Report Details City’s Prior Methodology of Prejudice

Image courtesy city of Glendale
This 1939 map indicates which neighborhoods in Glendale, among other areas, were subject to the “redlining” that was often used to keep minorities from property ownership.

Councilman Ara Najarian didn’t mince words when it came time for his input at this week’s City Council discussion on the local history of racism.
“Glendale was a cruel place, I have to tell you,” he said. “Looking back, there was incredible disrespect and abuse of certain citizens and people of color that, I’m afraid to say, continues to this day.”
The council had just been briefed on a compendium of research by city staff that took them as far back as 1920, when the U.S. Census reported that Black people represented a mere 0.16% of Glendale’s population — and virtually all were likely live-in domestic workers, the research indicated. Since then, the percentage of Black residents in the city has increased tenfold, rising to 1.6%, a stark contrast with the figure for all of Los Angeles County — 9%.
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Council to Consider Resolution Over City’s Past Racism

In what may be a significant step to promote healing from racist practices in the community’s past, the City Council plans to consider a resolution on Tuesday formally acknowledging and apologizing for what made Glendale a reputed “sundown town” decades ago.
The proposed resolution comes months after city officials faced a strong demand from residents to shine a light on those past practices, amid the broader national conversations about how racial discrimination has festered or persisted even after laws forbade its practice. The staff report on the resolution includes references to such phenomena as Black homebuyers being frozen out of various neighborhoods, the “sundown town” practice through which Black employees would face threats if they remained within city limits after work hours, and the general atmosphere of a city that was the home of some Ku Klux Klan leaders and an American Nazi Party branch.

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