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Jasmin A. Young is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA in the Department of African American Studies. As a historian, her research focuses on African American history, 20th Century U.S. History, and gender studies. She specializes in African American women’s history, social movements, and the Black radical tradition.

Originally from Los Angeles, Jasmin Young began her academic career at California State University, Northridge. After graduation, she moved to NYC to attend Columbia University where she received her Masters in African American Studies and worked with the late Dr. Manning Marable. With a desire to ground herself in gender theories, Dr. Young moved to the UK to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), earning a second Masters of Science from the Gender Institute.

In 2018, Dr. Young graduated with a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her dissertation, “Black Women with Guns: A Historical Analysis of Armed Resistance 1892-1979,” offers a long history of women’s political engagement with Black militant activism from the Reconstruction to the Black Power era.

She is developing her book manuscript, Black Women with Guns: Armed Resistance in the Black Freedom Struggle, which is the first intellectual and social history of Black women’s use of armed resistance as a tool to achieve freedom in post–World War II America. While historical studies have assumed armed resistance was a male prerogative, she makes a significant intervention in the historiography by recovering a history of Black women who engaged in and advocated armed resistance from 1955-1979. Using archival research and gender theories, the book argues that Black women increasingly politicized armed resistance, both in theory and in practice, as the Black Freedom Movement shifted its objectives from integration to self-determination. Ultimately, Black Women with Guns broadens our understanding of the Black freedom struggle by expanding what we regard as political thought and action. It also reveals a more multifaceted struggle whose objectives and strategies were continually contested and evolving.

She presented her research to a packed house at UCLA’s Black Forum this past year where she fielded questions and led a great discussion on the intersection of state violence resistance and Radical Black Feminism. Dr. Young has presented her work at various national conferences including the Organization of American Historians. Her work has garnered general public attention and has been featured in the media. You can listen to her interview for the Black Agenda Report with Glen Ford HERE. She was also the historical consultant and writer for a documentary entitled, “Tracking Ida.”

Dr. Young is regarded as a rising junior scholar with cutting-edge research that connects the historical and contemporary understanding and contributions of Black Feminism. Many have attested to her accomplishments and many are eager to read her book when published. For example, fellow scholars at UCLA have said, “Jasmin’s intellectual maturity and complete dedication to research are among her most salient qualities. I was particularly impressed by how she theorized on Malcolm X’s intellectual development as influenced by the Detroit activist community, as well as when she investigated the contradictions of hyper-visibility and invisibility of Black women transnationally in hip-hop culture.”

She has been a great scholar to have in UCLA’s African American Studies Department as well as across campus. Dr. Young’s research reflects the caliber and innovation UCLA offers students, faculty, and the broader community.

Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History and African American Studies at UCLA, has been awarded the 2019 MacArthur Fellowship. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation honors 26 luminaries, who each receive $625,000 over five years. The Chicago-based foundation has awarded these “genius” grants every year since 1981 to help further the pursuits of people with outstanding talent.

As the Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, Professor Lytle Hernandez is one of the nation’s leading experts on race, immigration, and mass incarceration. She is also the author of the following award-winning books, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol and City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles.

Currently, Professor Lytle Hernandez is the principal investigator for Million Dollar Hoods, a university-based, community-driven research project that maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.

The following is an excerpt of a LA Social Science interview with Professor Lytle Hernandez reflecting on her significant and impactful research:

LASS:     Why is it important to do this type of research?

KLH:       Well, I’ve now written two books. The first book was a history of the US Border Patrol, so it’s about race and policing on the US Mexico border. And the second book is about the rise of mass incarceration here in Los Angeles. This too was about race and indigeneity and policing in our local area. And what I’ve learned in the last 20 years of study and in the completion of those two books, is that our carceral regime is really geared toward a system of what we call in settler colonial studies is, mass elimination, that this isn’t a responsive system to so called deviancies that are happening out in the community, that on its grand mass scale, in fact, it is geared toward removing, encouraging, i.e. eliminating targeted populations, namely for Black folks or Brown folks and Native communities and queer communities.

So when I came to this really chilling understanding of what’s happening around us, it’s not just the prison industrial complex, that is about generating profits off of our bodies, but it is also about banishment and elimination. One has to ask themselves who they are, not just as a scholar, but as a person, do I simply document what’s happening around us in this world or do I try to intervene? So that’s where Million Dollar Hoods came from. It’s really a community-based research project that we have grounded here at UCLA. I work with a variety of community based organizations to determine what we want to know about the current trends in policing and incarceration, so that we can interrupt them and that we can move us in a new direction.

LASS:     What is the impact you are hoping that your work provides?

KLH:       It’s twofold. So we hope that our research advances the movement not just to end mass incarceration, but to reinvest in education, in healthcare, and employment and housing and counseling, and parks, and so on and so on – that certainly is one aspect of it. The other is that we are highly committed to training a new generation of data analysts and public scholars. So if you look at our team, we probably have one of the most unique data teams in the country, where we are Black and Brown majority, we are residents of million dollar hoods majority. We have a sizable number, notable number of formerly incarcerated students, and what we’re doing is training people up to be the researchers, to put the power of the data in their hands moving forward. We’re really proud of that dimension as well.

So yes, it’s the research, but anyone can do the research and in some ways any team – if they figured out how to work with community – can do the research. We are transforming who has access to the skill set to run those analyses and we’re proud of both of those accomplishments.

LA Social Science would like to congratulate Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez on this well-deserved honor, and wish her and the other awardees much success as they continue to demonstrate “extraordinary originality.”

Monica L. Smith is a UCLA professor in the Department of Anthropology. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, Smith is the Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair in Indian Studies and the Director of South Asian Archaeology Laboratory in the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Her principal research interests have three main focuses: the human interaction with material culture, urbanism as a long-term human phenomenon, and the development of social complexity. Most recently, Smith has spent time on a research project in eastern India, but her scope of work covers various parts of the world including Madagascar, Turkey, Bangladesh, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, and the United States to name a few. Smith has combined her years of rich research and experience to share the history of cities in her newly published book that was released this month titled, Cities: The First 6,000 Years. In a recent correspondence with Smith she describes in her own words a brief comment about her book. She explains:

“This book explores what makes cities a compelling part of human life, and how over the past six thousand years they have become the dominant form of human settlement. The growth of cities wasn’t an easy process and those who live in cities find them challenging and exciting in equal measure. There is crowding, pollution, high prices, and traffic, but at the same time there are amazing job opportunities, educational and medical facilities, and the possibilities of entertainment ranging from major sports teams to museums, art galleries, and theaters. Cities are also places of much greater diversity, whether that’s ethnic diversity, migrant neighborhoods, or LGBTQ communities. Cities are places of great economic growth and they’re linked together into a global network of connected places.”

Dr. Smith offered additional insights and words of wisdom in a short series of questions about her book.

What inspired you to write your book, Cities: The First 6,000 Years?

I really enjoy teaching my classes “Cities Past and Present” and “Religion and Urbanism” within the Anthropology Department here at UCLA. And I am also an archaeologist who works on ancient urban centers in the Indian subcontinent. Those experiences, as well as my interest in contemporary cities (including our great city of LA!) provided the inspiration for the book. There are a lot of things about cities that we find challenging, but cities are growing larger and larger. My interest was in exploring the long continuity of city life from the very beginnings of urbanism starting six thousand years ago right through to the present and future.

How long did the process take to complete your book?

The Cities book was a sequel to a previous book that I wrote, A Prehistory of Ordinary People, which was published in 2010. Like most academic projects, there’s a kernel of an idea that starts long before we sit down to write a new book. But this one took a couple of years, which in terms of increments is not that much work – about a page a day, really, although some of those pages were rewritten many times to try and get it just right.

What were some of the challenges of writing and publishing?

I was very fortunate in having good prior experiences in public engagement such as through the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology’s annual Backdirt publication. And my colleague Jared Diamond (UCLA Geography) was very helpful in providing encouragement and suggestions. The publication staff and editors at Viking Press were amazing in their dedication to the book and in support of me as an author.

What was most enjoyable about writing this book?

As I wrote in the book’s acknowledgements, this book was really a pleasure to work on and something that I truly enjoyed doing. I’ve always been interested in examining archaeology beyond the perspective of palaces, kings, and queens, so it was an opportunity to think about how we can take evidence in the form of potsherds and ancient buildings to understand how ancient people felt about their cities and how those feelings are still part of our own urban lives.

What do you hope readers take from your book?

I enjoyed the idea of walking people through their own cities, so that they can be archaeologists too. There are the physical remains of our ancestors everywhere around us in every city; in Los Angeles, we have places like Olvera Street and Sawtelle Japantown and Bruce’s Beach. Once people start to look around at the palimpsests of the past in their own city, they can apply those skills to the places that they visit in their travels or the cities to which they relocate for work and family. Cities are remarkably similar in time and space, whether they are archaeological sites or living cities. And some places, like Rome and Mexico City, are ancient and modern all at the same time.

Any advice for others (students/professors) who want to write their own book?

Writing a book isn’t much different from writing a paper (a very long paper!).

How were you able to balance so many responsibilities in your personal life with family and as a professor, chair, director, as well as author a book?

As faculty, we are constantly writing in a variety of different formats, including writing research articles, grant proposals, conference papers, and letters of recommendation in support of students. So, writing a book gets folded into those other activities, and writing is a little bit like breathing: something that we do all the time. But I’ll admit that one of the things that gets cut in the balance of activities is keeping up with things like movies and TV, so I rely on my friends to keep me up to date on that!

How do you feel now that your book is out? How has it been received?

The publisher has been great about spreading the word, and the reviews in advance of publication have been beautiful. One thing that I really appreciated was the reviewers who found the book “humorous” which is not something that faculty often hear – it’s a great compliment. I hope that people enjoy reading it, even if they have time for just a chapter or two.

Definitively, Smith’s book has resonated with many people and has been recognized by other authors, archaeologists, colleagues, and publishing companies. Below are just a couple of praises Smith has received regarding her book. Zahi Hawass, author of Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt stated, “Cities captures the reality and stress of how we make cities and how, sometimes, cities make us. This is a must-read book for any city dweller with a voracious appetite for understanding the wonders of cities and why we’re so attracted to them.” Similarly, Publishers Weekly commented on Smith’s book saying it was, “[An] enjoyable, humorous combination of archeological findings, historical documents, and present-day experiences.” These are convincing reviews, so get the book and read it for yourself.

 

To read additional reviews and media coverage on Cities: The First 6,000 Years, check out these sites: Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Centre for Cities, WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and The American Scholar.

UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences is full of amazing faculty, staff, and students who are contributing to academic scholarship in major ways. Dr. Marcus Hunter is certainly one of these people. Dr. Hunter is a dedicated professor of sociology, the chair of the African American studies department, and a respected author.

Most recently, Dr. Hunter was recognized by the UCLA Newsroom for his book he co-authored with Dr. Zandria F. Robinson titled, Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life. This book is filled with the rich history of the Black American experience dating back to the 1900s and focuses on how Black Americans created their own “Chocolate Cities” where black culture is maintained, created, and defended. It touches on diverse topics including race, racism, place, space, knowledge, and liberation as well as the social, cultural, economic, and political influence. Looking through the eyes of Black Americans and highlighting the way they define their American story, it breaks down preconceived notions of American history told by white America.

To learn more, read the interview with Marcus Hunter about his renowned book HERE.

Chocolate Cities map

 

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles is known for many things, such as warm weather, beautiful beaches, heavy traffic, busy airport, Hollywood, the entertainment business, and ethnic and cultural diversity. It is also a place that houses so much rich history. History of people and communities making meaning and home in L.A. for so many years. South Los Angeles in particular is an area that has been overlooked, yet has stories to tell. These stories have long been silenced, ignored, or misrepresented.

More recently, gentrification, brought hugely by the Crenshaw/LAX Metro rail line is contributing to the push out of long-time residents and businesses. It’s changing the area at the heart of Black Los Angeles, its population, and its culture to where much of the history of the community is at risk of being erased. As a response to this neglect by the city, local community members, leaders, activists, academics, planners, and artists have come together to create Destination Crenshaw. Among the team of experts who are excited to see this project succeed are UCLA’s Dean of Social Sciences, Darnell Hunt and Professor Marcus Hunter, Chair of the Department of African American Studies. Professor Hunter conducted a research project on Black L.A. that has contributed to the creation of Destination Crenshaw.

Destination Crenshaw is an art project that will be an experience, free for the public to enjoy. It will follow the LAX Metro rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard between 48th and 60th streets. It will be a 1.3-mile open-air museum that will capture themes such as Afro-futurism in South L.A. and community resiliency as well as recognize the unique history of African Americans in the area. It is a hope that this project can help to inform outsiders that there is much to be loved and appreciated in South L.A. as well as reignite community pride for Angelenos about the place they call home.

To learn more, read the Los Angeles Times article HERE.

To read an earlier post about the UCLA research that contributed to Destination Crenshaw, click HERE.

Featured in photo: Tom Worger, Bill Worger, and Bantu Holomisa, future leader of the United Democratic Movement, at a wedding in Gazini, Eastern Cape, 2002

Dr. Bill Worger, Professor of History at UCLA, is working on some really interesting projects.  Recently, we caught up with Professor Worger to chat about teaching online classes, a research initiative that digitizes anti-apartheid posters, and comic books.

LASS:     Where are you from and where did you go to school?

BW:        I grew up in New Zealand, first generation New Zealander. I became a teenager in the 1960s when most African and most Asian countries were becoming newly independent states, and I got fascinated in studying their history.

LASS:     Where did you go to school and why did you study what you studied?

BW:        I went to the University of Auckland, and I think something that was unique about the University of Auckland in the 1960s compared to practically every other university in New Zealand or in Canada or Australia or another part of the so-called “white Commonwealth,” was that there were three professors of history: one of them did New Zealand history; one did Africa; one did Southeast Asia. I didn’t grow up as a person who was going to spend my whole life studying Europe and the United States.

LASS:     Now fast forward to UCLA, what do you do here at UCLA and what do you study here?

BW:        I came to UCLA in 1989 to teach African history in general and South African history specifically. Looking back, I first came to the United States for my PhD in 1975. Most New Zealanders were expected to go overseas and most went to Britain and became part of the expat colonial community. I decided to come to the States. After my PhD which I received in ’82 from Yale, I taught at the University of Michigan, I taught at Stanford University, and then I came to UCLA, which had arguably one of the best African history programs in the nation and has had that since the 1960s.

LASS:     What are you currently teaching right now that excites you?

BW:        I’m teaching two courses: one course is History 10B, the history of Africa since 1800, which I’m teaching as an online class to 420 students, most of them first- or second-year students who need a GE. I’m finding that fascinating because of the various work that they do, such as exploring all the resources we have on campus by, for example, doing a field work assignment which asks them to take selfies with an Africa-related item at the botanical gardens, at the Fowler Art Museum, and at the map collection in the library. They are finding out that they’re discovering the campus thoroughly for the first time in their lives. The other class I am teaching is a graduating senior research seminar where I’m asking the students to use two series of comics. One, Mighty Man, was published surreptitiously by the South African government in the 1970s to persuade residents of Soweto to fight crime and support apartheid; the other, the Black Panther, has a lengthy storyline published in 1989 which focuses on the struggle against apartheid. I want my students to see the ways in which popular culture is developed and the ways in which publications such as comics represent history, reflect it, and affect it.

LASS:     That’s amazing. Can you tell me more about the initiative that you started with the comics and how you’ve worked with the UCLA libraries to share them with the world?

BW:        I first went to South Africa in 1977, probably two months after Stephen Biko, a major leader of the anti-apartheid movement, had been killed in prison by the South African authorities, although they never admitted their responsibility until 20 years later and maybe not even now. Much the material then had been banned, the African National Congress had been banned for a long time, I mean it was an incredibly authoritarian society, essentially a police state, and it was highly segregated. Different entrances to the post office. I could go in as a white person. If you were black, you had to go through a separate entry.

If you were “Coloured,” a South African legal definition of the time, there was a separate bus for you. The apartheid government defined everybody as either white or African or Indian or “Coloured.” So many different divisions in daily life. As I have taught the history of South Africa, I’ve been interested especially since the end of apartheid in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president, to see the ways in which materials that were previously banned or pushed underground or censored or were not supposedly available in the archives can now be accessed. There’s so much that’s creeping out.

In this particular case, I became aware probably about five years ago of the existence of these comics. I’m not quite sure how I found it. But it was partly through looking at comic blogs. And I’m also a believer in collecting things off eBay. This collection became available on eBay simply because some American had collected Mighty Man, and I purchased the whole collection and have worked closely with people at YRL [Young Research Library at UCLA] to digitize it to make it available. Not only to all of us here at UCLA but to the wider public both in North America and in South Africa where they’re seeing these for the first time since most of them were destroyed literally in 1976.

http://southafricancomicbooks.blogspot.com/2015/01/afri-comics-mighty-man-series.html

“What I find is in many of these initiatives we are pursuing at UCLA that they are being very well received and accepted in South Africa, particularly by black historians, who have been still and to this present day remain marginalized by academia. But these young scholars are the people on the ground and the ones who have the community knowledge and the language skills to understand their own history.” – Professor Bill Worger

LASS:     Why is this work important?

BW:        I think it’s important work in terms of people finding out and rediscovering their history. I’ve gone to South Africa and talked to younger people, younger black students in particular, who feel that much of the history of apartheid is the history of their parents. It’s not something that affects them immediately since they are often students born after 1994 and they can’t quite understand why their parents either won’t talk about apartheid or why they have so many terrible memories. What I find is in many of these initiatives we are pursuing at UCLA that they are being very well received and accepted in South Africa, particularly by black historians, who have been still and to this present day remain marginalized by academia. But these young scholars are the people on the ground and the ones who have the community knowledge and the language skills to understand their own history.

What I feel like is that it’s important to provide these people with access, which we can do uniquely at UCLA. The materials that they themselves can access or digitize, either because they’re not in their libraries or because of the costs involved. This is part of understanding their history and learning more about it, because they’ve got a fragmented notion of their past particularly because history has been so controlled by white authorities in South Africa both during the apartheid era and even to the present day in terms of those who teach in universities.

LASS:     What types of new knowledge does this project and initiative generate?

BW:        It produces new knowledge, new sources, and new ways of talking about the past, particularly the student uprising in Soweto in 1976. There’s a fascinating television series “When We Were Black” made by black South Africans, including Professor Sifiso Ndlovu, who as a 13 year-old was one of the student protestors in 1976. This TV series in a very low-key way shows the ways in which children, high school children, were politicized by daily activities. It’s a very powerful film. Access to the Mighty Man comics (none of which remain in public circulation in South Africa) for Professor Ndlovu and his peers and students provides yet another form of evidence to show the ways in which the government was trying to manipulate young people during the apartheid era. Trying to affect their minds in visual ways particularly through the utilization of comics. This is just one project in which I’m engaged but there are so many ways in which you can delve back in, and, in a sense, disinter hidden histories.

LASS:     There’s such relevancy to that with what’s going on today, right, in popular culture and in the media and in the news. I imagine your students are able to when they learn about these materials and take these classes and participate in this research, are developing a critical way to extrapolate.

BW:        I emphasis generational empathy and understanding in a lot of my classes. What I like to ask my students to do, most of whom are in their late teens, early to mid twenties is to think about their own family histories. Think about where they are right now. In the seminar, I’m teaching on comparing Mighty Man and the Black Panther. I’ve got a fair number of students who were born in the United States, but they’re of Iranian descent. With them, I’m asking them, think about what was happening in Iran as of the 1970s or what was happening as of their parents’ generation.

Let’s say if I’m talking about South Africa in the middle of the 1870s when we get the development of an industrialized, very modern, but very repressive racial society. What would your family have been doing at that time? I’ve had students who are African American who are only a few generations removed from slavery, or the Jim Crow racism of the late 19th and 20th centuries. I’ve had students who are descendants of white slave owners in the US South. I’ve had students from other parts in the world, from Asia and the Middle East, who I have asked to think about what their families were doing as of around 1870, because I want people to reimagine themselves into these situations. It’s not just solely an objective past to be looked at, it’s something to be rethought and relived in. We use a multitude of sources.

LASS:     What type of solutions will be derived from that?

BW:        I’m old enough now to know there are never any solutions. What I emphasize to my students, and this is the most remarkable thing, which is if we really want to find social mobility in the world, in a world that’s basically unfair and obviously discriminatory in many ways, education is the way in which you can achieve some social mobility. It’s absolutely key. It’s the way no matter how oppressed you are, how discriminated, how marginalized, through education you can succeed in both changing your own position and those of your family and those who surround you. You can also change yourself in terms of how you think about anything. You can always be free in your own mind.

In a way that for so many of the people that I study in South Africa, for example, the end of apartheid has not meant the end of poverty or marginalization or discrimination. But, people in their minds have become free and that gives them a very different perspective at how they look around at other people and at the problems they have in their lives.

LASS:     In all your work, your teaching, your research, the projects that you engage in, what’s the big impact that you’re hoping to make?

BW:        It’s always incremental. It’s always the little things. I’m delighted to engage in conversations and have my students take over. I would hope that one or more of those 420 students in 10B go away with an understanding that history is not just the statistics and the facts and that there’s a solution and life gets better all the time, but there are constant struggles and everybody needs to be respected. In dealing with my South African colleagues, I understand history has to be transformed there; it has to become possessed by the people who are the majority of the country, and the people who have indigenous knowledge of the 11 or so languages there. They’re the people who are going to revolutionize history. I’ve been part of the incremental change, but it’s only a small part.

LASS:     I know prior to the turning on the recorder we talked a little bit about a new research grant that you’re applying for, that you are hoping to get funded. Tell us about that. I’m excited to learn more about that.

BW:        I told you about two research grants. One of which actually has already got funded by the Office of the UC President, which will enable me to go to South Africa with my wife, Professor Nancy Clark, who is also an historian of South Africa and where we will actually work on developing lectures based on site, at the places where events actually happened and where we will do a different history which focuses the majority of the people in the country. We hope that we can then share it with the people there and again be part, a small part, of the development of the historical profession in that country. I’m also waiting to find out about another grant that I worked on with a couple colleagues at UCLA. This is a grant to support another UC-HBCU initiative to hopefully bring to UCLA each summer, 10 students from Spelman, Howard University and North Carolina Central University, who will come to UCLA and spend their time meeting with faculty and with fellow students who are interested in what I would in term the engaged social sciences. That is academic study that is aimed towards improving society. A very general term, I know, but we can incrementally make the world around us a slightly better place on the basis of what we discover and what we find out in our academic work.

LASS:     With that, thank you so much. It’s there anything that I didn’t ask or I should know about?

BW:        So we have in Los Angeles probably the world’s biggest collection of political posters at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. It’s just an incredible resource in Culver City. I’m working with colleagues in South Africa and with colleagues at YRL to develop a grant so that we can digitize the approximately 1,000 anti-apartheid posters that this collection has.

These are posters that were made in the United States, they were made in the Soviet Union when it was the Soviet Union. They were made in Cuba. They were made in all parts of the world and they are posters that were created as part of the anti-apartheid struggle. None of these posters are available in South Africa because they would have been banned so they could never have been circulated.

If any of them did circulate, say surreptitiously, in South Africa the police and military would have destroyed them so they are not available there. So what I am working with, as I say, with colleagues at YRL and in South Africa is to get a grant to digitize these materials so that we can create a public archive of anti-apartheid materials that would then be accessible to young black South Africans who can see the ways in which the entire world was engaged to end apartheid and end white supremacy in their country.

It becomes a research resource for people who are interested in history, but it also becomes something whereby people understand communication and mutual interest across generations and across boundaries.

LASS:     Thank you!

UPDATE: As of June 6, 2018, Professor Worger informed us that a fellow historian from South Africa, Dr. Chitja Twala, Head of the History Department at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, had been awarded a fellowship by the Mellon Foundation that will enable him to spend three months at UCLA in 2019.  Dr. Twala will arrange the digitization of the anti-apartheid posters at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Culver City, CA. UCLA’s Young Research Library will then arrange for the uploading and archiving of these posters so that they will be freely available worldwide.

 

Dr. Bill Worger was interviewed by Mike Nguyen, an assistant editor and contributor to LA Social Science.

 

May 4, 2018

Last week, Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of History and African American Studies and the interim director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, along with Associate Professor Chandra Ford, Chancellor Gene Block, and UCLA students, journeyed to Sacramento to meet with members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. There they discussed Million Dollar Hoods and the policy interventions and solutions that can be implemented to improve Los Angeles and advance justice reinvestment campaigns. Connecting research to actionable policy is a major objective of Million Dollar Hoods and Professor Lytle Hernandez’s work.

 

Related post: Mapping LA’s Million Dollar Hoods

 

milliondollarhoods.org

By Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Professor of History and African-American Studies

Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system on Earth. At a cost of nearly $1 billion annually, more than 20,000 people are caged every night in county jails and city lockups. Conventional wisdom says that incarceration advances public safety by removing violent and serious offenders from the streets – but the data shows that isn’t necessarily true.

According to Million Dollar Hoods (MDH), a digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles, not all neighborhoods are equally impacted by L.A.’s massive jail system. In fact, L.A.’s nearly billion-dollar jail budget is largely committed to incarcerating many people from just a few neighborhoods, in some of which more than $1 million is spent annually on incarceration. Leading causes of arrest in these areas are primarily drug possession and DUIs, and the majority of those arrested are black, brown and poor.

The bottom line: the data shows that local authorities are investing millions in locking up the county’s most economically vulnerable, geographically isolated and racially marginalized populations for drug and alcohol-related crimes. These are L.A.’s “Million Dollar Hoods.” Maybe they deserve more.

Additional information on “Million Dollar Hoods” (MDH):

Launched in summer 2016, MDH is an ongoing collaboration between UCLA researchers and local community-based organizations, including Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Dignity and Power Now, JusticeLA and more. Together, we conceptualized the project, acquired the data and mapped it, making a wealth of data broadly available to advocates and activists who are pressing local authorities to divest from police and jails and invest in the community-based services needed to build a more equitable community: namely health, housing, employment, and educational services. To date, the MDH maps and reports have received significant media coverage and are being marshaled by advocates to advance a variety of justice reinvestment campaigns.  Our research on cannabis enforcement shaped the development of the city’s social equity program. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty references our research in his report on the criminalization of homelessness in America. Our report on the money bail system was the first to document how the money bail system amounts to asset stripping in Black and Latino Los Angeles.

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez (History/African American Studies) leads the Million Dollar Hoods project. Her research team is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of UCLA staff and students, including Danielle Dupuy (School of Public Health), Terry Allen (Graduate School of Education), Isaac Bryan (Luskin School of Public Policy), Jamil Cineus (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Marcelo Clarke (African American Studies/Sociology), Chibumkem Ezenekwe, Luz Flores (African American Studies), Oceana Gilliam (Luskin School of Public Policy), Harold Grigsby (African American Studies), Andrew Guerrero (International Development Studies), Sofia Espinoza (Luskin School of Public Policy), Yoh Kawano (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Albert Kochaphum (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Ricardo Patlan (Political Science),  Alvin Teng (Luskin School of Public Policy), Taylore Thomas (African American Studies), and Estefania Zavala (Luskin School of Public Policy).

 

Related post: Million Dollar Hoods Goes to Sacramento