Winner, Gold Award in Californiana, California Book Awards, Commonwealth Club of California, 2008
NACCS Book Award, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, 2010
City plazas worldwide are centers of cultural expression and artistic display. They are settings for everyday urban life where daily interactions, economic exchanges, and informal conversations occur, thereby creating a socially meaningful place at the core of a city.
At the heart of historic Los Angeles, the Plaza represents a quintessential public space where real and imagined narratives overlap and provide as many questions as answers about the development of the city and what it means to be an Angeleno. The author, a social and cultural historian who specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Los Angeles, is well suited to explore the complex history and modern-day relevance of the Los Angeles Plaza. From its indigenous and colonial origins to the present day, Estrada explores the subject from an interdisciplinary and multiethnic perspective, delving into the pages of local newspapers, diaries and letters, and the personal memories of former and present Plaza residents, in order to examine the spatial and social dimensions of the Plaza over an extended period of time.
The author contributes to the growing historiography of Los Angeles by providing a groundbreaking analysis of the original core of the city that covers a long span of time, space, and social relations. He examines the impact of change on the lives of ordinary people in a specific place, and how this change reflects the larger story of the city.
WILLIAM DAVID ESTRADA is Curator of California and American History and Chair of the History Department for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Foreword Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1. Cultural and Historical Origins Chapter 2. The Rise and Decline of the Mexican Plaza Chapter 3. From Ciudad to City Chapter 4. Homelands Remembered Chapter 5. Revolution and Public Space Chapter 6. Reforming Culture and Community Chapter 7. Parades, Murals, and Bulldozers Chapter 8. Politics and Preservation Chapter 9. The Persistence of Memory Notes Bibliography Index