Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 209–225 | Cite as

The Ghettoization of Blacks in Los Angeles: The Emergence of Street Gangs

  • Gregory Christopher BrownEmail author
  • James Diego Vigil
  • Eric Robert Taylor


Despite previous research, no one has traced the roots and rise of African–American street gangs in Los Angeles as it relates to the development of racially and ethnically segregated areas. This paper examines the experiences of the early African–American community and explains the cultural phenomenon that led to the formation of African–American gangs. The rapid migration of African–Americans to the city caused their population in Los Angeles to increase, and this threatened the White community. As a result of racial discrimination and racial covenants, many African–Americans became trapped in Watts, which was formerly a White middle-class community of government employees and white-collar workers. This transformed South Central (Watts) into a ghetto of predominantly poor urban Black dwellers with low-paying jobs.


Street gangs African–Americans Ghettoization Los Angeles Discrimination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Christopher Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Diego Vigil
    • 2
  • Eric Robert Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.California State University, FullertonFullertonUSA
  2. 2.School of Social EcologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  3. 3.Department of HistoryUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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