The Black Beverly Hills: Inside this Little Known California City
Black History The Black Beverly Hills

The Black Beverly Hills: Inside This Little Known California City

By
December 18, 2023 at 5:07 PM PST
Black History The Black Beverly Hills

The Black Beverly Hills: Inside This Little Known California City

By
December 18, 2023 at 5:07 PM PST

If you live in or have visited California, you might’ve seen or heard of the Black Beverly Hills. Not only is this town an incredible part of Black history, but it also serves as a reminder of that wealth and success can be achieved even in the face of hardship.

The History

In the 1960s, View Park, which is part of The Black Beverly Hills, was home to a majority white demographic. Later, the Supreme Court lifted covenants that kept non-white homeowners from buying properties. And as a result, a growing number of wealthy Black families started to trickle in.

In an interview with ABC 7, local real estate agent Roland Harris describes the challenges Black Americans faced during that time, and how the affluent area points to a history of Black excellence.

“It’s just a really great community,” said Harris. “During the late 60s and early 70s, African Americans, a lot of times people would not sell to them in affluent neighborhoods, even if they could afford it. A lot of successful African Americans chose this neighborhood because it’s a very beautiful neighborhood, and they were allowed access.”

And with the average home valued at approximately $2 million, this wealthy Black neighborhood is certainly a hidden gem worth exploring.

An affluent Black family
Photo credit: Carrita Tanner 

Four Facts About the Black Beverly Hills

It’s not really called ‘The Black Beverly Hills.’

Even though the city is touted as “The Black Beverly Hills,” that is not its real name. Instead, The Black Beverly Hills is made up of a group of prominent Black neighborhoods — Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills and View Park — located in the heart of Los Angeles. Due to the large number of successful Black residents who started putting down roots in the area, the neighborhood became known for its wealth and luxury, hence the nickname.

Famous Black celebs lived there.

Can it really be called The Black Beverly Hills without a few celebrity sightings? The bustling neighborhood was once — and for some celebs, still is — home to a number of Black superstars, including Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Loretta Devine, former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, and more.

But that’s not all, the neighborhood has been featured in several TV shows and movies as well. Fans of Issa Rae’s popular Black series “Insecure” might recognize parts of the neighborhood showcased during the show. And if you’re old enough to remember the hit reality series “Baldwin Hills,” you’ve likely seen parts of the area, too.

Photo credit: Linda H

It’s known for its stunning architecture.

If you’re a sucker for architecture, the Black Beverly Hills is an architectural dream. The majority Black neighborhood houses some of the most beautiful homes and buildings in California. Many of the homes were designed by prominent Black architects such as Paul Williams. Williams was responsible for designing many of Los Angeles’ most famous buildings including Saks Fifth Avenue and LAX Airport.

It houses the oldest regional shopping center in America.

Back in 1947, the L.A. Baldwin Hills district developed The Broadway-Crenshaw Center, a bustling shopping center, and the first open-air retail complex in California following World War II. As more and more affluent Black Americans moved to the area, many set up shop at The Broadway-Crenshaw Center, where they would own and operate Black-owned businesses, complete with a Black Santa Claus during the holiday season!

The 870,000 square foot center also featured a whopping 5-story branch of The Broadway department store, a Woolworth variety store, a TJ Maxx department store, and a Vons supermarket, with only TJ Maxx remaining today.

Since then, the popular center has been converted into an indoor shopping plaza better known as Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. There you can find a diverse selection of affordable and upscale retailers. This includes a Black-owned bookstore, an African-American art museum, and several Black-owned restaurants.




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