My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965

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University of Chicago Press, May 2, 2002 - History - 412 pages
4 Reviews
In the 1920s, thousands of white migrants settled in the Los Angeles suburb of South Gate. Six miles from downtown and adjacent to Watts, South Gate and its neighboring communities served as L.A.'s Detroit, an industrial belt for mass production of cars, tires, steel, and other durable goods. Blue-collar workers built the suburb literally from the ground up, using sweat equity rather than cash to construct their own homes.

As Becky M. Nicolaides shows in My Blue Heaven, this ethic of self-reliance and homeownership formed the core of South Gate's identity. With post-World War II economic prosperity, the community's emphasis shifted from building homes to protecting them as residents tried to maintain their standard of living against outside threats—including the growing civil rights movement—through grassroots conservative politics based on an ideal of white homeowner rights. As the citizens of South Gate struggled to defend their segregated American Dream of suburban community, they fanned the flames of racial inequality that erupted in the 1965 Watts riots.
  

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Review: My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965

User Review  - Nancy Beck - Goodreads

Um...I'm still reading it. :-) However, so far, it's fascinating. Although I originally got the book to clear up some things about a novel I'm writing (and writing and writing, lol), it does go into ... Read full review

Review: My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965

User Review  - Michael Brickey - Goodreads

This book is set within the Los Angeles city limits and it details how a white working-class "suburb" arose and fought racial integration. Nicolaides is one of the first scholars to challenge the ... Read full review

Contents

Part II Closing Ranks 1940 1965
183
Epilogue
328
Acronyms for Collections and Archives
333
Notes
335
Index
401
Copyright

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Page 4 - Since the city is the product of growth rather than of instantaneous creation, it is to be expected that the influences which it exerts upon the modes of life should not be able to wipe out completely the previously dominant modes of human association.
Page vii - When whipper wills call, And evening is nigh, I hurry to my Blue heaven. A turn to the right, A little white light, Will lead you to my Blue heaven.

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About the author (2002)

Becky M. Nicolaides is an associate professor of history and urban studies and planning at the University of California, San Diego.

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