Leimert Park

Community Members in Leimert Park Push to Rename the Area to Africa Town

What was once a place for only white people has become a community for Black people to be themselves and celebrate their culture.

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Leading up to this year's Juneteenth celebration, some community members in Leimert Part want to rename the area "Africa Town" to reflect what it has become.

Leimert Park was the first planned community in Los Angeles, established in 1927, but on the basis that only white families could move in.

By 1948, laws changed, and Leimert Park quickly grew into what it is today: fundamentally, unequivocally and unapologetically Black.

Kevin Wharton Price from the Africa Town Coalition remembers growing up in Leimert Park in the 1960s and the changes he witnessed as an adult.

"Black folks had been discriminated against for quite some time," Price said. "The 80s was a time to reshape our identity and find out who we were, and this community was very pivotal in that."

Billion Godsun with the Africa Town Coalition said the name Africa Town has floated around for decades.

"If you're looking for Chinese culture, you go to Chinatown. If you're looking for Korean culture, you go to Koreatown," Godsun said. "Now, we want to officially have an area recognized and designated for our contributions."

Vendors at a weekend street market in Leimart Park have been trying to increase support for the idea.

"It's a place where we can be in our full Blackness and understand that we are absolutely here to circulate our Black dollars," said business owner Tahida Gibson.

And guests keep finding themselves coming back.

"Here, I can be free, not judged upon or looked at because of my big lips and curly hair," said Corrie Decosta with the Africa Town Coalition.

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