Starting in 1964, the U.S. federal government under President Lyndon Johnson passed an ambitious reform program that included social security, urban renewal, anti-poverty initiatives, and civil rights legislation. In cities like Los Angeles, these reforms fueled urban revitalization efforts in communities affected by economic decline. These reforms closed the gap between local residents and government officials in California and even subsequently brought the city’s African American and Mexican American population into greater political proximity. Looking closely at the impact of the Chicano Movement on the Model Cities Program, a federal initiative designed specifically for urban development and renewal, this article brings the role of U.S. government policy in shaping social justice priorities in Los Angeles, and the U.S. Southwest more broadly, into sharper view.

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