Jennifer Mandel’s The Coveted Westside “seeks to uncover the twentieth-century-long effort led by elite Black Angelenos to challenge housing discrimination and integrate restricted areas” in Los Angeles (5). For the Black elite, Mandel argues, a sort of economic aggrievement drove their fight against housing discrimination: “As American citizens, with a long history of contributing to the growth of the nation, they felt warranted to a stake at the wealth-building opportunities” (6). As Mandel expands in impressive detail, this Black elite used their existing wealth and social networks to purchase homes in restricted neighborhoods, leverage the courts to challenge the legality of racially discriminatory measures—not in just any racially restricted area, but in the “coveted Westside”—and, consequently, open access to adjacent neighborhoods for other people of color. In resisting housing discrimination, the Black elite and middle class made claims on their constitutional rights to property by “advocating for a consumer-based, free...
Review: The Coveted Westside: How the Black Homeowners’ Rights Movement Shaped Modern Los Angeles, by Jennifer Mandel
MARQUES VESTAL studies the history of eviction and urban development at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his MA in Afro-American Studies and his PhD in U.S. history from UCLA. He has published white papers with the Luskin Center for History and Policy and is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Eviction in the Promised Land: A History of Race and Property from Skid Row to Watts.
Marques Vestal; Review: The Coveted Westside: How the Black Homeowners’ Rights Movement Shaped Modern Los Angeles, by Jennifer Mandel. California History 1 February 2024; 101 (1): 75–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2024.101.1.75
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