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This timeline was created as part of the Studio for Southern California History's 2009 exhibit: Law & Disorder. Law & Disorder highlights issues that shape laws and social order and disorder across Southern California history. Law & Disorder delineates how the law is enforced and explores the role of retributive justice—that the punishment should fit the crime and should be relative to other punitive actions. This exhibit  illustrates the everyday (de facto) versus legal (de juris) discrimination and the role of public opinion in enforcing the law. Unfortunately, Law & Disorder shows a need to “police the police” across Los Angeles history due to incidents of police brutality against citizens. This exhibit demonstrates how the law evolves both through formal, institutional ways and through informal means. Law & Disorder shows what motivates us to challenge the law, whether what is at stake is economic justice or the equal right to marry the person one loves regardless of his or her gender. This exhibit also shows what may occur when groups are disenfranchised over long periods of time without hope of change.

Law & Disorder is inspired by the work of medieval historian Carlo Ginzburg and his investigation into how social control may be observed through the establishment of laws and through the people that are persecuted. Specifically, Ginzburg looks at reading behavior that is deemed illegal by the Italian arm of the Inquisition to show how individuals test boundaries. Accordingly ‘illegal’ behaviors may be effective ways to gauge a society that historians can study. His work reveals how social historians must look to innovative places for sources because it has only been in the recent past that the history of every day people has been deemed important enough to preserve. This exhibit is indebted to many individuals and institutions including Tom McDonald from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; Victoria Bernal; William Bowling; Christina Walsh; Catherine Gudis; Nancy Bautista; Rosa Mazon &Chamara Russo. Sources like the Los Angeles Times; the Star; La Opinion; Los Angeles Herald-Examiner; the Library of Congress; the California state online digital archives, and many others. Special thanks to Luis Ituarte who has translated and taken this exhibit on the road and displayed it at different museums in Mexico.

 

 
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Date

Entry

1542

September 28 - Juan Cabrillo claims Southern California territory for the Spanish kingdom, beginning over 350 years of “colonization” based on the dual goal of building religion and military strength through missions, pueblos, and presidios.

1676

Bacon’s rebellion in Western Massachusetts builds the impetus for creating a distinction between racial groups in colonial law after poor white men and black men unite in an uprising against Indian raids. The colonial ruling class fears the union of these groups and encourages racial distinctions in slavery practices.

1769

The Spanish claim Alta California and begin their “Sacred Expedition” when explorer Gaspar de Portolà reaches this part of California. Accompanying him are two Franciscan padres: Junipero Serra and Juan Crespi, who record the expedition. Part religious and part military project, the Sacred Expedition has the two objectives of missionization of the indigenous people and colonization of land on behalf of Spain.

1776

British colonies on the Eastern seaboard of America revolt against King George III, eventually forming the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence, which outlines the reasons for the revolution, bases them on the natural or "inalienable rights" of human nature, arguing that it is "self-evident" that human beings by their very nature seek life, liberty, and happiness.

1777 - 1807

Although allowed to vote under some colonial governments, American women are systematically denied the right to vote in every state of the new United States of America.

1781

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula”, now the city of Los Angeles, is founded by California governor Felipe de Neve on behalf of King Carlos III of Spain. Original settlers, or pobladores, are recruited from the Sinaloa and Sonora villages in Mexico. Within a month, founding families build the Zanja Madre (Mother Ditch) to bring water to the town from the Porciúncula River. This original water way is still visible from Broadway in Chinatown. Original laws include traditional “Blue Laws” or laws barring activity on Sunday, considered a day of rest and religious observation by Catholics.

1785

Tongva shaman Toypurina participates in a conspiracy to destroy Mission San Gabriel at the age of twenty-four. Born and raised in the Gabrieliño village Japchivit near Mission San Gabriel, Toypurina sees firsthand how the missions destroy her culture and people. When questioned about her role in planning the revolt, Toypurina defiantly states: "I hate the padres and all of you, for living here on my native soil, for trespassing upon the land of my forefathers." Although banished to Mission San Carlos Boromeo in Carmel, after her release Toypurina is later baptized (though historians argue over her intention in doing so) and marries a Spanish soldier named Manuel Montero. The couple have three children.

1808

United States federal Law prohibits the importation of slaves though a thriving trade still exists through the black market.

1810

The population of Los Angeles rises to 354. Mexican war for Independence from Spain begins and lasts until 1821, and upon its conclusion, California becomes Mexican territory.

1823

Monroe Doctrine and ‘manifest destiny’ become twin forces of United States imperialism. The Monroe Doctrine is announced by President James Monroe.  In his “State of the Union,” he proclaims to European colonizers that the Western hemisphere is no longer available for colonization. Manifest Destiny argues that the United States has a God-given right and responsibility to civilize those who are incapable of civilizing themselves in the American territories.

1830

Congress and President Andrew Jackson implement the Indian Removal Act: the federal removal of Eastern Cherokee and other Indian tribes from their homelands. About 4,000 Cherokee die as a result of the removal, which includes a 1,000-mile route called in Cherokee, "The Trail Where They Cried" ("Nunna daul Tsuny"), also known as "The Trail of Tears."

1833

The Mexican government begins the secularization of the California missions. Of the missions’ eight million acres originally designated as the property of converted Native Americans, 500 land grants are created for influential families.

1836

The first Vigilance Committee is formed in Los Angeles as a "police force" of local citizens who assemble to apply “justice.” The result is the execution of Gervasio Alipas and Maria del Rosario Villa for the murder of her husband, Domingo Feliz. The accused are taken from the legal authorities and shot. This case is the first of many instances of vigilantism in the region’s history.

1836

Los Angeles begins forced Indian labor through chain gangs.

1840

United States President Martin Van Buren signs into law the 10-hour workday.

1846 - 1848

The Mexican American War results in California becoming part of the United States, along with more than half of former Mexican land. Though the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally ends the war, it becomes an issue of contention when existing Californio rights are not honored, as promised, and the Treaty is breached.

1850

California joins the United States; Los Angeles County initially comprises 4,340 square miles and the first United States Census measures its population at 3,530.

1851

In 1851 the United States Senate passes Gwin’s Act to Ascertain the Land Claims in California. The Act mandates that three members appointed by the President rule on land claims. The proceedings are formal, and either side can appeal to the United States District Court and to the United States Supreme Court. While it intends to secure fair treatment of Mexicans’ land claims, the bill actually works in the reverse and many landowners lose their holdings due to court costs; proceedings are in English and only the wealthy ranchers can afford the lengthy legal process.

1854

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Isaac Stockton Ogier is appointed to the position of second United States District Judge for the Southern District and organizes the Los Angeles vigilante group known as the Rangers. The Rangers consist of 100 private citizens, many holding prominent positions in local government. As a result, the Rangers’ lawless behavior goes unpunished.

1855

January 15 – Dave Brown is lynched by a mob led by former Los Angeles Mayor Stephen Foster. Dave Brown is an unpopular gambler who kills a popular citizen. A crowd gathers to lynch Brown and relents only when Mayor Stephen Foster intervenes. As Mayor, Foster cannot overtly break the law and do anything that will prohibit Brown’s right to stand trial. But to calm the mob, Foster promises Brown’s punishment, arguing if Brown’s trial does not result in a hanging, he will resign as mayor and lead the lynching. Following the trial, private attorney Cameron Thom obtains a stay of execution for Brown from the California Supreme Court. On the day Brown has been scheduled to hang another criminal, Felipe Alvitre, is hanged, which inflames public opinion. Foster fulfills his promise: he resigns as mayor and leads the lynching party to Dave Brown. Without opposition, Foster is reelected mayor two weeks later.

1856

Near riot occurs due to unjust treatment of Mexicans—in particular, the shooting death of ‘Ruis’ and death of another unidentified Mexican man in poor jail conditions.

1856

January 1- - District Judge Benjamin Hayes awards Bridget “Biddy” Mason her freedom in the case of Mason v. Smith. A slave who is brought to the free state of California by her master Robert Smith, Biddy petitions for and is granted freedom for herself and her children. A successful midwife and nurse, she saves her earnings, buys property in downtown Los Angeles, and eventually becomes a major landowner in the area. Originally from Mississippi, Bridget “Biddy” Mason travels as a slave to San Bernardino, California accompanying Smith, her master, from Texas. Mason successfully petitions the California Supreme Court for her freedom, and tests and determines the state’s status as “free.” With her three children, Mason moves from San Bernardino to Los Angeles to purchase a portion of Spring Street and begins a thriving career as a midwife. Mason is known as a philanthropist, giving of her time and money to the needy and incarcerated. In 1872 she and son-in-law Charles Owens found the First African Methodist Episcopal church.

1857

Dred Scot court case: the United States Supreme Court decides that an African-American can not be a citizen of the United States, and thus has no rights to citizenship.

1861

The Los Angeles Grand Jury takes notice of the “lax” punishment of Native American petty criminals by the Los Angeles justice system: “In our opinion a very great evil exists in the present mode of administering justice to the Indian petty criminals who are convicted before the Justices of the Peace throughout the county. (In State law) it is provided that ‘An Indian convicted of stealing horses, mules, cattle, or any valuable thing shall be subject to receive any number of lashes not exceeding twenty-five’ etc. . . . We find that this mode of punishment is very seldom resorted to; on the contrary, our prisons are burdened with this class of criminal at a very great expense to the county. The Indians themselves, it may be said, hardly consider imprisonment, coupled with good board, a punishment; but, on the contrary, deem it a reward. We say, whip the Indians at once, and stop the expense of their keeping in the County Jail.”

1861

Jose Claudio Alvitre kills his wife near the San Gabriel Mission. When the crime is discovered, his neighbors immediately hang him, arguing he has recently spent four months in jail for assaulting his wife and has obviously not learned his lesson. According to the Los Angeles Star: “With in a short time no less than three California women have been assaulted and treated in an inhuman manner -- two by their husbands, and one by a stranger, a native of Guadalajara. We think the promptness of justice in these parts will soon cure their propensity to abuse or kill women.”

1862

October 7 - California's first Attorney General Edward J. C. Kewen is arrested and sent to the military prison at Alcatraz because of alleged treasonous language—he supports the Confederacy. Kewen is a newly elected Assembly member when arrested in Los Angeles, and will spend over two weeks in the prison before his October 24 release.

1863

President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of the Civil War and frees all slaves in the United States.

1863

March 18 - The California Constitution is amended (No. 1418, Sec. 14) to state "No Indian, or person having one-half or more of Indian blood, or Mongolian, or Chinese, shall be permitted to give evidence in favor or against any white person." Through this amendment, hate crimes and violence of whites against Indians, Mongolians or Chinese become virtually unpunishable.

1864

The Central Pacific Railroad Company recruits thousands of Chinese laborers from the Kwangtung Province in order to build the transcontinental railroad.

1865

In 1865, a wild gunfight breaks out in front of the Bella Union Hotel leaving two people killed, a bystander shot, eight onlookers with bullet-pierced clothing, and a dead stagecoach horse. The fight begins when undersheriff A.T. King is stabbed by Bob Carlisle. King’s brothers ride in from El Monte to seek retribution. One brother, Houston King, is shot; the other brother, Frank King, is killed. And Bob Carlisle is also killed. Following a trial, Houston King is acquitted. For the Common Council (today’s City Council), this is the last straw: a law prohibiting anyone but law officers and travelers from carrying pistols, dirks, slingshots and swords is passed.

1868

November 3 - Charley D. Pinehurst is the first woman to vote in the United States. Passing as a male, Pinehurst attains the reputation of being one of the finest stagecoach drivers on the West Coast for over twenty years. Her biological gender is not discovered until her death in 1878.

1870

California passes a law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese, and Mongolian women for prostitution. This law is followed by the Page Law in 1875, which extends it nationally, further stereotyping Asian immigrant women as prostitutes and human chattel.

1870

Following the murder of a well-liked farmer by Michel Lachenais, Lachenais is hanged from the gate of the Tomlinson and Griffith corral, a popular spot for lynchings and currently the site of the Hall of Justice, now empty due to the 1994 Northridge earthquake. During a plea for Lachenais’ life someone kicks the soapbox out from under him, leaving him swinging during the speech.

1871

October 24 - A riot erupts, resulting in the murder of 19 Chinese residents by a mob of 500 Angelenos on Calle de los Negros, near the Plaza. Fifteen of the victims are hanged and three are shot. Another victim subsequently dies of a wound to the head. The riot begins when a well-liked Anglo, Robert Thompson, attempts to intervene between two members of rival Chinese “companies” (tongs) who are fighting and is killed. A police officer, Jesus Bilderaine, is also shot in the shoulder. Among those hanged are two teenagers who had just arrived in Los Angeles. At least $10,000 in gold is stolen from Chinese residents and businesses. Many Chinese are taken to jail for safety. Many flee the city. District Attorney Cameron Thom joins Sheriff Burns in an effort to quell the rioters, and he eventually indicts 37 participants, ultimately convicting six. All six are released within a year of their imprisonment on a legal technicality. The District Attorney and the Sheriff are assisted by the Vigilance Committee in restoring order.

1875

March 19 - Tiburcio Vasquez, a native Californio and notorious bandit is hanged after admitting to committing many crimes, mostly robberies. Vasquez blames his life of crime on "a spirit of hatred and revenge" born from poor treatment of native Californios by the Americans. During Vasquez’s incarceration in the Los Angeles’ jail a popular play is written and performed about him; Vasquez supplies clothes for the lead and counsels him on how to best portray him. Vasquez is a romantic figure in Los Angeles—local merchants use him to sell goods and Vasquez receives lady guests on a daily basis.

1875

Lieutenant Governor Romualdo Pacheco is sworn into office as the first and only United States Governor of California of Mexican descent. Following Newton Booth’s resignation, Pacheco completes Booth’s nine-month term. He later successfully runs for the United States House of Representatives.

1877

The 1876 presidential election results in the Compromise of 1877, also known as Tilden V. Hayes. This agreement cedes the election to Rutherford B. Hayes but also ends Reconstruction and begins a new form of discrimination-- Jim Crow laws.

1877

The nativist Workingmen’s Party is established in California and targets Chinese workers “for stealing jobs from white men.”

1878

Clara Shortridge Foltz is the first woman to pass the California Bar exam. She later is Los Angeles’ first female Deputy District Attorney in 1911. Foltz uses her authority as Deputy District Attorney to lead the fight to obtain the right for women to vote in California elections. While the measure loses in the northern part of the state, Foltz and her political team carry the day in Southern California, where the measure wins by a margin of 3,587 votes. Folz also helps to develop California’s parole system.

1880

California enacts an anti-miscegenation law prohibiting marriages between whites and nonwhites.

1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act bars Chinese workers from entering the United States and bars Chinese immigrants from naturalization. The Act is made indefinite in 1904 and overturned in 1943.

1884

The United States Supreme Court holds that wives of Chinese laborers cannot enter the United States.

1887

May 8 - An outdoor street meeting is held on the corner of Temple and Broadway, beginning the Salvation Army’s efforts in downtown Los Angeles to assist the homeless and feed the hungry. Originally founded in East London in 1865 by William Booth and his wife, Catherine Mumford, the Salvation Army’s mission is to help “the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute” as well as to preach the Bible.

1887

November 20 – Grown men are nearly reduced to tears after discovering the body of 3-year-old Willie Westfall in the tunnel adjacent to the Buena Vista Bridge. Security guards investigate after witnessing George Westfall going into the tunnel with his son and resurfacing alone minutes later. Westfall kills his child “for being troublesome” and leaves the body in the tunnel.

1887

The Dawes Act modifies the Indian reservation system by granting 160 acres of land and United States citizenship to the heads of Indian families who agree to abandon their tribal allegiance. The right to sell land is withheld for 25 years. The Act is supposed to encourage Indian’s assimilation into the nation and to satisfy the land hunger of white settlers; land on the Indian reservation not set aside for allotment to former tribe members is then opened to outside settlement.

1888

August 31 - Eighteen-year-old Kitty Abbott goes on trial before Justice Taney in Los Angeles for "using vile language" towards a neighbor woman. Abbott is described as having a "two-edged sword for a tongue" and is represented by "the colored lawyer Benjamin."

1888

November 27 - Fourteen-year-old Cornelia Olivarez arrives in Los Angeles to live with her aunt after running away from her father, who is trying to send her away to school. She files a writ of habeas corpus before Judge Cheney scheduled for December 8.

1889

Modesta Avila, a chicken farmer in San Juan Capistrano, hangs a clothesline across the Santa Fe rail line with a note reading: "This land belongs to me. And if the railroad wants to run here, they will have to pay me $10,000." Avila protests the building of the rail line across her family’s property, just fifteen feet from the front door. Instead of winning her dispute, Avila is charged with “obstruction of a train.” After the first trial fails to convict her, a second trial succeeds, chiefly by disparaging Avila’s character and spreading false rumors that the unmarried and beautiful Avila is pregnant. Avila dies two years into her 3-year prison term of pneumonia. Her protest and conviction demonstrate the political power of the railroads in 19th century California and her courage in opposing such a force.

1889

April 22 - Judge Cheney sentences John Higgins to two years at San Quentin for stealing a pair of “pantaloons.”

1889

May 12 - After having his windows stolen from his East Los Angeles office, Judge R. A. Ling discovers them on a “shanty” while riding through the city. Ling demands their return from the squatter at the house, Negocio Gonzales, who neither denies stealing the windows nor returns them, arguing it is too cold. The Judge swears out a complaint, has Gonzales arrested, and has the windows (worth 95 cents) returned.

1890

February 6 - William Griffin, the "sword swallower", is brought to Los Angeles from San Bernardino to stand trial for the theft of a Japanese sword valued at $4 from the Dime Museum. Griffin agrees to pay for the sword and charges are dismissed, but because Griffin does not have the funds to pay, he is scheduled to appear again on Saturday before the judge.

1890

February 12 - California Governor Robert W. Waterman consecrates 160 acres in Whittier for the Reform School for Juvenile Offenders. The school opens its doors to both male and female state wards the following summer. By 1916, all female wards are transferred to the Ventura School for Girls in Ventura, California.

1890

June 16 – A United States Census worker receives resistance from a group of 13 “spiritualists” in Anaheim who do not want to reveal information to the government. This raises the worker’s suspicions and a warrant by the United States District Attorney is issued for their arrest. The Los Angeles Times investigates the group and describes the vegetarians as “grass eaters” who shun marriage and tell the Census worker to look up their names at the County Assessors office if he wants them. It is against the law to not answer the Census workers’ questions and the three men in the group are released on $100 bond, their trial scheduled later.

1891

January 31 - Los Angelenos living near St. James Park set up surveillance on a visitor who has been stealing a fence piece meal in the midnight hours over the past few weeks.

1892

Justice Austin marries Josephine Lee and Fred Bradley after Bradley is brought back on a "charge of seduction" reported by Miss Lee over one year ago. Sadly, according to the Los Angeles Times, such cases brought before the criminal court always result in marriage with the "guilty party never punished, and in nine cases out of ten the man skips out a few hours after the forced ceremony is performed."

1892

January – Ly Sing, a native of China, applies for a marriage license to marry May Foster and is initially given the license. After considering it, however, the Los Angeles County Clerk revokes the license the next day, arguing that Sing cannot marry a white woman due to California law, which bars marriages between whites and nonwhites. Sing is undeterred and brings attorneys to argue his case—noting that marriages between whites and Chinese take place in San Francisco. He is unsuccessful in persuading Los Angeles’ County Clerk who advises them to charter a boat at San Pedro and hire a chaplain to marry them outside the three mile limit.

1893

February 20 - Billy Reynolds arrives at Los Angeles County jail on a charge of petty larceny for stealing six old barley sacks. If he is convicted, he will be sent to San Quentin prison, owing to the fact that he has a prior conviction for the same act.

1898

February 21 - Just before 4 o'clock in the afternoon two men attempt to rob the Baltimore Restaurant at 137 North Main Street in Los Angeles. The two meet resistance by waiter Eli Balagoveh, who sustains a pistol-whipping in defending the restaurant's cash register, which contains $20.

1899

March 16 - Captain Frasier of Los Angeles Good Samaritan Hospital assists a 14-year-old girl who comes in seeking food. Frasier notes the girl is “considerably advanced in actual starvation” and that such cases are occurring throughout the town. Captain Frasier also seeks any donations the community may provide.

1899

August 20 - Juan Acuña is attacked at Santa Anita by Carlos Ramos and Encarnacion Albite for being "too mucho Americano. They told me I look like an American, talk like an American, and think like an American." They assault him, tatter his clothes and steal his watch. Acuña reports the incident to the Pasadena police the next evening.

1899

November 23 - Johnny Christopher spends two days in the Los Angeles city jail for stealing newspapers.

1900

January 15 - Officer George Loomis arrests and incarcerates Frank Snyder for begging on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles.

1900

February 1 - Escaped convict Charles Johnson is captured on South Main Street in Los Angeles, after having escaped from prison in December 1898 on a charge of vagrancy. He resumes his 100-day sentence, having already spent 33 days in jail.

1901

July 6 - Thirteen individuals are brought before Judge Owen and fined for public intoxication during July 4 festivities.

1901

July 7 - Pico Heights publisher Colonel P. S. Dayton suspends the printing of the newspaper The West End News in disgust when prohibitionists boycott the paper for including an advertisement for a saloon.

1901

September 28 – The issues of marriage and divorce are taken up by the Los Angeles Times when 13 divorce petitions are recorded in one day, a record, at the County Clerk’s office. Within the first 6 months of 1901, 161 divorces are granted, with 77% brought forward by wives. In that same period, 829 marriage licenses are issued.

1903

September 2 - The Los Angeles court examines Frederick Haskins for insanity on the basis that he sleeps with a hen and a dog.

1903

Los Angeles establishes the first of several anti-picketing ordinances, and in so doing diminish resident rights to effectively protest injustice.

1905

June 13 - Los Angeles suffragettes of the Sixth and Seventh ward meet to organize for the upcoming visit of Susan B. Anthony and Reverend Anna Shaw.

1904

July 24 - A family of three causes a sensation when they disrobe and change into bathing suits on the beach in Long Beach. The father of the family explains he prefers to save money and not pay the fee to use the bathhouse for changing.

1906

San Francisco public schools segregate Japanese students.

1907

After lengthy discussion, the Los Angeles Supervisors decide that the existing ordinance barring bicycles from all sidewalks should be modified and that, based on the decrease in bicycle usage, the law should be amended so that bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks in places under County jurisdiction between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. and between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.

1907

Under the Gentlemen’s Agreement, Japan agrees to restrict travel documents to laborers.

1908

Thomas Woolwine captures public attention by leading an attack on prostitution in Los Angeles while serving as Deputy District Attorney. He gains further prominence by prosecuting the directors of the exclusive men’s enclave, the California Club, including the eminent ‘dry,’ or Prohibitionist, attorney Joseph Scott, for selling liquor without a license. Undeterred after losing the case, Woolwine announces he will continue his campaign by filing against the directors of the rival Jonathan Club. Although then District Attorney Fredericks orders Woolwine to a halt, his work carries on when the L.A. Express hires the then legendary attorney Earl Rogers (whom Perry Mason is modeled after) to continue Woolwine’s initial investigations on a private basis.

1909

April 1 - George Alexander is sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles after petitions circulate to recall his predecessor Arthur C. Harper, who is charged with gambling and with soliciting prostitutes. Although Harper officially resigns prior to the recall, it is the first time in Los Angeles' history that the procedure of recalling a city official is put to use.

1910

May 9 – Anarchist turned socialist Emma Goldman advocates the abolishment of marriage to a packed house in Burbank: “I hold that the intimate relationship between a man and a woman is their sacred property, and the Church and the State have no right to interfere.” She speaks in San Diego the next day.

1910

Alice Stebbins Wells is hired as the first female police officer in the United States by the Los Angeles Police Department. Wells sees the job as a preventive force to help at risk children more than a traditional enforcement position. Wells receives the position after she petitions the mayor, the police commissioner, and the city council to create her post.

1910

October 1 - The Los Angeles Times building, located at the corner of First and Broadway, is bombed at 1:07 a.m., killing 20 workers. The attack is attributed to anarchists protesting the newspaper's openly anti-union owner, Harrison Gray Otis. John J. McNamara, the union's secretary-treasurer, and his brother James are eventually arrested for and plead guilty to committing the crime under the counsel of Clarence Darrow.

1910

September 23 – Chicago Assistant District Attorney Clifford Roe speaks to Pasadena’s first Universalist Church on the topic of “White Slave Traffic” and argues that California’s laws are too lax in the matter: “Your California laws are not strict enough on this white slave traffic. In Illinois we have a law which gives those convicted a long term in prison and next year we will have a law, I hope, which will fix a life sentence for any one found guilty of engaging in this, the most debasing and degrading of all things which a man or woman can do. Here is a crime, which is nothing more than a cold, malicious intention to ruin the life of a girl. The California law requires that you must prove that a woman is unmarried, chaste and she must have been sold under false pretenses. To get around that the procurers go through a false marriage with their victims or they do something to render their victim unchaste, and prove by witnesses that they practiced no false pretenses in luring away the girls to be sold into slavery. When the American people fully understand this great sin they will stamp it out.”

1910

December 12 - LAPD Officers Williamson and Browning testify in court to the existence of police gangs that carry out illegal activities and terrorize political enemies. However, when further questioned on the creation of the "gangs," the officers declare they are self-appointed, with no leader and are secret from police leaders.

1910

The Mexican Revolution begins, precipitating the migration of thousands seeking work and alleviation from the devastation caused by war. Francisco Madero leads the revolution against autocrat Porfirio Diaz. The liberal government established under Madero attempts to implement a program of reforms, notably the breaking up of large estates and the parceling out of sections to the landless peasants. In 1913 Madero is assassinated in a counterrevolution on behalf of the landowners led by General Victoriano Huerta.

1911

October 10 - California's general election is held on a Tuesday. Among the amendments is Number 8, proposing the question of whether or not California's women should have the right to vote. Among the amendment’s opponents are J.D. Sanford, a Senator from the 4th District, who writes, "Woman suffrage has proven a failure in the states that have tried it. It is wrong. California should profit by the mistakes of other states. Not one reform has equal suffrage affected. On the contrary, statistics go to show that in most equal suffrage states, Colorado particularly, that divorces have greatly increased since the adoption of the equal suffrage amendment, showing that it has been a home destroyer. Crime has also increased among the children, and more young girls have gone wrong, all doubtless due to the lack of the mother's influence in the home...” Despite the opinions of men like Sanford, Amendment No. 8 to the California Constitution is passed, giving women in California the right to vote.

1912

February 16 - Margaret Q. Adams is sworn in as the first female sheriff's deputy in Los Angeles and the United States.

1912

Newspaper publisher and activist extraordinaire, Charlotta Bass attacks racism in different ways using the newspaper The California Eagle, which she takes over in 1912. Bass promotes boycotts of places known for discriminatory hiring practices through her 1930-31 “Don't Shop Where You Can’t Work” campaign. Bass calls attention to police brutality against African Americans and condemns the derogatory portrayals of African Americans by Hollywood. In 1952 Bass runs unsuccessfully as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Progressive Party.

1912

August 20 - Azusa man and section hand for the Santa Fe Railroad J. Palamerito is sentenced to thirty days for a "hand-to-hand fight" with M. Rincon, which results in three "ugly cuts" on Rincon. Rincon receives a similar sentence the following day.

1913

California enacts the Alien Land Law, a federal law that prohibits the ownership of real estate by aliens ineligible for citizenship.

1914

Los Angeles County starts a Public Defenders Office, the first of its kind in the nation.

1915

February 8 - Birth of a Nation opens at Los Angeles' Clune's Auditorium. The controversial movie on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan is deemed one of the first great American films. Its racist portrayal of African Americans gives the young National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (organized in 1909) one of its first rallying points.

1916

Georgia Ann Robinson, the first African American female police officer in the United States, is hired by the Los Angeles Police Department.

1917

The Wishard Act is passed in committee in the California legislature and urges reform in California’s marriage licensing. The Act requires a doctor’s approval for individuals to receive a marriage license. Opponents fear the requirement will lead to a drop in marriages.

1918

January 5 - The Los Angeles City Council receives a recommendation from the Police Commission urging it to adopt legislation that prohibits any movable objects, such as flowerpots, rocks and containers, from being placed on the ledges of upper windows. Attached to the recommendation is a report of a near-accident that occurs when a chunk of ore falls from a window of the Chamber of Commerce building and grazes the shoulder of a well-known attorney.

1920

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signs into law the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

1920

Dr. Carl Patton, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, begins a movement to prevent the screening of Shadows of the West, a film intending to "reveal startling conditions with regard to the Japanese invasion of California" in order to influence voting on the November 2 election, in which an anti-alien land ownership act is put to voters. Patton asserts the film may "intensify racial hatred and thereby violate public policy."

1921

March 1 - Superintendent Mary A. Hill makes a public statement about the 48-hour riot that occurs at the Ventura School for Girls, a juvenile detention facility serving much of the state. The riots result in the escape of 6 girls; injuries to wards, deputy sheriffs, and school staff; the incarceration of 25 girls; property damage; as well as the detention of more than 100 girls in the “lost privilege” cottage. The rioting is linked to allegations of harsh punishments by school staff. Similar allegations surface throughout the school’s history from 1914 – 1962.

1921

September 7 - Charles H. De Lacour, Director for the Citizen Police of Southern California, reports that more than 8,000 men have enrolled in his organization and that all over Los Angeles there are individuals ready to aid the police or anyone else in the prevention of crime. The organization's enrollment offices are at 742 South Spring Street in Los Angeles.

1922

Mrs. Caroline Robinson files for divorce, citing as reasons her husband’s threat to cut her ear off with a razor and his constant correspondence with other women.

1922

The Cable Act, also known as the “Married Women’s Citizenship Act,” is passed, stipulating that any American female citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, or other men racially ineligible to naturalize) will lose her citizenship.

1922

The Supreme Court rules that Japanese and Asian Indians are not eligible for citizenship.

1923

At the Dockworkers’ Strike in San Pedro, Captain “Red” Hynes, of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Red Squad, arrests hundreds of people as communists. Also arrested is Upton Sinclair for attempting to read the Bill of Rights even though he has secured a permit to speak from the Mayor of Los Angeles. Because the city’s jails are already overflowing with incarcerated criminals, the prisoners are housed in stockades in Griffith Park.

1923

The Los Angeles Times reports that the newly built Topanga Road goes through a burial ground of the ancient Playano Indian tribe.

1924

The National Origins Quota Act is passed and bars any “alien ineligible to citizenship.” The Act calls for a set of permanent regulations that will take effect in 1929. The total number of immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere is restricted to approximately 150,000 annually. It limits immigration from Europe in any one year to 2% of the number of each nationality of the residents in the United States according to the census of 1890.

1927

May 18 - Grauman's Chinese Theatre has its Grand Opening in Hollywood. The film shown that evening is Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. A riot breaks out as onlookers try to see the stars entering the theater for the premiere.

1927

July 29 - After meeting with faculty and tolerating a stocking-less summer among students, Hollywood High School principal Louis J. Foley announces the school's revised position on girls going to school without stockings; "not only that stockings must be worn but that any girl appearing on the campus without hose would lose all credits made so far and be refused the right to finish the summer course."

1927

California passes a Eugenics law that requires health exams to obtain marriage licenses and for a waiting period of three days in between obtaining the licenses and conducting marriage ceremonies. The law is extended in 1929.

1929

Los Angeles District Attorney Asa Keyes is one of the principals of the Julian Petroleum oil stock swindle, known as the “Great Los Angeles Bubble”, where the accused steal millions of dollars from over 40,000 investors. Keyes’ behavior during the trial leads to his undoing. Indeed, tThe trial has its share of dramatic moments including the shooting and subsequent death of Motley Flint, a brother of one of the accused, by an angry investor. Both Keyes and Chief Deputy Davis are convicted of taking a bribe to throw the case. Keyes is accused of accepting golf clubs, a Lincoln coupe, a radio, a chaise lounge, and other gifts at the Spring Street tailor shop of defendant Ben Getzoff. Keyes is convicted on February 20, 1929 and enters San Quentin Prison on March 12, 1930. Eventually the governor pardons Keyes.

1929

December 20 – Jack Randolph challenges Superior Court Judge Archibald’s ruling that Randolph cannot inherit his deceased wife’s estate on the grounds that the marriage is illegal because Randolph has “Negro” blood and May Wheeler Randolph was white. Anbonetta Collison, May’s adult child from a previous marriage, initially challenges Randolph’s right to the estate. The estate is worth $200,000.

1920-1933

From 1920 to 1933, there are at least 28 “Sicilian Blackhand (Mafia)” assassinations between rival bootleg gangs in Los Angeles but none result in prosecution.

1930

Terrys Olender makes legal history throughout her career. At the University of Southern California School of Law, she is the first woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review run by the faculty editor Robert Kingsley. However, the Dean of the Law School, William Hale, refuses to approve her appointment because he “felt that U.S.C. should not be the first to break with tradition by having the first woman Law Review Editor-in-Chief in the United States.” In response, Ms. Olender quits law school with one year to go and successfully passes the bar examination. In 1930 there are approximately 160,605 licensed lawyers, judges, and justices in the United States, and approximately 1,385 are women. Getting a job is her next challenge. She works as an unpaid volunteer in District Attorney Buron Fitts’ 1932 reelection campaign and following the campaign, Ms. Olender is taken into the District Attorney’s Office as an unpaid law clerk. After months of working without pay, Ms. Olender and two other clerks become paid law clerks -- sharing the $160-a-month salary of an investigator. Eventually a civil service examination is announced for the position of Deputy District Attorney and Ms. Olender takes it. When Ms. Olender emerges as number one on the eligible list, she is accused of sleeping with the men who judge the oral part of the examination. After two months, Terrys Olender is given her permanent appointment as a Deputy District Attorney and assigned to felonies. In the all-male atmosphere she becomes used to being referred to as a “tomato,” a “nifty dish,” and “baby doll.” Olender’s five years of trying felony cases are recorded in her book For the Prosecution: Miss Deputy D.A.

1931

March 30 - “The Lemon Grove Incident” becomes the first successful desegregation school case in the history of the United States, prior to 1947’s Mendez vs. Westminster and 1954’s Brown vs. Board of Education. Mexican American residents of Lemon Grove in San Diego County form the Comite de Venicos de Lemon Grove. They look toward attorneys Fred C. Noon and A.C. Brinkley for legal assistance. The district’s decision for school segregation stems from anti-Mexican sentiment and economic chaos brought on by the Great Depression. On March 30th, the court rules in favor of desegregating schools. Judge Claude Chambers refutes assertions, made by the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove District, that students of Mexican ancestry possess traits of backwardness and deficiencies that alter their learning. Judge Chambers demands the immediate return of Mexican children into the school district and deems the practices unconstitutional.

1930

November 6 – Santiago Serrano and Roxielee Wright are denied a marriage license by the Riverside County Clerk on the basis that Serrano is Filipino and Wright is white and marriages between whites and nonwhites are illegal in California.

1931

An amendment to the Cable Act declares that no American-born woman who loses her citizenship by marrying an alien ineligible to citizenship can be denied the right of naturalization at a later date.

1933

Dorothy Ray Healey organizes Mexican and Japanese berry pickers in El Monte. A lifelong activist for the downtrodden, Dorothy Healey works for the rights of the American worker, minorities, and the middle class. As head of the Los Angeles branch of the Communist Party after 1946, she builds bridges between unions, civil rights movements, and progressive electoral coalitions. During the Red Scare, she is one of the original Smith Act defendants, arrested, jailed, and tried for “attempting to overthrow the government,” until the Supreme Court declares the law unconstitutional. Healey’s work is instrumental in building the American Communist Party, though in the 1950s she disavows connections to the U.S.S.R. after learning of Stalin’s horrific regime of terror.

1934

October 18 - Former Los Angeles District Attorney Asa Keyes dies in his Beverly Hills home. Keyes' career includes notoriety and scandal. During his tenure he handles the allegedly fake kidnapping of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, the still unsolved murder of film director William Desmond Taylor, and finally the case that is his undoing: the Julian Petroleum oil stock swindle.

1937

Benevolent cafeteria owner Clifford E. Clinton provides free meals to anyone who cannot pay during the Great Depression. Clinton is a civic reformer that is part of the wave of reformers brought together in part by author Upton Sinclair’s governor campaign in 1934. Although Sinclair’s race for governor is unsuccessful, he unites large sections of the unemployed as well as progressive groups. In 1937, Clinton becomes a member of the Los Angeles Grand Jury. In a memorable report, Clinton and his allies on the Grand Jury assert that 1,800 bookmakers, 200 gambling dens, and 600 brothels are operating in Los Angeles. The report states, “The three principal law enforcement agencies of the county, the District Attorney, the Sheriff and the Chief of Police of Los Angeles, work in complete harmony and never interfere with the activities of the important figures of the underworld.” Clinton creates the Citizens Independent Vice Investigating Committee (CIVIC) and hires Harry Raymond, an ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer, to investigate the mayor. Raymond is the object of a car bombing, and survives, though his attackers do not; Captain Earl E. Kynette of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Intelligence Division is tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years in San Quentin for planting the bomb.

1938

Mayor Frank Shaw, previously a member of the Board of Supervisors suspected of taking bribes, is recalled. His brother Joe is charged with 66 offenses involving the sale of city jobs and police exams. While the convictions of those involved are eventually overturned, the scandal helps to elect Mayor Fletcher Bowron, who purges the police department of fraudulent police officers.

1940

Newly elected District Attorney John Dockweiler is determined to stop the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to break unions. During the New Deal, local union membership grows from 33,000 in 1933 to 200,000 in 1940. Part of Dockweiler’s efforts includes firing the entire District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and reducing it during re-hiring from 67 to 30 agents. In 1941 Dockweiler takes on the Los Angeles Police Department’s strikebreaking efforts when he refuses to file charges against members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (who are arrested on kidnapping charges by the Los Angeles Police Department) and begins investigating police brutality.

1940

January 10 - Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette begins an investigation into how civil liberties are protected in Los Angeles, specifically in regards to labor unions. He looks into past National Labor Relations Board complaints as far back as 1934 and is met by representatives protecting local organizations and addressing each complaint.

1941

December 7 - An erroneous call is sent over the radio for “250,000 volunteers for Civil Defense,” and Los Angeles’ Hall of Justice is soon teeming with volunteers including one group of 11 youths who ask Sheriff Biscailuz for “uniforms.”

1942

February 19 - President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of over 110,000 Japanese residents and aliens as well as Japanese American citizens.

1942

February 25 - In the early morning hours, after reports surface of an impending attack on Los Angeles by the Japanese, a mysterious balloon-like object is sighted over Santa Monica. The military orders anti-aircraft batteries to open fire triggering an event known as the Battle of Los Angeles. Although more than 1,400 shells are fired, no bombs are dropped. It is later reported by the Secretary of the Navy that the Army has been "shooting at clouds.”

1942

February 28-The United States Navy evacuates all Japanese and Japanese American residents of Terminal Island in accordance with Executive Order 9066. Previously known as a tourist destination for wealthy whites, Brighton Beach on Terminal Island is by this time known as Fish Harbor, a place full of fishing boats.

1942

March 21-The first group of Japanese Angelenos, citizens and aliens, leaves for the hastily built internment camp at Manzanar. They are housed at the stables of the Santa Anita Race Track prior to being sent to Manzanar for the duration of World War II.

1942

March 27 - A curfew is imposed in Orange County on all German and Italian aliens, and all persons of Japanese descent (who are interned by April 7), requiring that they be in their homes between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. They are also restricted in travel.

1942

June 1 - The number of Japanese American citizens in the Santa Anita racetrack assembly center reaches 19,000. Three months later the relocation process begins, and within two months, after having processed all the people into distant internment camps, the assembly center is empty.

1942

August 24 - United States and Mexico sign an executive agreement to recruit Mexican temporary workers, known as braceros, for United States farms, with transportation and other costs to be borne by the United States government. Mexico refuses to allow workers to be recruited for Texas farmers because of a history of discrimination against Mexicans in the state. The United States promises that braceros will not be mistreated.

1943

President Franklin Roosevelt issues an executive order creating the Committee on Fair Employment Practices in order to eliminate employment discrimination in war industries based on race, creed, color or national origin.

1943

Los Angeles newspapers carry stories about “B” girls in downtown bars fleecing servicemen. A review of vice arrests show 105 arrests for prostitution in the City of Los Angeles in 1942 and 83 such arrests in 1943, the latter all occurring at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Various women’s organizations demand action and in a letter to District Attorney Howser, Los Angeles Police Chief C.B. Horrall explains the situation is a result of a police “recruiting problem,” due to World War II.

1943

May 31 - A group of 12 sailors and soldiers fight with a group of Mexican American youth. One sailor, Seaman Second Class Joe Dacy Coleman, United States, is seriously injured.

1943

June 3 - The Zoot Suit Riots, the result of months of wartime paranoia and tension, are sparked when 11 sailors walking in the 1700 block of North Main Street are attacked by what they describe as a gang of zoot-suiters. The following evening, over 200 sailors invade the Eastside attacking Mexican American youths and leaving four wounded on the pavement. Nine sailors are arrested but no charges are ever brought against them. In the nights that follow, the Army, Marine Corps, and other civilians join the Navy in the attacks, dragging young men from theaters, stripping them naked, and brutally beating anyone who looks Mexican. Local authorities make no attempt to stop the events and in some cases join in the activities.

1945

Despite the wartime ban against strikes, set designers from the Conference of Studio Unions strike against Warner Brothers film studio for 30 weeks. On October 5, also known as “Hollywood’s Black Friday,” picketing workers are attacked by executives and studio police, inciting “the Battle of Warner Brothers” at their Burbank studios. Producers pelt metal nuts and bolts from the roof and police hose workers and throw tear gas. Strikers overturn three cars in the melee. The strike ends and negotiations are never resolved. This bloody event leads to the passage of the 1947 Taft Hartley Act, which severely restricts workers abilities to strike and the power of unions.

1945

January 20 - The program of mass incarceration brought about by Executive Order 9066, otherwise known as the internment of over 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans, comes to an end.

1946

Californians reject Proposition 11, also known as the Fair Employment Practices Act.

1947

March 15 - An explosion on a yacht in Newport Harbor kills wealthy Los Angeles residents Walter and Beulah Overell. After a sensational trial and $75,000 worth of evidence analysis, the two suspects, the couple's daughter and her boyfriend, are acquitted. The case leads to the successful lobbying for Orange County's first crime lab.

1947

April 14 - The Mendez, Estrada, Guzman, Palomino, and Ramirez families dispute the practice of school segregation in Orange County, taking their concerns to the California Supreme Court. The families claim that their children and other children of "Mexican descent" are victims of discrimination because they are forced to attend "Mexican" schools throughout Orange County. The Mendez case overturns segregation practices in Orange County.

1947

June 10 - As a result of studies conducted on smog and pollution levels in the Los Angeles area, California Governor Earl Warren signs into law the Air Pollution Control Act, authorizing the creation of an Air Pollution Control District in every county of the state. The Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District is established and is the first of its kind in the country.

1947

The United States Supreme Court bans restrictive covenants. Covenants are key to residential segregation and have exclusionary language written into the deeds of properties. Despite the ban, many real estate agents and homeowners maintain illegal racist segregation.

1948

Perez V. Sharp: Andrea Perez, a Mexican American woman, and Sylvester Davis, an African American man, file a lawsuit against then-Los Angeles County Clerk W.G. Sharp after Perez and Davis seek and then are denied a marriage license from the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office. Under state law, no marriage license can be issued between a “white” and a “negro” person. The case goes to the California Supreme Court and the couple successfully overturns California’s miscegenation laws.

1951

May 9 - Superior Court Judge Clement D. Nye sentences 31-year-old Norris Mumper to one to 14 years in San Quentin for forgery. Mumper pleads not guilty by reason of “alcoholic insanity” and his psychiatrist reports he is addicted to drinking “coffee flavored with mothballs, gasoline in milk and shaving lotion.”

1955

October 16 - Los Angeles police bust one of the biggest gambling rings in the city's history, arresting over 123 individuals during their raid in the Pacific Town Club at 4332 West Adams Boulevard. Those arrested include doctors, lawyers and businessmen.

1959

Governor Edmund Brown signs California’s Fair Employment Practices Act to protect prospective job searchers against discriminatory practices in employment.

1959

The United States begins the “Confession Program” which pardons undocumented Chinese immigrants.

1960

The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the California Democratic Council push to create a Los Angeles Police Review Board to stop police harassment. They are unsuccessful.

1963

The Equal Pay Act is created, banning discrimination based on the race, color, religion, national origin or sex of the worker.

1963

The California State legislature passes the Rumford Act, also known as the "fair housing act," which declares racial discrimination in sales or rentals of housing to be against the law. The California Housing Association drafts in response to this act the voter initiative Proposition 14, a state constitution amendment that repeals the Rumford Act. Although Proposition 14 passes by a 2 – 1 margin, it is eventually deemed unconstitutional and overthrown.

1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex. At the same time it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties.

1965

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Immigration Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act. It allows more individuals from the Eastern Hemisphere to enter the United States (including Asians, who have been hindered from entering). Under the Act, 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere are granted residency, with no more than 20,000 per country. One hundred twenty thousand immigrants from the Western Hemisphere, with no “national limitations,” are also admitted and the Act includes a separate quota for refugees.

1965

February 5 - About 100 protestors march from Olympic Boulevard and Broadway to the front doors of Los Angeles’ Federal Building in protest of the February 2 arrest of Revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama at a non-violent voting rights demonstration. The protest is done in solidarity with nationwide protests initiated by the Congress of Racial Equality.

1965

August 11 - Marquette Frye is pulled over and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving around 7 p.m. by a Anglo American California Highway Patrol officer on Avalon Boulevard. During the arrest a crowd gathers and Frye's mother and brother contest the arrest. Someone in the crowd throws a rock at the police car and the Watts-Willowbrook area explodes into riots. After six days of burning and looting, 34 people are dead, 1,032 are wounded, and 3,952 are arrested. Property damages are estimated at $40 million. Police deny that the Watts "uprising" is connected in any way to resentment over police brutality though the McCone Commission cites this factor, along with loss of economic opportunities, to be driving forces in the Watts Riots. The McCone Commission, like others before it, calls for the creation of a Los Angeles Police Review Board and is unsuccessful.

1965

The Voting Rights Act is passed by the United States Congress and gives the federal government power to ensure nondiscriminatory procedures in all elections. This Act leads to the end of many Jim Crow practices like literacy tests and grandfather clauses in voting.

1966

May 26 - After the death of a 14-year-old girl at Riverside County General Hospital, District Attorney William Mackey orders an inquest. The Coroner’s Office concludes that an illegal abortion is the cause of death. Thousands of women die as a result of unsanitary medical conditions or unskilled doctors prior to the legalization of abortion in 1972  through the federal Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.

1966

September 19 – Sixteen-year-old Ruth Mendoza is shot in the hip while in a car during a "riot" between fighting Seabees from Port Hueneme and Oxnard Mexican American youth. The riot begins when Oxnard policeman Gordon Hubbard is knocked down and kicked in the head during the arrest of Jose Castell Cardinas. The Navy eventually cancels all shore leave and brings all of the sailors back to the base. Police arrest ten youth who have in their possession a rifle, a dagger, and bicycle chains.

1968

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission rules that sex-segregated “help wanted” ads in newspapers are illegal.

1968

March 7 - After bureaucratic delays, the students from five high schools walk out to demand the incorporation of their history in their education, better food, academic advisement for college and not just vocational trajectories, and the removal of racist teachers. The East Los Angeles Walkouts are inspired in part by Lincoln High School history teacher Sal Castro. After attending a youth leadership conference and learning about the discrepancies between Eastside and Westside schools, members of the Brown Berets and other student groups from Roosevelt, Wilson, Lincoln, Garfield, and Belmont Highs begin organizing. Students take a survey of Chicano attitudes towards school and education.

1968

June 5 - The Los Angeles Times announces that Dorothy Healey, “the Red Queen”, is moving to New England.

1969

January 17 - John Huggins and Bunchy Carter, members of the Black Panther Party, are shot and killed at a Black Student Union meeting at the University of California at Los Angeles in front of Campbell Hall.

1970

June 28 - Los Angeles celebrates its first Gay Pride Parade, organized by Morris Kight of the Gay Liberation Front. The event initially begins as a march to celebrate the birth of the modern gay liberation movement launched by the 1969 rebellion at the Stonewall Bar on New York's Christopher Street. The City of Los Angeles dedicates "Morris Kight Square" at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden in Hollywood, California in 2003.

1970

August 29 - Five years after the Watts Riots, violence erupts once again in East Los Angeles. One victim is Mexican American reporter Ruben Salazar. Salazar is killed by a tear gas projectile that hits him in the head while drinking a beer at the Silver Dollar Café on Whittier Boulevard. The missile is fired into the crowded bar by a member of the Sheriff's Department through a closed curtain.

1971

The “People’s Lobby,” headed by Edward Kaoupal, gathers a sufficient number of signatures to place an antipollution initiative on the 1972 November ballot. The initiative seeks to ban additives to gasoline, shut down polluting industries during smog alerts, and stop coastal and offshore drilling.

1972

An Equal Rights Amendment which guarantees that equal rights under any federal, state, or local law cannot be denied on account of sex is passed by Congress, but not ratified before its 1982 deadline.

1973

Supreme Court Case Roe V. Wade legalizes abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.

1978

Seventy-five-year-old Angeleno Howard Jarvis teams up with Paul Gann to draft a ballot initiative designed for much needed property tax reform. Proposition 13 is an amendment that calls for the slashing of property taxes, and for limiting their future growth by establishing more rigid requirements for raising taxes; Proposition 13 is responsible for the steady decrease in California’s social services.

1979

January 3 – Two Los Angeles Police Officers shoot Eulia Love after she threatens to throw an 11-inch paring knife (that she uses for gardening) at them. Eulia Love is a 39-year-old widow and mother of three at the time of her death. The officers shoot 8 bullets into her body. District Attorney John Van de Kamp chooses not to prosecute the officers. As a result California Congresswoman Maxine Waters creates the Assembly Justice Committee in the California legislature.

1981

July 9 - Political figure Earl Warren, a native of Los Angeles, dies. In 1953, he becomes the first Californian to serve as United States Chief Justice. He also serves as Governor and Attorney General. As Attorney General for the state he advises President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to incarcerate all Japanese residents on the West Coast and helps to draft Executive Order 9066. Following his appointment to the United States Supreme Court by President Eisenhower, Warren is instrumental in securing the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) that racial segregation is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

1984

Aurora Castillo, the great great granddaughter of Augustine Pedro Olvera, for whom Olvera Street is named, spends most of her career as a secretary for Douglas Aircraft. However in 1984, at the age of 83, Castillo becomes an environmental activist and starts the Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA), a community organization that intends to protect East Los Angeles from environmental and public health threats. MELA successfully stops a prison from being built in East Los Angeles and halts the building of an incinerator and hazardous waste treatment plant, citing probable environmental threats. In 1995 she becomes the first Los Angeles resident to win the $75,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, “the Nobel Prize for environmentalists.” Castillo tells the Los Angeles Times in 1995: "People figure us to be an uneducated, low economic Democratic community. We may not have a PhD after our names, but we have common sense and logic, and we are not a dumping ground. We're not the sleeping giant people think we are. We're wide awake, and no way will anything be put over on us."

1986

January 22 - The American Civil Liberties Union intervenes on behalf of an 11-year-old El Toro hemophiliac who is barred from attending his school because he has AIDS antibodies in his blood.

1988

Congress enacts the Civil Rights Restoration Act over President Ronald Reagan's veto. It prohibits sex discrimination throughout educational institutions receiving federal funds, restoring Title IX.

1991

March 3 - Rodney King is arrested and beaten by a group of police officers. The incident, except for the first 13 seconds after King stops, is captured on video by a private citizen, George Holliday, from his apartment near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Osborne Street in Lake View Terrace. The four officers are charged with use of excessive force.

1991

March 4 - Venice residents file a $10 million lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles to stop water rationing. Residents call the cutbacks “unconstitutional” because no one was advised on how much water to use.

1991

March 16 – Los Angeles grocery store owner and Korean American woman, Soon Ja Du, shoots and kills Latasha Harlins, a 15-year old African American girl in the back of the head as she exits the store. Seconds earlier, Harlins swings at Ja Du after the storeowner grabs her backpack. On November 15 - Superior Court Judge Joyce Harlins sentences Soon Ja Du to probation for the shooting death of Latasha Harlins.

1992

April 29 - The Rodney King trial takes place in Simi Valley with a jury of Ventura County residents — ten whites, one Latino and one Asian. The jury acquits the officers. Upon hearing the verdict, hundreds of Los Angelenos begin a protest that turns into a “live” televised six-day riot where 53 people die and the total cost of damages equals $1,000,000,000.

1995

Orenthal James Simpson is acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman and returns to his Brentwood home. The jury deliberates for three hours before reaching a decision. The families of the victims successfully convict Simpson in civil court.

1998

California voters approve Proposition 227, abolishing the state's bilingual education program.

1998

May 1- At 3:00 p.m. on the Harbor and Century Freeway interchange – 40-year-old Long Beach resident Daniel V. Jones kills himself and his dog Gladdis on live television in order to make a protest against his HMO. Friends describe Jones as “proud, passionate and willing to take his life--and his beloved dog's--to prove a point.” Jones is HIV positive and has unsuccessfully fought his HMO to receive medical care. He leaves a videotape suicide note in which he states: "I'm not going to fight the disease. It has affected my neurological system. I'm not going to end up crazy."

1999

The AFL-CIO votes to end employer sanctions for employing illegal immigrants and to support amnesty for workers already in the United States.

1999

March 25 - Enron energy traders allegedly route 2,900 megawatts of electricity destined for California to the town of Silver Peak, Nevada, population 200.

2000

May 15 - Paul Harper, Brian Liddy, and Edward Ortiz plead not guilty to filing a false police report and committing perjury in connection with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart District corruption scandal. Former officer Rafael Perez testifies to unethical practices like planting guns and drugs on innocent victims. Twenty officers are linked to the scandal and are fired, suspended or relieved of their duties.

2006

Los Angeles authorities release footage of the dumping of a destitute 63-year-old patient onto the streets of Skid Row by employees of a Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Bellflower. According to the Associated Press, “The Bellflower hospital is among 10 Los Angeles-area hospitals under investigation for allegedly discharging homeless patients onto the streets instead of into the custody of a relative or shelter.” The City Attorney’s Office files a lawsuit against Kaiser for “dependent-care-endangerment.”

2006

May 1 - Half a million demonstrators fill Broadway Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles for pro-immigration rallies dubbed "A Day Without an Immigrant."

2007

June 22 - A California Appellate Court upholds the West Hollywood declaw ban and reinstates municipal ordinance, arguing that the process causes “unnecessary pain, anguish and permanent disability to animals,” and prohibiting any person, “licensed professional or otherwise,” from performing declawing procedures unless necessary for a “therapeutic purpose.”

2008

May 15 – The California Supreme Court declares a voter initiative banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Its 4-to-3 decision paves the way for California to join Massachusetts, where the state's highest court legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, as one of two states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.