Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Beautiful and Beloved Black Sisters!
Today as I was traversing through my beautiful city of Angels, I decided to go to one of the Masjids and cannibalize a branch of their fig tree so that I can grow my own.
Well, on the way there, there was a car accident right where I needed to get the bus, so I decided to just walk the few blocks to the Masjid.
This particular Masjid happens to be the one where the Nation of Islam used to have our Temple before Our Beloved Messenger’s (PBUH) hypocrite son, Wallace destroyed everything his father built before he died. It is located on Central Avenue, the Historic Black Neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was lovingly referred to as “Little Harlem” by the denizens who enjoyed the sounds of live jazz and mingling with famous Hollywood celebrities.
It was interesting reading about some of the treasures buried in our community that are no more, unfortunately. You would be hard-pressed to find a Black face in that area now. It has been over-run with Mexicans and people from other Latin American countries.
There are sign-posts marking historic sights for those interested.
The most popular landmark is without a doubt, The Dunbar Hotel, which was the nucleus of Black Culture in the City of Angels from the thirties to the fifties. Noted Black scholars such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Ralph Bunche, Thurgood Marshall and James Weldon Johnson were known to have heated discussions concerning the good of our Black Nation. Future Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, used to stop in The Dunbar for coffee and conversation while he was a young L.A.P.D. officer.
But the Dunbar is far more widely known for its array of popular Jazz musicians who would stay and perform at The Dunbar because of the refusal of admittance to the same white hotels where they were often scheduled to perform.
Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, and Nat King Cole were just a few of the many musicians who could be seen at the Dunbar. Even Ray Charles stayed at the Dunbar when he first moved to Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, after integration, Black performers began staying at white hotels and The Dunbar suffered abandonment and disintegration, pun intended.
After decades of indifference, in 2009, it was reopened as an affordable living facility for Seniors and low-income families.
The Dunbar is really the only thing that’s left of that period in Black history. Every year there’s the Central Avenue Jazz Festival to commemorate that bygone era but with regentrification, it seems as if Black People are losing the little hold we have on the little communities we do have.
I wasn’t able to enter the building because I think they don’t like tourists. But although the rooms have been converted into apartments, the Ballroom is in a state of disrepair and being offered for lease.
I shudder to think about the future of our Nation if Allah (God) doesn’t destroy these devils quickly. They are taking an interest into our lives and community and culture that I have never noticed before. They know their time is up, so they are looking for every possible means to destroy us along with them. The best way to learn about a people is to live among them.
They did this 6,000 years ago, after they were made on the Island of Pelan, then went back to “Heaven” (Mecca) where they started making trouble among the righteous. (Read The Making of Devil). We exiled them to the hills and cavesides of Europe then, but now……….
L-R:The Rockettes at Club Alabam near the Dunbar Hotel (The Black Music History of Los Angeles by Tom Reed), Duke Ellington at the Dunbar Hotel, graduation dinner at the Me Mo Club 42nd and Central in 1940 (photo collection of the LAPL), Shriners Parade on Central Ave. c.1951.