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History of Racism Mars City's Image

May 30, 1991

Mrs. Arthur Andrews wrote you because she was upset with columnist Doug Smith for saying Glendale's new statue at the Central Library was "so Glendale" and that he wants Glendale's next piece of art to be less "darling." She then went on to say that one of the good things about Glendale is that "even though we're geographically close to the studios, where anti-family and anti-Christian values are encouraged constantly on radio and most feature and TV films, Glendale retains what Hollywood attacks as square, natural or wholesome."

I won't even comment on her generalization of Hollywood TV and film, but let us not cast the first stone, Mrs. Andrews. Yes, how wonderful to live in what you imply is such a Christian, square, natural and wholesome community as Glendale. A community which was founded on racial hatred and bigotry. All grant deeds in Glendale have a now-illegal covenant that prohibits the sale of any property in Glendale to a black.

Although many communities originally had such covenants, I've noticed through the years that Glendale has had a hard time letting go of that one.

For instance, when I moved to Los Angeles just 20 years ago, one of the first things I heard was how there were no blacks in Glendale and never would be if they could help it. And as recently as 1987, a delicatessen on Brand Boulevard that was owned by a black family who had immigrated from Canada was driven out of business by constant threats to their lives and bouts of graffiti containing hate messages sprayed on the front of their store, as recorded in The Times.

A black co-worker of mine at a Glendale bank was so afraid to work in Glendale, she asked to be transferred to a job in another city.

And, after viewing the statue today, I agree with Doug Smith. It is very Glendale. Although the family has no facial features, I wonder why the straight hair?

If Glendale is supposed to be such a Christian and wholesome community, then I think the next piece of public art should reflect a brotherhood-of-man theme to show that your hearts really are in the right place. Or how about a civil-rights memorial? Then you can go back to being high and mighty, and complaining about Hollywood's lack of values.


Highland Park

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