Getty and Los Angeles City Planning announce the Los Angeles African American Historic Places Project, an ambitious project to identify, protect and celebrate African American heritage within LA.

“As the largest planning department in the United States, City Planning is uniquely positioned to chart a course for a more fair, equitable, and just Los Angeles for future generations, in part, through cultural heritage and education,”

Vince Bertoni, Director of LA City Planning

Historic preservation can be a powerful force in addressing social justice by empowering local communities to effect positive change.The project will work with local communities and cultural institutions to more fully recognize and understand African American experiences in Los Angeles.

The Office of Historic Resources (OHR) within LA City Planning, which is responsible for the management of the city’s historic resources, will lead the project in this Getty Conservation Institute partnership. This robust community engagement program will create space for meaningful input and local partnerships, drawing upon community-based knowledge of lesser-known histories.

“We are excited to highlight this broader range of values and history that better represents our diverse city.”

Vince Bertoni, Director of LA City Planning

Before embarking on this project, Getty and LA City Planning convened a virtual roundtable composed of national and local thought leaders with experience in urban planning, historic preservation, African American history, and/or grassroots and community organizing. These discussions of diversity and inclusion in preservation policy helped shape the initiative to preserve and conserve places of importance to Black communities.

“Historic preservation is about the acknowledgment and elevation of places and stories. The point of this work is to make sure that the stories and places of African Americans in Los Angeles are more present and complete than previously,” says Tim Whalen, John E. and Louise Bryson Director at the Getty Conservation Institute. “The work is also about making sure that preservation methods are examined for systemic bias. It’s ultimately about equity.”

LA City Planning and the Getty have worked together for nearly two decades on local heritage projects. Their joint efforts include SurveyLA, and HistoricPlacesLA.  In 2018 OHR completed a framework for identifying African American in LA.