"When Little Tokyo Went Bronze"
In February of 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration of World War II. For the section of Los Angeles known as Little Tokyo, the removal of its Japanese American residents created a ghost town of empty houses and businesses. The abandoned neighborhood soon became a source of opportunity for the influx of southern African American citizens that were migrating to LA, who, like the Japanese, were barred from living anywhere west of Central Avenue by the city?s racially restrictive housing covenants. As thousands of African American families moved into homes and retail spaces vacated by Japanese Americans, the Little Tokyo neighborhood became known as "Bronzeville".
Few remnants remain of the time when the streets of Little Tokyo became Bronzeville and were known for the jazz and "breakfast clubs" that operated until the wee hours, and leading citizens such as Leonard Christmas who organized the Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce. A long-time fascination with the period led artist Kathie Foley-Meyer to create Project Bronzeville, a combination of fine art, theater, a panel discussion and music coming together to commemorate this brief but vibrant part of LA history.
Programming will include:
- An exhibition of artwork created by Kathie Foley-Meyer at LA Artcore.
- An encore production of the play Bronzeville, produced by the Robey Theatre Company at LATC. Written by Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk, Bronzeville tells the true story of a Black family who moved into the home of a Japanese family and discovered a member of the family hiding in the attic.
- A night of live music at the Blue Whale jazz club, featuring music by The Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble.
- A panel discussion about the Bronzeville period with Christopher Jimenez y West, Ph.D., Hillary Jenks, Ph.D. and Anthony Macias, Ph.D.
THEATER: Bronzeville, by the Robey Theatre Company - June 24 - July 28, 2013 Los Angeles Theater Center - 514 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
Special student matinees performed for 700 Middle & High School Students at the Accelerated School Theater the week of May 20th, 2013.
ART: Kathie Foley-Meyer exhibition - June 1 - 30, 2013.
LA Artcore @ Union Center for the Arts - 120 Judge John Aiso St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
MUSIC: A night of jazz featuring the music of The Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble - June 23, 2013.
Blue Whale - 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
SYMPOSIUM: Panel discussion with Christopher Jimenez y West, Hillary Jenks & Anthony Macias - June 22.
Downtown Independent Theater - 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
The art exhibition and symposium are both free events. For information regarding tickets to the play, please visit robeytheatrecompany.com. For information regarding the jazz concert, please visit bluewhalemusic.com. For the most up-to-date information about dates, locations, and tickets, visit www.projectbronzeville.com.