Boyle Heights: The Power of Place
Boyle Heights is a Los Angeles neighborhood, located just east of downtown between the Los Angeles River and the city boundary. It is one of the city's earliest neighborhoods, andlike all communitiesit has changed in many ways over the past century.
Boyle Heights is a Los Angeles intersection, a place of infinite possibilities where the paths of different people meet or cross. Boyle Heights has been home to people who have come to Los Angeles from different cities, states, and countries, who have different beliefs and traditions, and who speak different languages.
Through the stories of past and present neighborhood residents, this exhibition explores how the experiences and memories of many generations of Angelenos intersect in this powerful place.
The exhibition features materialsphotographs, artifacts, artwork, moving images, and oral historiescollected over the past two years in community forums, collection days, and through oral history interviews. These materials are organized to highlight selected events, themes, and places that demonstrate how people's lives intersect in the neighborhood.
Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, formerly Brooklyn Avenue, is the backbone of the exhibition, weaving together all of the different stories presented. This street is a local landmark; a vital artery connecting Boyle Heights to its past and to the greater region.
Since the 1930s, when it was the center of L.A.'s Jewish community, the street has been a vibrant hub of social and commercial life for all local residents. Stretching two miles through the neighborhood, this street links Boyle Heights to the site of Los Angeles' original pueblo and to the greater East L.A. area. In 1995, Brooklyn Avenue was renamed Avenida Cesar E. Chavez in honor of the late Chicano civil rights leader.
A survey of photographs showing the entire length of this street in Boyle Heights runs through the gallery. Certain intersections are highlighted in order to explore key themes, events, and neighborhood sites. Throughout the entire exhibition, past and present stories, images, and artifacts are juxtaposed to demonstrate how the lives of many different people have directly and indirectly intersected in the neighborhood.
Key Exhibition Themes
Heights: A Los Angeles Intersection
the L.A. River: Contested Space
Side Greeting, We Welcome All": Early Community Building; Enduring
The International Institute of Los Angeles, established in 1914 in Boyle Heights to assist new immigrants adapting to life in Los Angeles, has been located on Boyle Avenue since the 1920s.
in a Community: Religion
Heart of the Eastside": The Symbolic and Social Center of Neighborhood
Up on the Eastside: Youth/ Growing Up
of a Thousand Dances": Rhythms and Music of Neighborhood Life
Barbershop, ca. 1945.
Maymudes, chairman of the Jewish Fraternal Order of the International
Workers Order, addresses supporters at a bonds sale at the Boyle Heights
Victory House, Brooklyn and Soto, 1942.
de los muertos procession, St. Louis Street, 1977. Photograph by Guillermo
Bud Weber, Reverend Alfred Tsuyuki, Principal Henry Ronquillo, and Paul
Bannai at Japanese garden rededication, 1995. Photograph by Archie Miyatake
Komatsuka at family gravesite, ca. 1950.
gathering of both Molokan conscientious objectors and servicemen at the
United Molokan Christian Association, Utah Street, 1943.
Wilson and Mary Murakami in front of Marys house, Folsom Street,