
03:35 Main St. as "cutoff" line
03:48 Selling newspapers in Vernon/Central
04:00 Black/white racial boundaries
04:11 Skating at Exposition Park
04:50 Selling newspapers in Vernon/Central
06:04 Difference between Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Examiner
06:49 Discussion of why blacks read the Los Angeles Herald
07:14 Elmo’s experience in print shop at Jefferson High School
07:45 Barriers for blacks in printing union
08:25 Main St. as the dividing line between whites on the west side and blacks on the east side
09:16 Eastside as industrial district
10:25 No real boundary on the north side of Vernon/Central
11:00 Area around 12th St, east of Central was residential
12:56 Southeast Vernon/Central was white
13:08 Demographic changes in Vernon/Central
13:29 Elmo did not consider Jews as white
13:29 Elmo did not consider Italians as white
13:46 Defines Caucasian
14:00 Visiting Jewish friends on the Westside
14:19 Jews considered themselves Caucasian
15:10 Elmo and Eydthe losing a friendship with a Jewish couple
15:28 Eydthe describes the process of how Jews became Caucasian
16:00 Jewish as race versus Jewish as religion
16:22 Anti-Semitism against Jews
16:40 Discrimination of Jews in Palm Springs
17:38 Derogatory terms for ethnic and racial groups
18:00 Considered Italians and Jews as a race
18:16 On 49th St from Central Ave. to Avalon lived Blacks, Jews, Italians, Germans, Japanese and Chinese
18:49 Limited number of Latinos
19:10 Eydthe notes that everyone lived together "beautifully"
19:20 Jews and Italians not barred from living in "white areas" of Vernon/Central
20:26 Intersection of Santa Barbara St. and Main St
21:00 On Jefferson Ave, east of Main St. was a black neighborhood, west of Main was a white neighborhood
21:26 Boundaries of Vernon/Central: To the east---Long Beach Ave, to the north---12th St, to the south---Slauson Ave, to the west---Main St.
22:36 Jews and whites owned the majority of real estate in the commercial district of Vernon/Central
23:17 Considered Figueroa St around University of Southern California (SC) a "prejudiced" area
23:07 Description of houses in Vernon/Central (1930-1940)
24:35 Family size of residents of Vernon/Central (1930-1940)
24:48 Rent costs for Vernon/Central (1930-1940)
25:40 Insular nature of Vernon/Central
25:56 Blacks on the Westside
26:10 Racial composition of local high schools including: Jefferson High School, Fremont High School, Los Angeles High School, Manuel Arts High School, Polytechnic High School
27:39 Bourgeoisie blacks attended Los Angeles High School, Polytechnic High School, and Manuel Arts High School
27:49 Elmo and Eydthe, newly married and looking for an apartment in 1957
28:09 Attempting to find an apartment on Venice Blvd.
29:00 Apartments with "whites only" signs
29:54 Eydthe’s mother owning her own home
30:15 Postwar migration from the south, both black and white
31:16 Married in 1957 when Elmo was 35 and Eydthe was 33
31:40 Attributes WW II migration of blacks and whites to Los Angeles on the defense industry
32:19 Wartime migration dramatically changed Vernon/Central
32:39 Believes that the southern whites who migrated to Los Angeles instigated housing covenants
33:07 Shifting of racial boundaries in Los Angeles
34:34 Decline of the eastside
35:14 Considers 1954-1965, a period of upward mobility for many blacks, Elmo expresses his dislike for "rural" blacks
35:36 Elmo employed by the transit line
35:49 Brown v Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement
36:22 Eydthe’s pregnancy, sends daughter to Burnside Elementary and Cienega School
37:02 Bussing black children to better schools
37:30 Bussing movement started with bourgeoisie blacks
38:29 Involvement in organization "Parents for Better Education" (PBE)
39:13 Decline in family size for white families
39:30 Actor Burt Lancaster’s support for (PBE)
40:00 Small size of bourgeoisie black families
40:38 Carpooling black children to better schools
40:57 Burt Lancaster pays for the rental of busses to bus black children to better schools
41:33 Describes why the Los Angeles school district permitted this type of bussing in the early 1960s; the need to fill seats due to the decline of white family size
42:02 Anti-bussing protest by whites at Emerson Junior High School
43:50 Japanese, Chinese, and Jews owned majority of stores in Vernon/Central prior to WW II
44:06 Japanese friendly only to a certain degree
44:33 Japanese and Jewish children went to Saturday school
45:09 Japanese school located at Jefferson and Crenshaw before WW II
46:14 Relationship with Japanese before WW II