Rebirth Ralley Sep 17, 1966
The family fought racism in Glendale on multiple fronts. In 1916, Dr. Garrott’s brother, H. L. Garrott, a Los Angeles police officer, bought a property with the title transferred by the Title Guarantee and Trust Company.
the fiery cross
A sacred symbol of terror
Evidence of cross burnings in Glendale date to the early 1920s and were associated directly with Ku Klux Klan ceremonies as a warning and a means of intimidation. Additionally, cross burnings demonstrated the Klan’s control and unity among members.
In 1924, shortly before two large recruitment ceremonies were held in Glendale, police and firefighters responded to a cross ignited on the hillside above the Brockmont neighborhood. This particular incident was not tied to any event or ritual and caused concern over fire damage.
Later, crosses would appear outside the residences of individuals. An interracial married couple, Richard Larson and Dr. Myrtle Larson, living in Glendale in 1967 discovered someone had attempted to burn a cross in front of their apartment when the Glendale News-Press informed them of a letter they received. It warned the couple to leave the city before an upcoming KKK rally and threatened that the cross burning “was just the beginning.” The letter was premature, as a neighbor interrupted the igniting of the six-foot cross and the perpetrator fled.
The couple was, however, in the process of fighting eviction under the Rumford Act, which banned racial discrimination in housing (see Episode 1: “All-American City”). California already had an anti-miscegenation law before the Loving v. Virginia case decided that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional in 1967, but the couple’s presence in Glendale occurred during a particularly pivotal time in history for fair housing, expanded rights for African Americans, and the rights of interracial couples. The Larsons did note that they had received support from many of their Glendale neighbors.
Even in the 1980s and ‘90s cross burnings continued. A woman who was identified as being, “the only black resident in a Glendale apartment building,” was the recipient of racial slurs, from men she believed were members of the KKK, and found a burning cross in front of her building.
In 1990, an African American nurse in La Crescenta opened her window in the morning to find a partially burned cross, possibly connected with an incident her son (one of six Black students at Crescenta Valley High School) experienced earlier.
The Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission’s data claimed that of 167 hate crimes that the year, six were cross burnings, indicating their continued use as an intimidation tactic into the modern day.
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"Flaming Symbol of Klan Blazes: Burning Cross on Hillside Alarms Residents of Northern Section." Glendale Evening News, 23 May 1924, p. 8. Internet Archive. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
"Interracial Couple Gets 'KKK' Warning." Glendale News-Press, April 28, 1967. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
"2 Suspected in Glendale Cross-Burning Incident." Daily News, 16 Feb. 1984. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of Southern California News Group.
Willman, Martha L. "Police Seek Motive in La Crescenta Cross Burning." Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 1990. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.