Stupid Vacations - Great Wall of Los Angeles

Great Wall of Los Angeles – Worlds Longest Mural

The Great Wall of Los Angeles is a great treasure of history. Having grown up on the Los Angeles freeways during the 60’s it is easy to think that one knows his way around. Well Los Angeles is a big place and new beauty is being created regularly. This mural is an incredible collaboration of hundreds of artists that portrays an ethnic view of history bringing into sharp focus many signifigant historical events. I will speculate that many of these events are unknown to the current generation. Anyone who knows the history of all of these events is certainly a scholar of Los Angeles history. Here are a few frames from the Great Wall of Los Angeles with a few historical tidbits. Click any of the images for a larger version.

Great Wall of Los Angeles - Dunbar Hotel
Dunbar Hotel – Hot Spot in the 20s

Dunbar Hotel –  1930s – This Hotel was the center of African American culture in Los Angeles. All the Jazz  and big band names of the era performed here. This included Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Lena Horne and many more. When this hotel opened it hosted the first national convention of the national Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This hotel has a history that was incredible!

Great Wall of LA - Deportations
500,000 Deported!

Called Mexican Repatriation is was called. Starting in the late 1920s and increasing during the Great Depression about 500,000 people were sent to Mexico. Although this is not widely discussed in American history books, this is part of our past. So Interesting. There was even an Apology Act passed in California.  Amazing!

Great Wall of Los Angeles - Rosie The Riviter
Rosie The Riviter

Rosie The Riveter – 1942 – a commonly used icon of feminism and women’s economic power. Created during World War II when a shortage of male factory workers due to conscription. Factory workers were needed to support the war efforts and Rosie was used to support the demand for labor in factories servicing the war efforts.

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
Japanese American Internment Camps

Manzanar Internment 1942-1945 – Following the attack on Pearl harbor  a fear and what many would call a knee jerk reaction that sparked the incarceration of anyone with Japanese background. They called it forced relocation. Over 110,000 residents of the USA, two-thirds of which were American citizens were locked up. A real eyesore in American History. For more in depth  information on Manzanar click here.

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
William S. Hart

William S. Hart (1864 – 1946) – Talk about a man who was a super star in the early film industry. This was the man. Fascinated by the old west he had in his collection Billy The Kid’s Six Shooters. He was a friend of the legendary Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Unbelieveable. This man is worthy of a good look at his history. A long time

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
Zoot Suit Riots of 1943

Zoot Suit Riots – 1943 – Learn about the Sleepy Lagoon Murder and the subsequent riots. The Anglo sailors and marines were in a series of riots against the zoot suit Mexican Americans. There were big problesm in Beaumont Texas, San Diego California, Oakland California, Detroit Michigan, New York City, Philadelphia Pennsylvania and Evanston Illinois.

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
The Red Scare and McCartheyism

McCarthyism 1950-1956 Hollywood Blacklist – Red Channels – The early 50’s was a time of fear of communism. McCarthyism was the practice of making unfair allegations using unfair investigative techniques without regard for proper evidence. The fear and accusations caused many in Hollywood to be barred from working simply due to this unfair practice. Unbelievable!

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
Daughters of Bilitis

Daughters of Bilitis – 1955 – Here is a frame of the mural that speaks to the first lesbian and political right organizations in the US. The group was conceived as an alternative to lesbian bars which had become the subject of police raids and harassment.

These panels of art are a peek into our cumulative past. They are inspirational, embarrassing, uplifting, depressing, shocking and enlightening all at the same time. History has so many events to reveal our past and point us to our future.

I love Great Murals and the Great Wall of Los Angeles is Great! It goes on and on (seems like about and is a timeline of Los Angeles history. The colors are brilliant and the quality of the work is exceptional! If you live nearby, it is worthy of periodic trips to learn more and more about LA history. If you are from out of the area,  then allow an hour or so to take a stroll and be sure to bring your camera!

It is always interesting to find a fantastic work of art in a neighborhood where you live or where you have friends living. Finding out it had been there for many years and wondering why I did not find it sooner was really an eye opener. In the community of Valley Glen, a suburb of Los Angeles, on Coldwater Canyon Ave, between Oxnard Street and Burbank Boulevard is the worlds longest mural and over 2,700 feet of incredible history and art!