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As Norman Klein once observed, Los Angeles has a history of forgetting its places. Landmark status and historic designation has traditionally been one of the few ways to protect significant sites from demolition and redevelopment, but it has long been focused on architectural significance, and can be a costly, time-intensive, and restrictive process to pursue. It also is an inherently inequitable process, as evidenced by the fact that only 3% of landmarks in the City of LA are linked to Black history. In this panel, we delve into the historical significance of sites linked to Santa Monica’s Black history identified in Maj Hasager’s concurrent exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center entitled Three Structures Touching that emerged from her work with the Black history archive at the Quinn Research Center. We discuss landmarks and the inequities embedded in the process of designating them, imagine how these systems may shift, and explore alternative modes of remembering the histories of our neighborhood.
With writer and researcher Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, landmarks expert Ruthann Lehrer of the Santa Monica Conservancy, artist Maj Hasager, and the directors of the Quinn Research Center, Carolyne and Bill Edwards. Moderated by 18th Street Arts Center’s Deputy Director Sue Bell Yank.
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