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'60s Housing Struggle

October 08, 2000

The conditions detailed in Arthur Dong's Sept. 24 letter ("Racial Covenants in Silver Lake") will probably be seen by many as an aberration. However, it brought back my own experiences in Los Angeles during the 1960s when I was the vice chairman of the L.A. CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] chapter and purchased a house in the Glassell Park area of Mount Washington, also known for being tolerant.

In 1960, there were no people of "color" in my immediate neighborhood, and a neighbor tried to convince the owner not to sell me the house, telling her that it was a "restricted area." On the deed there was still the wording of a restricted covenant, despite the Supreme Court ruling. And it was with some amusement (and sadness) that I went to my local polling place for the first couple of times and was told that surely I had made a mistake and was at the wrong location.

During 1962 and 1963, L.A. CORE organized several large demonstrations to help people fight for the right to own a house--some even gained national media attention. The most notable were those in Monterey Park, Wilmington and Torrance, where Marlon Brando came to voice his support.

F. DANIEL GRAY

Los Angeles

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