Black L.A., 1947: Robberies of Merchants Raise Racial Tensions in Little Tokyo/Bronzeville

March 6, 1947, Navioneers
March 6, 1947: North American Aviation had a male choir called the Navioneers that performed at Second AME church at 43rd Street and San Pedro Place.

On the editorial page, the Sentinel seeks to defuse racial tensions in Little Tokyo (or Bronzeville) over robberies by a black “gang of thugs” preying on Japanese American merchants. The Sentinel says that the holdup gang is robbing Asians because “they are the people who happen to have the money the gangsters want and it is only an accident that the victims are Japanese. The holdups would rob a Negro or any other person as quickly.”

… “there is no reason for hostility between Japanese and Negroes. Both groups are victims of plenty of other discriminations without trying to figure out ways and means of fighting each other.”

Historical note: During the evacuation of Japanese Americans in World War II, African Americans moved into Little Tokyo, which was renamed Bronzeville.

In an op-ed piece, Roy Wilkins urges black readers to support the United Jewish Appeal. Wilkins said blacks should study the fundraising campaign “in relation to their own problems and try to learn how to meet great needs of their own group by cooperative and self-sacrificing action.”

“Inevitably one makes comparisons between this Jewish campaign and the efforts Negro Americans make for their own group advancement. Naturally, although we are 13 millions in number, we are not nearly as wealthy as the Jewish population. But even so, we do a miserable job in assuming our obligations according to our means. Our poor people sometimes do better than our upper classes.

“Our people who drive $4,000 cars, drink $9-a-bottle liquor, give their wives $2,500 fur coats, wear $150 suits and overcoats, live in luxurious homes and think nothing of $1,000 vacation trips usually (not always) give Negro causes $5, $10 or $25 and feel they have done more than their duty. A man who makes $50 a week will give a Negro cause $1 a year and feel satisfied.”

March 3, 1947, Los Angeles Sentinel


March 6, 1947, L.A. Sentinel March 6, 1947, Roy Wilkins

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, African Americans, Crime and Courts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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