Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Settlement patterns of Negroes and Mexican Americans in San Diego

The other side of the freeway

Mayor Edwin Capps: "With proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens."
Mayor Edwin Capps: "With proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens."

Leroy E. Harris, Doctoral Disseration, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1974

Harris studied the housing patterns of African- and Mexican-Americans in San Diego, paying particular attention to the years 1950 to 1970.

Although San Diego has one of the best natural harbors on the West Coast, and although its location links it to Mexico, until World War II the city had far fewer African- and Mexican-Americans than Los Angeles. Steep mountains to the east isolated it, and the early railroads went to Los Angeles, not San Diego. Industry followed the roads and railroads, as did jobs.

Many of the early residents of San Diego, who preferred “geraniums” to “smokestacks,” tried to keep San Diego a place for tourists and retired families. They discouraged industry.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Mayor Edwin Capps, in a report to the Common Council in 1901, urged the “geranium” platform: “...with proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens, each of them spending from $200 to $1000 for the season.”

“With the exception of Long Beach,” Harris wrote, “every major city on the West Coast attracted more manufacturing industries than did San Diego between 1900 and 1940...” And “in 1940, one out of every four workers...was employed by some government agency.”

The rise of the aircraft industry became a magnet for workers. But many companies had “selective” hiring practices. In 1940, the president of Vultee Aircraft announced, “It is not the policy of this company to employ people other than of the Caucasian race.” The Bracero Programs — of 1942-47 and 1951-64 — invited Mexican laborers to work on farms and build railroads, having temporary residence in the U.S. But even with this influx, “by 1970, San Diego contained the lowest proportion of Mexican-Americans of any major city in California except Oakland.”

To follow the housing patterns of blacks in San Diego, Harris looked at census figures and at the movement of African-American churches. In the late 1920s, most had shifted to the Southeast portions of the city. As had “Negro housing,” which “shifted from the downtown and waterfront areas to ‘Southeast San Diego.’ ” It became “confined to the area lying south of Market Street and west of Wabash Boulevard. As the community spread east, Helix Freeway [now Highway 94] became the northern ‘boundary.’ ”

The Mexican-American population became more dispersed. People with Spanish surnames were found in almost every census tract, though the largest concentrations came in the “Southeast” section. By 1970, Harris concluded, “San Diego is less segregated than Eastern cities but more segregated than other California cities.”

In his analysis of how this came about, Harris didn’t favor a single factor.

The automobile, the streetcar, and the motorbus enabled whites to move farther from downtown. They left older houses, in Logan Heights and Golden Hill, for new developments north and east of Balboa Park. Housing became available for blacks in the southeast section of the city.

“White flight” was a cause. “The growing concentration of Negroes in one area...appears to be as much related to the movement of whites out of a neighborhood as to the movement of Negroes into the area.” Whites refused to move into “changing” areas, at the edges of existing “all-Negro neighborhoods.” Some historians said housing cost was a factor. Harris disagreed. “...There are at least as many tracts outside the southeast section which contain equally as inexpensive housing units. If housing cost were the only factor...Negroes’ residence would be dispersed over twice as many tracts.”

Harris cited two other factors that led to segregation: restrictive clauses in real estate deeds and “gate-keeping” covenants among real estate agents.

Harris studied 29 real estate developments. Twenty deeds contained “racial restrictive clauses.” One for City Heights reads, “This property shall not be sold, leased, rented or occupied by any person other than one of the Caucasian race.” All 20 deeds were written between 1910 and 1950.

Real estate brokers, apartment-house owners and managers, builders, developers, and mortgage bankers, Harris argued, functioned as “gate-keepers,” preventing African- and Mexican-Americans from buying or renting in a specific area.

In 1964, the late M. Larry Lawrence headed Realtors for Fair Housing. He told a California Advisory Committee hearing, held in San Diego, that “it is both difficult, and in some cases impossible, for Negroes to buy or rent in certain areas of San Diego. Realtors have an unwritten understanding not to sell to Negroes in certain areas.”

When the Rumford Fair Housing Act became law in 1962, the San Diego Realty Board led a statewide campaign to nullify it. And between 1962 and 1972, “the Fair Employment Practices Commission office in San Diego processed] 170 formal complaint cases arising from the Rumford Act.”

Harris concluded: “Census tract data for 1960 and 1970 indicate that the trend toward segregation of the minority group community from the rest of the city somewhat decreased during the 1960s, although little positive movement toward integration took place.”

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Peter King lives a cell-free life

The art of conversation “has most definitely gone downhill.”
Mayor Edwin Capps: "With proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens."
Mayor Edwin Capps: "With proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens."

Leroy E. Harris, Doctoral Disseration, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1974

Harris studied the housing patterns of African- and Mexican-Americans in San Diego, paying particular attention to the years 1950 to 1970.

Although San Diego has one of the best natural harbors on the West Coast, and although its location links it to Mexico, until World War II the city had far fewer African- and Mexican-Americans than Los Angeles. Steep mountains to the east isolated it, and the early railroads went to Los Angeles, not San Diego. Industry followed the roads and railroads, as did jobs.

Many of the early residents of San Diego, who preferred “geraniums” to “smokestacks,” tried to keep San Diego a place for tourists and retired families. They discouraged industry.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Mayor Edwin Capps, in a report to the Common Council in 1901, urged the “geranium” platform: “...with proper development of attractive resorts...this city would become the winter residence of no less than five or six thousand of these most desirable citizens, each of them spending from $200 to $1000 for the season.”

“With the exception of Long Beach,” Harris wrote, “every major city on the West Coast attracted more manufacturing industries than did San Diego between 1900 and 1940...” And “in 1940, one out of every four workers...was employed by some government agency.”

The rise of the aircraft industry became a magnet for workers. But many companies had “selective” hiring practices. In 1940, the president of Vultee Aircraft announced, “It is not the policy of this company to employ people other than of the Caucasian race.” The Bracero Programs — of 1942-47 and 1951-64 — invited Mexican laborers to work on farms and build railroads, having temporary residence in the U.S. But even with this influx, “by 1970, San Diego contained the lowest proportion of Mexican-Americans of any major city in California except Oakland.”

To follow the housing patterns of blacks in San Diego, Harris looked at census figures and at the movement of African-American churches. In the late 1920s, most had shifted to the Southeast portions of the city. As had “Negro housing,” which “shifted from the downtown and waterfront areas to ‘Southeast San Diego.’ ” It became “confined to the area lying south of Market Street and west of Wabash Boulevard. As the community spread east, Helix Freeway [now Highway 94] became the northern ‘boundary.’ ”

The Mexican-American population became more dispersed. People with Spanish surnames were found in almost every census tract, though the largest concentrations came in the “Southeast” section. By 1970, Harris concluded, “San Diego is less segregated than Eastern cities but more segregated than other California cities.”

In his analysis of how this came about, Harris didn’t favor a single factor.

The automobile, the streetcar, and the motorbus enabled whites to move farther from downtown. They left older houses, in Logan Heights and Golden Hill, for new developments north and east of Balboa Park. Housing became available for blacks in the southeast section of the city.

“White flight” was a cause. “The growing concentration of Negroes in one area...appears to be as much related to the movement of whites out of a neighborhood as to the movement of Negroes into the area.” Whites refused to move into “changing” areas, at the edges of existing “all-Negro neighborhoods.” Some historians said housing cost was a factor. Harris disagreed. “...There are at least as many tracts outside the southeast section which contain equally as inexpensive housing units. If housing cost were the only factor...Negroes’ residence would be dispersed over twice as many tracts.”

Harris cited two other factors that led to segregation: restrictive clauses in real estate deeds and “gate-keeping” covenants among real estate agents.

Harris studied 29 real estate developments. Twenty deeds contained “racial restrictive clauses.” One for City Heights reads, “This property shall not be sold, leased, rented or occupied by any person other than one of the Caucasian race.” All 20 deeds were written between 1910 and 1950.

Real estate brokers, apartment-house owners and managers, builders, developers, and mortgage bankers, Harris argued, functioned as “gate-keepers,” preventing African- and Mexican-Americans from buying or renting in a specific area.

In 1964, the late M. Larry Lawrence headed Realtors for Fair Housing. He told a California Advisory Committee hearing, held in San Diego, that “it is both difficult, and in some cases impossible, for Negroes to buy or rent in certain areas of San Diego. Realtors have an unwritten understanding not to sell to Negroes in certain areas.”

When the Rumford Fair Housing Act became law in 1962, the San Diego Realty Board led a statewide campaign to nullify it. And between 1962 and 1972, “the Fair Employment Practices Commission office in San Diego processed] 170 formal complaint cases arising from the Rumford Act.”

Harris concluded: “Census tract data for 1960 and 1970 indicate that the trend toward segregation of the minority group community from the rest of the city somewhat decreased during the 1960s, although little positive movement toward integration took place.”

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Tijuana's Agua Caliente gets the Fountain of the Faun restored

Play It Again, Pan
Next Article

Peter King lives a cell-free life

The art of conversation “has most definitely gone downhill.”
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.