A reckoning for a sundown town
GLENDALE BECOMES THE FIRST CALIFORNIA CITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE SUNDOWN TOWN HISTORY
Resolution No. 20-137 acknowledged many truths about Glendale, both well known and rumored. The City Council recognized that Glendale was home to the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations (See Episode 2: Ku Klux Klan in Glendale; Episode 3: Nazis in Glendale; Episode 4: Modern White Supremacy); that real estate subdivisions enforced racially restrictive housing covenants and deed restrictions (See Episode 1: All American City); that Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park prohibited the burial of anyone who was not white until the 1960s (See Episode 1); and that redlining from the federal government, and restrictive covenants from the local community, kept Black people from living in the city (See Episode 1).
The City Council admitted that, while there was no known official ordinance or law in place, Glendale was a sundown town for a significant portion of the 20th century (roughly the 1920s until the 1990s) that was actively hostile to Black people and other people of color and worked to keep Black people from living in Glendale.
Additionally, with Resolution No. 20-136, the City Council asked for the drafting of a historical context statement. This statement is intended to research the historical development of a community, in this case including a focus on African American, Latinx, Eastern and Western Asian populations in Glendale. The statement will provide support for identifying historic, architectural, and cultural resources. It will document the City's history and evolution, including the communities of color that have shaped it, serving not only as a reminder of a historically inequitable past that limited housing and employment for people of color, but also guiding future planning and land use decisions to facilitate moving forward toward an inclusive, anti-racist future. It is scheduled to be completed in May 2022.
The City of Glendale acknowledged, apologized for and condemned its history of discriminatory policies and practices. By acknowledging its history, the City Council hopes to create a future where diversity is embraced and inclusion is essential. Moving forward, the City plans to promote inclusion and equity and reject racism and discrimination, working towards Glendale becoming an anti-racist community. The City’s policies, procedures, ordinances, values, goals and missions are under review and revision in order to create a more inclusive, unbiased community. We hope you will join us in this work.
We would like to thank the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale for asking the City of Glendale to recognize, apologize and atone for its history in order to become a place where people of all cultures are welcome to live and prosper.
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“Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale Urges City Council to Pass Historic Sundown Town Resolution Acknowledging History of Racism and Commitment to a More Equitable Glendale.” YWCA Glendale California, 9 Sep, 2020. Press Release.
Seidman, Lila. “Glendale confronts its racist past, apologizing for ‘sundown’ laws.” Los Angeles Times. Oct 15, 2020. Accessed Feb 24, 2021.