Los Angeles Plaza Summary

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William David Estrada’s nativity to Los Angeles gives him a particularly keen insight into the history of the Plaza and Los Angeles. He has served in various curator positions throughout the city and is currently the Curator of History at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. His work, The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space, provides an in-depth account of the history of the Plaza and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Plaza explores changes in spatial and social dimensions over several centuries and shows how these changed reflect the more encompassing story of the city of Los Angeles. Thematically and chronologically arranged, Estrada begins The Los Angeles Plaza with a detailed history of the Plaza area prior to colonial rule …show more content…

Estrada argues that the melting-pot of cultures brought new meaning and greater cultural vibrancy to the Plaza. People of all cultural backgrounds used the Plaza and surrounding area for commercial and leisure activities. The new cultural offerings connected new immigrants to their distant homelands as a sort of psychological survival. The Plaza offered immigrants a place of interaction beyond their homes and workplaces, and increasingly, was the space for radical free speech and an as a rally place for politics. Additionally, in part because of its central location, throughout World War I the Plaza was known as an important space for revolutionary …show more content…

The transformation of Olvera Street into a colorful tourist site attempted to hide its historical realities. When exiled Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueros was commissioned to paint a mural, expectations were of an exotic jungle scene. However, when the mural was unveiled “all anticipations of an artwork depicting Southern California as an idyllic land of perpetual sunshine, the missions, and the open shop were instantly shattered.” Ameríca Tropical instead depicted the scene of a crucified Indian amid fallen pyramids, armed revolutionaries, and a bald eagle symbolizing Yankee imperialism. Estrada points out that Ameríca Tropical serves to explain how underlying forms of protest can clarify our understanding of the Plaza as an arena for the continued fight over historical narratives. The concealment of the mural a short time later proves how white contemporary Plaza residents attempted to distort the history of the

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