This is a glossary for the "The Real Ladies of LA: Women of Strength & Integrity," a poem written in 2012.

For more resources on women in Los Angeles history, please visit the Studio for Southern California History's timeline "LA Women: A Record of Experience," completed in 2007. This timeline includes even more LA women, like the La Brea woman--whose remains were discovered in La Brea Tar Pits and is estimated to live 7,000 years ago.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



Margaret Q. Adams

From Badge History: Margaret Queen Adams was born July 26, 1874, in Dover Kentucky. She came to Los Angeles with her father in about 1880 and lived much of her girlhood in the family home at 2nd and San Pedro Sts. Margaret's maiden name was Phillips and she became a deputy sheriff through her brother-in-law, who had married Margaret's sister Lillian Mary Phillips. Margaret had become separated from her husband Elmer Adams and she needed to work to support her two children. Margaret was sworn in Feb. 16, 1912 and served in the departments Civil Division for 35 years and retired when she was 72. In her later years of service she had been issued a 6-pointed star which she was wearing when she was buried.


Traci Akemi Kato-kiriyama
Traci Kato-Kiriyama is an interdisciplinary artist, arts producer, and community organizer. She is the founder of the Tuesday Night Cafe Project, a multi-disciplinary, free-to-the-public performance space that gathers local Los Angeles artists and the Aslan Pacific Islander community in the downtown and Little Tokyo regions of the city. In the midst of finishing the third act of Chasing Dad, a performance about a reading of a play she's writing, Kato-Kiriyama looks forward to taking the piece to its next stage after a successful presentation last summer at the John Anson Ford's INSIDE the Ford. Her dedication to the community that centers around her work with youth in projects that include Eskuwela Kultura, the Khmer Girls in Action, and the Hmong community stories project with Nobuko Miyamoto at the University of Wisconsin.

Gloria Allred



Gloria Allred is a Los Angeles based lawyer who uses the power of the media to fight for her clients. She has consistently fought for issues related to gender equality as well as protection for battered women and victims of domestic violence. On June 22, 1986 she and the Rev. Gina Chapman held a prayer vigil in front of the Ambassador Hotel where they prayed for the Supreme Court Justices to respond against the Baptist group praying inside. Photograph dated June 22, 1986. She is a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. She has been practicing law for approximately 32 years. The firm is well-known for their work on behalf of victims in civil rights, rape, child sexual abuse and murder cases.


Cindy Alvitre

Cindy Alvitre teaches Native American Studies at California State University Long Beach. She helped found the Ti'at Society in the 1980's. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department of World Arts and Cultures. She has been a cultural/environmental educator and activist for nearly three decades and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Master of Arts in History/Museology. She was the first woman chair of the Gabrieleno-Tongva Tribal Council. Ms. Alvitre has represented her community domestically and internationally in a number of different venues including opening for Nobel Laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum, and His Hoiliness the Dalai Lama. She continues to dedicate her life to the preservation and protection of indigenous cultures.


Ethel Percy Andrus

Ethel Percy Andrus created America's largest political party by first creating a credit union for teachers-- like herself. 1917 Ethel Andrus Percy becomes the first woman high school principal in California at Lincoln High School in Los Angeles. Percy would go on to organize and found the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in 1958. After her family returned to California, Andrus taught in Los Angeles at Santa Paula High School and Manual Arts High School. In 1916, she moved to East Los Angeles High School and soon was appointed principal — making her, at age 32, California’s first female high school principal. She changed the name of the school to Abraham Lincoln High School, hoping to inspire its large (2,500) and ethnically diverse student body. She set high academic standards and established innovative community-involvement programs that developed the students’ character and skills while breaking down cultural barriers between them. She also offered night-school programs for parents, and continued her own education, culminating in a PhD from the University of Southern California.


Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple is a singer from Los Angeles whose 1996 debut album Tidal brought immediate acclaim." It all just proves that you can grow up and be a happier person and make good things," she says. "You don't have to suffer for it all the time. It's not like my inner basket case is absent, it's just that I've lived with it long enough that I can manage it now. "I've had a surprisingly Zen feeling about this whole thing."


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Judy Baca

Judy Baca is a muralist and the founder of the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into a community arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) which was has been creating sites of public memory since 1976. She continues to serve as its artistic director.  


Arcadia Bandini

Arcadia Bandini was born in 1825 in San Diego, California, the eldest of three daughters of Juan Bandini and Marie de los Dolores Estudio. She and her sisters were considered the most beautiful women of California. According to tradition, the first United States flag flown over the plaza in Old Town San Diego on July 29, 1846, was made by Arcadia and her two sisters out of red and blue flannel dresses and a white crib sheet. At age 14 Bandini married the wealthy 43-year-old Abel Stearns. He died in 1871. In 1874 she married Colonel Robert S. Baker (1826–1894), owner of Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, and they settled in Santa Monica. Baker died in 1894 and Arcadia was again widowed until her death in 1912. www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/78summer/women3.htm


The Bangles

According to Rolling Stone: "The Bangles wanted to be an all-girl Beatles from California: four pop stars who played competently, wrote good songs, and had distinct personalities. The group formed when a "band members wanted" ad in an L.A. newspaper led Hoffs to the Peterson sisters. The group first called themselves the Colours, followed by the Supersonic Bangs, which they shortened to the Bangs. When a group with prior claim to that moniker showed up, they became the Bangles. Early on, the group was heralded as part of L.A.'s "paisley underground," a constellation of folky psychedelic bands that included the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate."


Lois Banner

Lois Banner is an American feminist author. She received her PhD at Columbia University. She is the author of the textbook Women in Modern America: A Brief History, which is commonly used in introductory Women's Studies college classes. Her newest work, Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle, narrates in an exploratory style the secrets of the lives of these two intellectual anthropologists. "Beginning with a focus on religion in the early republic, my work has broadened to be located in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries more generally and has come to rest in the history of gender, sexuality, and culture, in line with what has been at the intellectual and methodological forefront of the fields of women's history and women's studies."


Florence Lowe Barnes

Florence Lowe Barnes, also known as "Pancho." Barnes is a famed local pilot, adventurer & stunt woman. She established a dude ranch known as the Happy Bottom Riding Club that catered to airmen. She is known as the "Mother of Edwards Air Force Base."


Charlotta Bass

Charlotta Bass attacked racism in different ways using the newspaper The California Eagle, which she took over in 1912. Bass promoted boycotts of places known for discriminatory hiring practices through her 1930-31 “Don't Shop Where You Can’t Work” campaign. Bass attacked racism on all fronts by calling attention to police brutality against African Americans and condemning the derogatory portrayals of African Americans by Hollywood. Most importantly, Bass pushed for reform. In 1952 Bass ran unsuccessfully as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, the first African American woman to earn this distinction.


Nancy Bautista

Nancy Bautista is a Bell resident who received her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles and is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern California. She is a Mujer Maravilla. Meow.

Peggy Bernal

Peggy Bernal is a bibliophile and gardener whose work at Sunset Magazine and the Huntington Library's press represents organic elegance and style. She is currently assisting in archiving ephemera for the Los Angeles County Arboretum.


Victoria Bernal

Victoria Bernal is a photographer whose work on Los Angeles provides whimsical and beautiful glimpses into a place she loves dearly--her work reveals this love and care.

Bernal Victoria

Karen Boccalero

Karen Boccalero was raised in Globe, Arizona and later in Boyle Heights, Karen Boccalero eventually entered a convent in the Franciscan order. In 1972 Boccalero founded Self-Help Graphics in East Los Angeles in the garage behind the sisters’ residence, intending Self-Help Graphics to be a “silkscreen print poster collective.” Her participatory model of art allowed Self-Help Graphics to develop into a central place to share and practice Chicano art. Much of the art created under Boccalero’s tutelage is archived at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Today, Self-Help Graphics continues as a nationally recognized center for Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists in printmaking.


Lauren Bon

Lauren Bon is an artist, who works with her group of collaborators known as the Metabolic Studio, creates inspiring and living art from her art studio Farmlab under the Spring Street Bridge and across Southern California. Bon is also an Annenberg Foundation trustee with clear visions of the role of philanthropy and art. One example of her many installations is Strawberry Flag. Bon installed Strawberry Flag -- a revisionist vision of the American flag as a self-sustaining system. Raised at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital in July 2009, Strawberry Flag is an artwork in the form of a veterans' program that nurtures reclaimed strawberry plants with an experimental aquaponic system using salvaged water and fish. Veterans tended the flag, measured its growth and worked to create a garden system that enabled them to work and to be affiliated with a shared project in which each person’s success was the success of all. This project went beyond the sculpture and included events connecting the public with the VA, in so doing, highlighting several issues and abuses on the campus.


Margaret Burke

Margaret Tante Burk directed press relations for the Ambassador from 1969 until its official closing in 1989. Throughout her twenty year career there, she coordinated hundreds of public and private events in the hotel's twenty ballrooms. From international diplomatic meetings to local book clubs, from exclusive Hollywood parties to senior beauty pageants, she was the face of the Ambassador, and liaison between the public and the many social, political, and cultural luminaries who passed through the hotel in its final decades.


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Concetta Capacchione

Concetta Distaso Capacchione was born in what was then known as the "Little Italy" section of Los Angeles on New Depot Street (currently Chinatown). She was born to parents from Bari, Italy. Due to the premature death of her father, one of the community's first's barbers, Connie and her mother were seamstresses and known for their work on wedding dresses.


Lucia Capacchione

Lucia Capacchione is a psychologist and trained artist who bridged the two worlds as a pioneer in art therapy. Capacchione is a best selling author of 13 self-help books and leads international workshops to aid individuals in self-actualization. In 1991 Capacchione made “inner child” a household term with the publication Recovery of Your Inner Child. Her teachings have inspired individuals across the globe; most recently in the 2006 Iranian film Cease Fire which begins with a dedication to Capacchione. Before her career as an art therapist, Capacchione introduced Montessori educational methods to Los Angeles and headed one of the first Head Start Chapters in Los Angeles County. Capacchione continues to practice in Cambria, California.


Marne Carmean

Marne Carmean is a poetess from West Hollywood. She is the author of The Rape and Recovery of Emily Dickinson, In Her Words, Poems of Witness and Worth. About this book, Carmean writes: "My book in 1991 began with what had been unrecognized by me which was clearly, Emily Dickinson wrote about the pain and trauma of her childhood in the poem, (612) "It would have starved a Gnat - " in which a child suffers an inescapable lack of nurturance. The poet nearly setting in stone the kind of experience which rendered her vulnerable for a lifetime to further abuse by a predatory father and the accompanying life long shame and isolation. (Much to her young niece Martha's great bewilderment she could and would not come downstairs to her father's funeral conducted at the "Old Homestead".) Just as Emily Dickinson sought protection from this potential of pain, in merriment, solitude, and her solicitous poetry, she simultaneously braved, forging poems produced from it. The chapter Retrenchment and Recovery, XXXVIII, includes these poems containing difficult recollections of her earliest circumstances having an anxiously obsessive mother and a rigid, fixated father." http://www.marnecarmean.com/


Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut but spent much of her youth in Downey, California. Honing her musical talents early on, Karen and her older brother, Richard, played various instruments as teens. They later attended California State University, Long Beach, where they studied music. The Carpenters came out with their soft, romantic sound at a time when psychedelic groups were popular and even won Battle of the Bands at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966. The brother-sister duo topped the charts with dozens of Top 20 hits and memorable tunes such as “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Superstar” and “Rainy Days”. When a writer described Karen’s style as “youth with wisdom” and “chilling perfection with much warmth” she replied, “I’m not that complicated, I’m just a real easygoing singer. I don’t push.” Her effortless style translated into her lyrics as well as her relationships as many described her as sweet, innocent, and enthusiastic. She suffered from anorexia-nervosa during the last two years of her life, which led to her premature death.


Aurora Castillo

Aurora Castillo, the great-great-granddaughter of Augustine Pedro Olvera, for whom Olvera Street is named, spent most of her career as a secretary for Douglas Aircraft. However, in 1984 at the age of 83, Castillo became an environmental activist and started the Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA), a community organization to protect East Los Angeles from environmental and public health threats. MELA successfully stopped a prison from being built in East Los Angeles and halted the building of an incinerator and hazardous waste treatment plant, citing probable environmental threats. In 1995 she became the first Los Angeles resident to win the $75,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, “the Nobel Prize for environmentalists.” Castillo told the Los Angeles Times in 1995: "People figure us to be an uneducated, low economic Democratic community. We may not have a PhD after our names, but we have common sense and logic, and we are not a dumping ground. We're not the sleeping giant people think we are. We're wide awake, and no way will anything be put over on us."


Exene Cervenka

Exene Cervenka was born as Christene Cervenka and raised in Chicago and Florida, Cervenka moved to Los Angeles in 1976. In 1977 she met musician John Doe at a poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California, and founded X. They released their debut album, Los Angeles, in 1980 and, over the next six years, five more critically acclaimed albums. As of late 2011 she has continued her career with X as well as in solo performances and participation in bands such as The Knitters, Auntie Christ and The Original Sinners.


Buff Chandler

Buff Chandler worked at the Times or its parent, the Times Mirror Company, from 1948 to 1976. She was a director of Times Mirror from 1955 until 1973, when she was named director emeritus. She initiated the Times Woman of the Year award, which was given to 243 women from 1950 through 1976. In 1950, a financial crisis closed the Hollywood Bowl during its summer season, so she organized what later became known as the Southern California Symphony Association. From this early success, she started a longer effort to build a performing arts center for Los Angeles. In 1955 she raised $400,000 at a benefit concert at the Ambassador Hotel featuring Dinah Shore, Danny Kaye and Jack Benny, which began a crusade that raised some $20 million of the estimated $35 million total cost; the remainder was paid through private bond sales. She was featured on the cover of the December 18, 1964, issue of Time magazine, which praised her fundraising efforts as "perhaps the most impressive display of virtuoso money-raising and civic citizenship in the history of US womanhood." The complex was completed in 1967, consisting of three venues: the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, named in honor of Dorothy Buffum Chandler, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre.


Julia Child

Julia Child was an American chef and author who is is recognized for introducing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963. Child was born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, California.


Margarita Mita Cuarón

Margarita Mita Cuaron was born in East Los Angeles to a Mexican American father and a Jewish mother, who raised her daughter to be socially active and involved in justice movements. Both parents were active in social and union protest activities and taught her and her siblings about their commitments. It was Cuarón’s aunt, “the matriarch of the family” and a devout Catholic, who insisted on her Catholic education. But the young Cuarón was unable to reconcile the teachings of the church with the lessons she was learning at home, finding more spiritual solace in her aunt’s collection of sacred statues and icons. Ultimately she rejected formal religious training. Cuarón was educated at Riverside City College and at California State University, Long Beach, where she studied to become a nurse. As an artist she was largely self-taught but refined her skills with further study at Self-Help Graphics. In Cuarón’s eyes, the Virgin became an inspirational force apart from the traditional teachings associated with her: “I was delighted to learn that she was, like me, a Mexican.” She later told a journalist: “I view the Virgin of Guadalupe as a very strong, very empowering and spiritual figure in my life. I find her to be a great inspiration.”


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Harriett Danzenbaker

Harriett Danzenbaker, AKA the Wise Woman of Watts, was known for giving out advice to the fledgling community in the early 1910s. She lived on Rose Avenue and some of her advice included drinking as much alcohol as one wants and to avoid Prohibition. To explore her advice in more detail, visit the Studio for Southern California History's timeline on Watts, created for the Watts Gang Task Force.

Angustias de la Guerra

Angustias de la Guerra was a born in San Diego in 1815, the daughter of Jose de la Guerra y Noriega, a Captain in the Spanish military. De la Guerra was in Los Angeles during the 1847 Californio revolt against the American takeover of the city. A law-abiding woman, de la Guerra was moved to harbor a Californio soldier. In an interview in 1878 she stated: “I was so angry with the Americans for mistreating my brothers and keeping them imprisoned for no rhyme or reason.” De la Guerra found the soldier, Chavez, and had him come to her home to hide. Shortly after arriving, they heard a knock on the door. De la Guerra recounted that her servant Silva assisted: “I then told my servants that Chavez was hidden in my room because the Americans wanted to kill him. Silva’s wife went to get him out of the room. In the meantime, the Indian girls took out the blankets that had been used to fill the opening in my bed. We put Chavez inside that opening, with his face toward the wall so he could breathe easily. And since he was so very thin, the empty space around him was filled with blankets so that it would all look even. We placed my baby, Carolina, on top of the Bed. Silva’s wife laid down with me on the bed….Silva opened the door and said that he was not the owner of the home and that the lady of the house had retired to her bed. Lieutenant Baldwin said that it did not matter to him. They searched all the rooms and left a soldier on guard in each one….The lieutenant and his people finally came into my bedroom without uttering a single word. Baldwin had a pistol in one hand and a candle in the other. He searched underneath my bed and did not find a thing. Then he came close to where I was and put the candle and the pistol to my face. He told me that he had come looking for a man that was said to be hiding in my home. I asked him if he had found him and he said no. I told him that I was very pleased because I never had planned on lying to them. The he said he was rather tired and was very sorry that he had come and bothered me. He figured that I was probably somewhat scared and he wanted to grab a chair and sit down. I replied that nothing frightened me and he could go and rest in his own home, because only my family and friends were allowed to rest in my room. He said good night, but we did not respond in kind…That search and military occupation of my home lasted from ten o’clock at night until about two or three o’clock in the morning. Chavez then came out from his hiding place and Silva’s wife treated his injured foot. He told me, ‘Señora, I am alive today because of you.’ To which I replied, ‘What I did for you today, I would do for an American tomorrow.'" Excerpted from Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815 -1848 edited by Beebe and Sekewicz.

Beatrice De Gea

Beatrice De Gea is a photographer who was born in France and moved to Los Angeles. She studied at El Camino College in order to pursue her goal of becoming a photographer. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. She is currently a freelance photographer whose work provides rare glimpses into absurd and beautiful humanity. www.beadegea.com


Rebecca Lee Dorsey

Rebecca Lee Dorsey came to Los Angeles in 1886 after receiving her medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Dr. Dorsey studied under Louis Pasteur and was familiar with the new concept of vaccinations. This knowledge was useful in 1895 when the city faced a diphtheria epidemic. Dorsey was quick to stem the epidemic by vaccination. She worked in the field of obstetrics and the Los Angeles Times reported upon her death in 1954 that she had delivered over 4,000 babies with not one fatality. Among the children she helped to bring into the world were Earl Warren—California’s attorney general, governor, and later Supreme Court Justice. U.S. Senator Conness of California sponsored Dorsey’s postgraduate work in Europe where she helped Pasteur conduct the first inoculation against rabies in 1885. Dorsey is considered a pioneer in the field of endocrinology and the study of hormones. She came to Los Angeles to practice medicine on the counsel from Senator Conness that it would accept a woman doctor interested in endocrinology. This was not true. In an interview one month prior to her death Dorsey recalled: “For 40 years I had to do my endocrinological work in secret. Madness was still taken to be the work of God and anybody who said he could do anything to prevent it or overcome it in children would have been run out of town. They did not know that much of such trouble originates in lack of hormones in the placenta. Everybody talks about hormones these days—ACTH, cortisone, and adrenalin. But nobody knew about them.” Despite Dorsey’s secrecy with her endocrinology work, she was known for voicing her medical judgment, often against public opinion. In 1897 when Dr. Calvin Hastings was tried for performing an abortion on Lillian Hattery, who died later, Dorsey testified at the trial that the abortion was justified for women with heart disease or those who could not stand the experience of childbirth, as in the case of the victim. Dorsey eventually opened up her own practice, which specialized in endocrinology. For many, she symbolized the transition from one way of doing medicine to another, often refusing to leave good traditions behind in favor of new, untested ones.

Helen Gahagan Douglas

Helen Gahagan Douglas was an accomplished actor, singer, and public servant. Helen Douglas excelled on Broadway and in the United States Congress. After touring Europe as an opera star and actress, Douglas became politicized witnessing the rise of fascism. She returned to California and immersed herself in local causes, becoming a self-described New Deal Democrat and working for the Farm Securities Administration. In 1944, 1946, and 1948, she was elected as a U.S. congressional representative from California's fourteenth district, which encompassed parts of downtown and South Central Los Angeles. In 1950 as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Helen Gahagan Douglas made history in her run for U.S. Senate as the first woman from California to win the endorsement of a major political party, in this case the Democrats. Douglas campaigned against Richard M. Nixon whose attempts to portray Douglas and her husband as Communist sympathizers have been described by historians as “the worst example of ‘red smear’ tactics in the twentieth century.” Among other things, Nixon described Douglas as “being pink right down to her underwear.” After this campaign, Douglas refrained from running again ran for public office, choosing to fight for liberal causes in other ways.


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Jennifer Escobar

Jennifer Escobar is a teacher whose consistent care towards her Clairmont students is an example many should follow. Not only does Escobar have a natural affinity to teach, she carefully integrates place based histories into her curricula so that her students will understand where they live.

Ofelia Esparza

Ofelia Esparza is a renowned artist and altar maker born and raised where she still resides, East Los Angeles. In 1945 she attended Belvedere Middle School, where she invited her future husband to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. On her 11th birthday, Ofelia witnessed discrimination against Mexicans at the Los Angeles Theater. While waiting in line to watch the movie Me and My Gal with her brother, a theater worker approached a couple standing in front of them and asked them to leave. The girlfriend was outraged that her boyfriend, a soldier in full uniform, was not allowed to enter the show. The worker asserted that management simply wanted to avoid “trouble like the Zoot Suit Riots,” but Ofelia’s brother was so upset that he immediately intervened and asked Ofelia to leave with him. Ofelia served as an educator until 1999, when she retired from City Terrace Elementary School. Before receiving her teaching credential from CSULA in 1975, Ofelia was recruited to become a teaching aid for Spanish-speaking students, although a couple of teachers at her school questioned bilingual education. At one of the faculty and staff meetings, a teacher expressed confusion with the bilingual education initiative because she believed “democracy means the majority” and “why should classes be taught in Spanish when most of the country speaks English?” Ofelia quickly responded, stating that “the essence of a democracy is that you do not accommodate the majority, you integrate the minority for everyone to have equal opportunity.” Surprised by her own strength, Ofelia was determined to go back to school and earn her teaching credential. Under a 1969 Title VII government grant, Ofelia joined the College Opportunity Program (COP), which required a teaching aid position and full time student status. COP provided special Spanish-language teacher training from the University of Texas, Austin. Soon after, in 1972, she transferred from East Los Angeles College to CSULA, where she graduated and earned her teaching credential. Ofelia taught from 1975 to 1999, when she retired; the 1998 crackdown on bilingual education persuaded her to stop working. Although she no longer teaches at a school, Ofelia volunteers at Self-Help Graphics, where she began working with Sister Karen in 1980. Ofelia recognizes the importance of art in education and continues making, and teaching others how to make, beautiful Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead altars. Ofelia has experienced great change over time and smiles when reminiscing about a time when only two art coordinators existed for the entire Los Angeles School District.


Phyllis Esslinger

Phyllis Esslinger is the President of the Western Conservancy of Nursing History and a trained Registered Nurse. She directed UCLA's Nursing Department and was a pioneer in Nursing Education--she assisted in building different nursing departments at different universities and hospitals in California and in the former Soviet Union. She currently works for Azusa Pacific University. Esslinger is presently a professor emeritus for the School of Nursing. As the director of Recruitment, Esslinger is actively involved with not only students but other faculty and staff at Azusa Pacific University (APU). She has formerly taught courses such as Nursing Research, Theory and Practice in Nursing as well as Clinical Specialization in Parent-Child Nursing, and Comprehensive Examination Directed Study. Esslinger has previously spoken on campus at APU's Common Day of Learning having also spoken in chapel to all APU students. She is an alumni of the University of California as well as Huntington Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.


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Ella Fitzgerald

From the Ella Fitgerald website: "Dubbed "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella.) She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common - they all loved her."


Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores, a first generation Mexican-American, has been a pioneer in the “East Los” alternative scene since her teens and was named by Newsweek as one of “20 young Latinos to watch in the new millennium.” A woman of many facets Flores is a singer songwriter, activist, actress, producer and started her own recorded label in 1998. Refusing to be categorized by society's stifling labels, she moves easily through musical genres and art forms with a unique style.


Clara Shortridge Foltz

Clara Shortridge Foltz is the first woman to pass the California Bar exam. She later is Los Angeles’ first female Deputy District Attorney in 1911. Foltz uses her authority as Deputy District Attorney to lead the fight to obtain the right for women to vote in California elections. While the measure loses in the northern part of the state, Foltz and her political team carry the day in Southern California, where the measure wins by a margin of 3,587 votes. Folz also helps to develop California’s parole system.


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Evonne Gallardo

Evonne Gallardo has worked in the arts and culture field for over 18 years in both New York and Los Angeles. Currently, she leads Self Help Graphics & Art as its Executive Director where she is responsible for the day-to-day management of operations and execution of long-term artistic vision to ensure the organization fulfills its mission.


Kathy Gallegos

Kathy Gallegos is the founder of Avenue 50 Studio in Cypress Park is a multicultural alternative art space, with an emphasis on chicano / latino art. 


Gabrielle Garcia

Gabrielle Garcia is a Lincoln Heights writer whose work has appeared for KCET/Departures.


Ann Gillen

Ann Gillen is one of the Daughters of Charity who make Los Angeles' first hospital and orphanage in 1850. She is a nun who manages the day to day operations of the first hospital and received her medical training in Baltimore in 1849. She nursed patients without families to take care of them and receives support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to create the Los Angeles Infirmary in 1858. Ann Street off of Alameda is named after her.

Sherna Berger Gluck

Sherna Berger Gluck became a Los Angeles feminist activist in the early 1970s, following almost two decades of radical activism. Her activities revolved mainly around the Westside Women's Center and included participation in teaching self-help and self-examination, counseling and referrals on rape and abortion, consciousness raising groups, an anarcha-feminist group and the founding of the Feminist History Research Project. Gluck was raised in Chicago and lived there until the age of fifteen, when she left home to attend the University of Chicago Program at Shimer College. After moving to California in 1953, she went to UC, Berkeley, where she was a student activist. She remained active while she was in graduate school at UCLA. Later, in 1968, while she was working as a research sociologist, Gluck was heavily involved in anti-war activism, especially with the Resistance, which did draft counseling and resistance. In 1971, Gluck became active in the women's liberation movement and was one of the founding members of the Westside Women's Center. Among her activities at the Center was the formation of a feminist research group, out of which the Feminist History Research Project and her work in oral history evolved. Her first book, From Parlor to Prison (1976) came out of this early work. Gluck taught women's oral history courses at UCLA for a few quarters in 1974 and continued her feminist oral history project as an independent researcher until joining the women's studies program at CSULB in 1977 and becoming the director of the Oral History Resource Center. Her book, Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Women, the War and Social Change (1987) grew out of a research project at the center. Later, with Daphne Patai, she co-edited Women's Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History (1991). Gluck retired from women's studies in 2000, but continued to direct the Oral History Program in the Department of History until her retirement in June, 2005. Following repeated trips to Occupied Palestine, during which she interviewed women activists, Gluck published An American Feminist in Palestine: The Intifada Years.


Jackie Goldberg

Jackie Goldberg is also known as as “Hurricane Jackie.” Goldberg has been a pioneer in civil rights issues since the 1960s when she participated in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement as a student. After teaching in Compton high schools for eighteen years, Goldberg built a career of public service, from serving on the Los Angeles Unified School Board from 1983 – 1991, to becoming the first openly lesbian woman to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1993. In 2000 Goldberg was overwhelmingly elected to the California State Assembly, where she introduced and supported legislation that above all upholds the dignity of her constituents, from eliminating sweatshop conditions in car washes to expanding the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners. In 2006, Goldberg’s Assembly term ended due to term limits.


Ozie Gonzaque

Born in Louisiana during the Great Depression, Ozie Gonzaque migrated to Watts in 1947 and bought the house that she still lives in. She describes her childhood in Louisiana as one in which her father taught her about self-respect through evoking fear and a multiracial background—her grandfather whom she never met was Irish, and their neighborhood was more class than race-conscious. Her first job in Los Angeles was at the Club Alabam on Central Avenue as a waitress, where she met everyone in the West Coast jazz scene (with a record collection that reflects this history). While working at the Club Alabam she became friends with a Los Angeles beat policeman named Tom Bradley, for whom she would eventually campaign during his runs for Mayor of Los Angeles. Mrs. Gonzaque’s long career includes different aspects of community organizing, from serving as a civilian raider for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to her most recent position as Commissioner of the Los Angeles Housing Authority, a position from which she retired in 2003. As a civilian raider, Gonzaque was responsible for reviewing promotions within the LAPD and made sure decisions were made on merit and not on fiscal costs or attitudes. On one occasion, Gonzaque used LAPD guidelines to recommend a promotion for an officer dying of leukemia. Gonzaque was the only person on the board who saw his promotion connected to his hard work and service and butted heads with the other two police officers who composed the board. The other officers saw the man as a terminal cancer patient and not worthy of a promotion and better pension for his family. As a result, the LAPD removed the other members, installed new ones who gave the man his promotion and, of course, kept Ozie Gonzaque. Gonzaque served as a volunteer for the Bureau of Consumer Affairs and the Juvenile Justice Center. After the 1965 Watts Riots, Ozie worked with the McCone Commission to identify and ameliorate problems like police harassment that fueled the riots and caused the death of a relative. She is quick to note her husband Roy Gonzaque and his support. Roy Gonzaque worked for Hughes Aircraft and unconditionally supported Ozie in all of her activist efforts. She is proud of her children who have continued her legacy of public service through volunteering. Her daughter Barbara Stanton is spearheading the Wattstar Theatre and Education Center, a development in the Watts/Willowbrook communities that hopes to open the first movie theater in Watts since the Watts Riots over 44 years ago. Ozie reminds us that life is a journey to be enjoyed every step of the way. To do so as an activist means to take moments to recognize joy in your own work.


the Go-Gos

The Go-Go's are an all-female Grammy Award nominated American pop/new wave band formed in 1978. They made rock history as the first all-woman band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. The Go-Go's rose to fame during the early 1980s. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, is considered one of the "cornerstone albums of new wave" (Allmusic), breaking barriers and paving the way for a host of other new American acts. In the beginning, they played primarily a pop-inflected form of the emerging punk sound, and later defined themselves with the distinct sound of 1980s rock music. During their career, the Go-Go's have sold more than seven million albums.


Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton writes mystery novels whose titles follow the alphabet, from "A" is for Alibi (1983) and "B" is for Burglar(1985) to "T" is for Trespass (2007) and "U" is for Undertow (2009). She began her writing career while a working mother in the 1960s, and a movie version of one of her early novels, 1973's The Lolly-Madonna War, led to a career in Hollywood as a screenwriter. With the success of her first few mysteries, she was able to quit show business and focus on writing novels. Her hard-boiled crime stories featuring female protagonist Kinsey Millhone are released on a regular schedule; in her first 25 years of the "alphabet" series, Grafton published 21 novels. www.infoplease.com/biography/var/suegrafton.html#ixzz1kvG7X8T7


Catherine Gudis

Catherine Gudis is Director of the Public History Program at UCR and is the author of Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Cultural Landscape, which traces the relationship between automobility, advertising, and the commercialization of the urban environment. She has contributed to and edited Cultures of Commerce: Representations of Business Culture in the United States (coedited with Elspeth Brown and Marina Moskowitz, Palgrave/MacMillan, 2006) and museum books on art and culture, including Lions and Eagles and Bulls: Early American Inn & Tavern Signs (Princeton, 2001), Ray Johnson: Correspondences (coedited with Donna DeSalvo, Flammarion, 2000), Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990.




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Janice Hahn

Janice Hahn was elected as Councilwoman of the 15th District of the City of Los Angeles in June of 2001, and is currently serving her third and final term in City Council. The 15th District encompasses the communities of Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Watts and Wilmington.


LaTasha Harlins

Latasha Harlins was a 15 year-old girl who was shot and killed on March 16, 1991. Harlins was a Westchester High School student. Because Harlins' death came just thirteen days after the videotaped beating of Rodney King, some cite the shooting as a cause of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. She was brutally shot in the back of the head and her killer received a light sentence. Harlins was African American and her killer was Korean American convenience store owner Soon Ja Du.


Kristin Hargrove

Kristin Hargrove is an instructor in American Studies and History in different schools across Southern California. Her Masters thesis in American Studies from CSUF is entitled: “Sunpist: Exploring the Alienation Resulting from Orange County’s Post-World War II Development.”

Mary Ann Hawkins

Mary Ann Hawkins (Morrissey) of Venice is recognized as “the greatest woman surfer of the first half of the 20th century.” She bega her career as a freestyle swimmer & in 1936, she earned 1st place in the 1st all female paddleboard competition. In addition, she is the first woman to participate in the Catalina - Manhattan Beach Aquaplane race. Her accomplishments paved the way for female up & coming surfers.


Dorothy Ray Healey

Dorothy Ray Healey worked for the rights of the American worker, minorities, and the middle class. In 1933, Healey organized Mexican and Japanese berry pickers in El Monte. As head of the Los Angeles branch of the Communist Party after 1946, she built bridges between unions, civil rights movements, and progressive electoral coalitions. During the Red Scare, she was one of the original Smith Act defendants, arrested, jailed, and tried for “attempting to overthrow the government,” until the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. Healey’s work was instrumental in building the American Communist Party, though in the 1950s she disavowed connections to the USSR after learning of Stalin’s horrific regime of terror.


Ya Hit

Ya Hit was a prostitute who we know about today because two Chinese tongs fought over her, and in the process accidentally shot a white bystander.

Minerva Hoyt

Born in Mississippi, Minerva Hoyt traveled to and settled in South Pasadena, California in the 1890s. For most of her life, Hoyt was known as a society matron, but in the 1920s, after losing her husband and son, she turned her attention to teaching appreciation for, and the preservation of, the Southwest desert. Inspired by the beauty of Joshua trees and appalled by the vandalism occurring in the desert, including the burning of Joshua trees to light automobile routes and the plundering of native wildlife to populate city patios. On June 14, 1930, the tallest Joshua tree known to have ever existed was torched and charred by vandals and “the Devil’s Garden,” a valley north of Palm Springs once known for its plentiful cacti, is still recovering from plundering that occurred in the 1930s. In 1936, after meeting with Hoyt and learning of her goal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation establishing Joshua Tree National Monument and over one million square miles of protected terrain. Hoyt’s activism on behalf of Southern California’s deserts earned her the nickname “Apostle of the Cacti.”


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Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson, a writer and activist for Native Americans in California, first wrote the Congressional report “A Century of Dishonor” in order to highlight the dismal state of American Indians. When this effort went nowhere, she wrote the novel Ramona. intending it to be the "Uncle Tom's Cabin for California’s Indians." However, instead of humanizing the Indians and then bringing sympathy to their cause through fiction, Ramona’s most enduring impact was the creation of several regional myths that stimulated tourism in Southern California and obscured Jackson’s original goals of reform. The novel was loosely based on the real life account of Ramona Lubo, whose husband was shot by a white man. Lubo (the only witness to the crime) could not testify against him due to California’s law. The discovery of Lubo as the “real Ramona” after a series of tourist exploits from other sources occurred in the early twentieth century. Jackson died one year after the novel’s publication, not seeing its impact upon Southern California.


Joyce Jacob

Joyce Jacob is a registered nurse who works in the Pacoima School District. She received her training at California Hospital School of Nursing and is President of the School's Alumni Association.


Etta James

According to Bio.com: "As a child, Etta was a gospel prodigy, singing in her church choir and on the radio at the age of 5. When she turned 12, she moved north to San Francisco where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleader Johnny Otis. In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record "The Wallflower" (a tamer title for the then-risqué "Roll with Me Henry") with the Otis band. It was that year that the young singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed The Peaches (also Etta's nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as "Good Rockin' Daddy" in 1955. After signing with Chicago's Chess Records in 1960, James' career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad "All I Could Do Was Cry," "At Last" and "Trust in Me." But James' talents weren't reserved for powerful ballads. She knew how to rock a house, and did so with such gospel-charged tunes as "Something's Got a Hold On Me" in 1962 and "In The Basement" in 1966. James continued to work with Chess throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Sadly, heroin addiction affected both her personal and professional life, but despite her continued drug problems she persisted in making new albums. In 1967, James recorded with the Muscle Shoals house band in the Fame studios, and the collaboration resulted in the triumphant Tell Mama album. James' work gained positive attention from critics as well as fans, and her 1973 album Etta James earned a Grammy nomination, in part for its creative combination of rock and funk sounds. After completing her contract with Chess in 1977, James signed on with Warner Brothers Records. A renewed public profile followed her appearance at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Subsequent albums, including Deep In The Night and Seven Year Itch, received high critical acclaim. She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, prior to her signing a new recording contract with Private Records."


Hillary Jenks

Hillary Jenks is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the University Honors Program at Portland State University. She teaches the freshman and sophomore honors core curriculum, as well as upper-division seminars in urban history, architecture, and popular memory. Dr. Jenks received her doctorate in American Studies and Ethnicity from USC in August 2008. She is now revising her dissertation, entitled "Home is Little Tokyo": Race, Community, and Memory in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles, for publication as a book manuscript. This project combines archival and ethnographic research to examine the spatial and memorial practices through which the state and racialized communities have together, though with unequal access to power and resources, produced ethnoracially-inscribed spaces in the twentieth-century American city with significant material and symbolic consequences for domestic racial formations, global flows of capital, the use and organization of urban space, and the reproduction of ethnic identity and community. Dr. Jenks's research has appeared in a special edition of GeoJournal on collective memory and urban space, as well as in Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice, a collection of articles edited by Richard Longstreth.


Amy Jin Johnson

Amy Jin Johnson is pursuing her doctorate in American Studies at Brown University. Her dissertation includes an investigation into the 1892 kidnapping of a Chinese prostitute to examine the relationship of the immigrant community to the non-Chinese in southern California.  By unpacking the reporting of the case by the Los Angeles Times, Johnson examines how surveillance became more than a set of observations; it was a method for demarcating space, constructing identities, and exercising power. Johnson argues that by crossing of multiple physical and social boundaries, Choo Fong’s story illustrates the ongoing political, social, and ideological battles that gripped the growing city over conflicts predicated on racial and cultural difference.

Jin Johnson

Joan Johnson

Joan D. Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Physical Education, former women’s tennis coach, and former Chair of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at California State University Los Angeles. She attended Western Michigan University ant received her BS degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also attended the University of Michigan and earned the MS. in Education and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Southern California. An experienced tournament competitor, Johnson has competed in three of the four Grand Slam Events—the championships of Australia, England (Wimbledon), and the Unites States—while traveling extensively for both competitive and educational purposes. Professor Johnson was pioneer in the development of intercollegiate tennis for women, serving as one of the founders of the Southern California Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis League. She has directed numerous tennis coaching clinics and workshops throughout the United States and around the world. Dr. Johnson’s lengthy and outstanding service to tennis has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Gus .H. Bowan Sportsmanship Award (1959), the USLTA Women’s Tennis Leadership Award (1970), the southern California Tennis Association Coach of the Year Award (1974), Charter Membership in the Cal State Los Angeles Athletic Hall of Fame (1985), and induction into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) Women’s collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of the California State University, Los Angeles, Outstanding Professor Award (1978).


Barbara Jury

Barbara Jury was born in Redlands, California; graduated from Redlands High School and entered Nurse’s Training at California Hospital School of Nursing in 1947. She graduated in 1950 with an RN license and B.S. from the University of Southern California. She loves USC and Los Angeles. Ask her about any USC football game, she has been there; talk to her about Los Angeles and she has many stories. As a teenager, Barbara helped heal a wounded hen at her family’s house in Redlands. The hen in question was named “Old Meanie” and earned her name for keeping hens and people in line. One night Old Meanie was defending the other hens against a coyote attack. Although the Jury family was successful in stopping the attack, one of Old Meanie’s wings was bloody and broken. Barbara took Old Meanie up to her room and carefully stitched her wing up. Barbara tended to the hurt bird and put the chicken in her doll’s cradle to recuperate. Within a week, the hen had left the second floor bedroom and returned to the chicken pen on her own accord to return to her duties. Barbara loves classic music, she is creative, she is motivational, and she gets things done. Maybe that is why at present she volunteers at KUSC Radio Station and in the gift shop at Barlow’s Respiratory Hospital. She is on the California Hospital Legacy Foundation Board, on the Board of Soroptimist International of Los Angeles, (held the highest positions, and a member for over 40 years), on the Board of the California Hospital School of Nursing Alumni. She knows every alumnus by name, where they live, and what kind of career they have had in nursing, all 600 of them! They depend on her for support and answers. She was Director of Nursing for California Hospital and has seen the changes, such as the first emergency room, the new buildings, the people that have come and gone, the doctors that practiced, and the patients. Her best role, she states, was the role of Risk Management at California Hospital before she retired. She loves to travel and has been to many places around the world. She is a very generous person to support music through the DeCamera Society, projects at the Downtown Women’s Shelter, and various scholarship committees. She understands complex situations and enjoys finding solutions. She is a joy to be with, upbeat, positive and a true friend. If you need her, she is there and she has been there for Los Angeles.


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Mary Corita Kent

Dubbed “the joyful revolutionary,” Kent was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa and raised in Los Angeles. In 1936 she joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and adopted the name Sister Mary Corita. She also studied at the University of Southern California, where she earned her MA in Art History in 1951. In 1946, Kent returned to Immaculate Heart to teach art. Her students received presentations from Kent’s influential friends, who included Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames - foremost thinkers and designers in mid- twentieth-century America. Corita left the order in 1968 to live in Boston and dedicate herself full time to art. A trained artist, Corita’s work pushed themes of peace, love, and understanding through her Pop Art-inspired work. Corita’s cries for peace in the era of the Vietnam War were not always welcome. In 1965 her ?Peace on Earth? Christmas exhibit in IBM’s New York showroom was considered too subversive; exhibit organizers required her to amend it. Kent said: "I am not brave enough to not pay my income tax and risk going to jail. But I can say rather freely what I want to say with my art." In 1985 Kent created the “Love” stamp, the most popular stamp in United States postal history.


Clare Marter Kenyon

Clare Marter Kenyon is a librarian in the Mount Washington School system and an avid environmentalist. She is behind the City of Los Angeles’ Protected Native Tree Ordinance, formerly the Oak Tree Ordinance.


Judy Seki Sakata Kikuta

In 1960 Judy Seki Sakata Kikuta was the 1st woman west of the Mississippi to bowl a sanctioned 300 game, a member of the Tournament Bowl team, which won the 1960 National Women's Team Championship. She was named the 1960 Southern California "Bowler of the Year."


Billie Jean King

Billie Jean Moffit was born on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California. In her early years she was an exceptional softball player; yet, Billie Jean knew that there was no significant future for a woman in softball. Her parents introduced her to tennis, the game that would change her life and the lives of other women. In 1967 she was selected as "Outstanding Female Athlete of the World". In 1972 she was named Sports Illustrated "Sportsperson of the Year", the first woman to be so honored; and in 1973, she was dubbed "Female Athlete of the Year."


Shirley Kurata

Shirley Kurata is a stylist and bon vivant originally from Monterey Park. Her cosmopolitan point of view has imprinted its style on the hippest of the hipsters, all while retaining her own wicked sense of humor. Go Shenanigan Girls! http://shirleykurata.tumblr.com/


Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan is a figure skater who won her 1st world championship in 1996 at the age of 15. She wons the title again in 1998, 2000, 2001, & 2003. Her victory in the 2005 U.S. Figure Skating Championships is her 8th consecutive & 9th overall.



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Fans worldwide have come to love L7's heavy, riff-oriented guitar grind. L7's albums have been released on legendary U.S. labels Epitaph, Sub Pop, Slash/Reprise, as well as their own label, Wax Tadpole. Since their recording career began in 1987, L7 have spawned underground and mainstream hits, such as: Shove, Pretend We're Dead, Shit List, Andres, and Drama. 


Lili Lakich

After graduating from Pratt Institute, Lakich moved to San Francisco briefly before settling in Los Angeles in 1968. "When I was in San Francisco, I didn't have a single idea. The city was too Victorian for me. When I came to Los Angeles with all its lights and visual clutter, I suddenly had lots of ideas." Lakich began exhibiting neon sculpture in 1973 at Gallery 707 on La Cienega Blvd. Her first solo exhibition, at Womanspace in The Woman's Building in 1974, garnered a review in Artforum magazine by Peter Plagens where he commented "...the whole show is solid, however, I doubt whether Lakich will confine her deveolpment to static, confined neon, if for no other reason than the recent liberation of electric lights through Process, video, and performance art." 


Dorothea Lange

While many may rightfully argue that San Francisco is Lange's hometown, it is important to note the contributions Lange made to understanding the slums of Los Angeles, the internment experience and many communities in Southern California during the Great Depression. Her photographs are part of the Works Project Administration and part of the Library of Congress. Visit an exhibit dedicated to her story.


Louise Leung Larson

After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1926, Louise Leung became the first Asian American reporter for a major American newspaper. Having shopped her articles all across the city, Leung brought an article to The Los Angeles Record and was hired on the spot at the age of 21. She later wrote for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Daily News, San Francisco News, Chicago Daily Times, and Santa Monica Evening Outlook. As a reporter, Leung Larson covered the Hall of Justice and the court system within the Southern California region. Through her work she met and reported on Al Capone, Aimee Semple McPherson and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.

Leung Larson

Dona Lawrie

Dr. Dona Lawrie is a Principal in LAUSD's Hollywood Primary. She has served at different levels of teaching and administration and has taught all over Southern California.


Kandee Lewis

Kandee, a native of Los Angeles is the Executive Director of The Positive Results Corporation (The PRC), a non-profit, started by her partner/brother, Tony Newsom, a Los Angeles Police Officer. The PRC changes lives by addressing Dating Violence, while enhancing skills and internal resources by building & supporting positive self image & healthy relationships to promote & develop thriving, safer communities and productive citizens. Since starting in 1993, The PRC has provided books, training and services in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Lennox, and Hawthorne School Districts. Kandee also owns Business Solutions Consulting Service (BSCS), a Certified Small Business & Minority Business specializing in Customer Service Excellence. She consults and trains companies to understand and better serve their internal and external clients.


Bjorn Littlefield-Palmer

Bjorn Littlefield-Palmer is a programmer by day and responsible for the Studio for Southern California History's free iPhone app "On this Day in LA." Download it here for free from the iTunes store. By night Bjorn becomes Bzzzrp, an avant garde sound artist who mixes gender bending with an experiential adventure, for those lucky enough to hear them perform. They have performed in Japan and across Los Angeles.


Michelle Lopez

Michelle Lopez was born in Chinatown, Los Angeles and currently lives in Alhambra. She is a Sociology major at California State University Los Angeles. Meow!


Apolinaria Lorenzana

Born in 1793 near Mexico City, Apolinaria Lorenzana was left as an orphan in front of a church and sent to colonial California in 1800, where she was given to the Sal family from San Diego. She spent time at the Mission San Diego de Alcala, serving as godmother to its Indians. At one time, she owned a rancho but lost that land through the American courts. She never married. She was interviewed in 1878 in Santa Barbara and at the close of the interview she insisted she was remembered for her caregiving: “Many times each year I would take the sick women and even the sick men from the mission to Agua Caliente, which was in the Sierra de Santa Isabel, twenty-four leagues from the mission. I would stay there with them for two months. I would bathe them and take care of them.” Excerpted from Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815 -1848 edited by Beebe and Sekewicz.


Ida Lupino

From IMDB: Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. She made a handful of films during the forties playing different characters ranging from Pillow to Post (1945), where she played a traveling saleswoman to the tough nightclub singer in The Man I Love (1947). Ida would often refuse to play a Davis hand-me-down role and was often suspended by Warner Bros. for doing so. It was during those breaks that she would go on movie sets, chum around with the male directors and learned the craft of directing. Blazing new trails, she became the only notable and respected female filmmaker of her era in Hollywood. She left Warner Brothers in 1947 and became a freelance actress. When better roles did not materialize, Ida stepped behind the camera as a director, writer and producer. Her first directing job came when director Elmer Clifton fell ill on a script that she co-wrote Not Wanted (1949). The films that she wrote, or directed, or appeared in during the fifties were mostly inexpensive melodramas. She later turned to Television where she directed episodes in shows such as "The Untouchables" (1959) and "The Fugitive" (1963). In the seventies, she did guest appearances on various television shows and small parts in a few movies. Not only is she the only woman to direct an episode of "Twilight Zone" (1959) ("The Masks"), she is also the only person to star in an episode ("The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine") and direct one.


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Aimee Semple McPherson

Founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Aimee Semple McPherson came to Los Angeles in 1918 after traveling the country as a preacher. In 1923 McPherson dedicated Angelus Temple in Echo Park, an institution that often provided more relief to those in need than the city’s own social services. A flamboyant and charismatic leader, McPherson welcomed all. Her preaching style borrowed heavily from her Pentecostal beginnings and incorporated speaking-in-tongues and faith healing. In 1926 McPherson allegedly staged her own kidnapping but Los Angeles District Attorney Asa Keyes opted to not prosecute, citing lack of evidence. The Foursquare Gospel Church continues worldwide with over two million members, over 90% outside the United States.


Linda Espana-Maram

Linda Espana-Maram is the author of Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920s-1950s. España-Maram earned her PhD in History at UCLA and is an Associate Professor in the Asian and Asian American Studies Department .She has implemented informal ways of civic engagement in her courses -- most recently bringing her students to the Veteran's Day Parade in Historic Filipino Town and helping her students launch a letter-writing campaign to representatives and legislators urging them to support the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill. Dr. España-Maram is currently designing service-learning courses, focusing efforts on building alliances in the community, particularly those involved in Asian American public arts and performance spaces.


Lisa Marr

Lisa Marr is the Founder of the Echo Park Film Center. Since 2002, the Echo Park Film Center has provided a dynamic creative meeting place for filmmakers and film lovers of all ages to come together in celebrating the magic of the moving image. She is an award winning documentarian filmmaker.


Belle Martel

From Cecilia Rasmussen and the Los Angeles Times: In 1934, the Los Angeles Athletic Club hired the Martells to run amateur fights at L.A.'s boxing mecca, the Grand Olympic Auditorium at 18th Street and Grand Avenue. Club members thought Belle Martell would attract more women customers -- and she did. Soon the first few rows were filled with the likes of actresses....She also put together exhibition boxing matches at jails at the request of Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz, former state boxing commissioner and veteran referee Joe Olmos said. "It was a Depression-era sport," boxing promoter Fraser said. "Fans paid 50 cents or a buck for a front-row seat to see good, clean boxing." Professional fights cost more....Belle Martell, 46, made her debut as a referee May 9, 1940. Wearing a shirtdress below her knees and a silk scarf around her neck, she refereed eight bouts in Pasadena, where a crowd of 700 watched Johnny Mongz knock out Jimmy Archuleta. "When the fallen man rose [after the count], the belle of the ring gently took his hand [and] led him to a place of safety," The Times reported. About two weeks later, on May 24, all five state boxing commissioners "drew up and adopted Rule 256, which read: "No license will be granted to members of the female sex to referee, second or manage in the ring when other performers are of the opposite sex," The Times reported. The commission offered no explanation.


Michel Angela Martinez

Michel Angela Martinez hails originally from Compton, Whittier and Brea, California but has long since made the world her stomping ground. A political scientist interested in how visual media shape political discourse and movements, she has worked in Thailand following the tsunami, New York City for the National Lawyers Guild and in Los Angeles as an Observer and advocate for political representation of those involved in public political demonstrations. She is a gifted photographer and triathelete in her spare time, which does not exist anymore.


Bridget “Biddy” Mason

Originally from Mississippi, Bridget Mason traveled as a slave to San Bernardino, California with her master from Texas. In 1856 Mason successfully petitioned the California Supreme Court for her freedom, and tested and determined the state’s status as “Free.” With her three children, Mason moved from San Bernardino to Los Angeles to purchase a portion of Spring Street and began a thriving career as a midwife. Mason was known as a philanthropist, giving of her time and money to the needy and incarcerated. In 1872 she and son-in-law Charles Owens founded the First African Methodist Episcopal church.


Rosa Mazon

Rosa Mazon is a student at California State University Los Angeles in History. She also works at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum where she works with local teachers and surrounds herself with history.


Isa-Kae Meksin

Isa-Kae Meksin is involved in local politics and historic preservation. Her family originally came to New York City from the Ukraine. Her father Arnold Meksin was a concert pianist and her mother Clara, a homemaker, showed her how to think on her feet and to question authority by example. She is a former secretary to visionary C.L.R. James and the political group known as Correspondence, which included James, Grace Lee Boggs and Raya Dunayevskaya. They believed in observing how workers, African Americans, women and American youth were agents of change. It was this work that led her to Los Angeles, ultimately to connect with and record the activities of factory workers. She then reported her observations to the larger group. Isa-Kae attended California State University, Los Angeles for her teaching credential; she received her BA earlier from Hunter College. Ms. Meksin is also a retired teacher from the Norwalk-Los Angeles Mirada School District where she worked with students with disabilities, specifically those who were vision impaired. She maintains lifelong relationships with some of her past students. Isa-Kae is proud of the work that she did against the Briggs Initiative in 1978. This California initiative sought to bar homosexuals from having jobs with access to children. The proposition would have affected those individuals who were “out” and living an openly gay life, those who were homosexual but not “out” and those individuals who were sympathetic to the rights of homosexuals. As someone who fell into the third category, Isa-Kae testified to the horrific outcomes of such a political initiative and how the legislation perpetuated inaccurate portrayals of homosexuals as pedophiles. The Briggs Initiative did not pass. Isa-Kae prefers to do good work or to talk about others who are doing good work: currently she is dedicated to the Watts Gang Task Force. She is a regular volunteer for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, the Central City Action Committee and the Studio for Southern California History, among many other worthy causes.


Lorraine Michelson

Lorraine Michelson teaches Art at Maywood Academy in Maywood, California. Her students, past and present, are devoted to her and she keeps in touch with them long after they graduate from the high school.

Cheryl Miller

In 1982 Cheryl Miller, a senior at Riverside Polytechnic High School – scored a record-breaking 105 points in a single game. Miller goes on to play for USC & fosters the success of women’s basketball.


Dusty Mizunoue

In 1970 - 1971 Dusty Mizunoue won back-to-back Western Women's Bowlers Opens in 1970 & 1971/ She bowled in the Lady's Professional Bowlers Association. She won every individual, team championship at the national JACL/JANBA tournaments, & took part in goodwill tours of Hawai’i (1959) & Japan (1967-68).


Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortensen in 1926 in Santa Monica, California. Her childhood was defined as unstable, with moments of insecurity as she moved from family to years of perilous foster care. She was undoubtedly abused in the different homes she grew up in, and this led to her marriage at sixteen to a neighbor’s son, James Dougherty. There have been many apocryphal stories about her “discovery” in Hollywood, but we do know she modeled throughout her early career, including a calendar in 1950 in which she posed nude. The calendar became an instant hit and a scandal when she emerged as the starlet known as “Marilyn Monroe.” However, when asked by reporters about the calendar, she responded, "It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on." She later married American popular heroes-- baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. Both marriages ended in divorce. Monroe was known as a “difficult” actress to work with and sometimes kept the cast and crew waiting ridiculous amounts of time for her to get ready, but her onscreen performance created dazzling results. Her own struggle with the heads of 20th Century Fox Studios was legendary. She received a relatively small salary for her films, although she brought in thousands of fan letters daily and millions of dollars to the Studio through film portrayals of a money-hungry and/or vapid blonde bombshell. Marilyn learned to be in control of her image and understood the technical underpinnings of how filmmaking and photography worked. In 1955 Monroe created Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc., which gave her control over much of the scope of her future films. This power and her training at the Actor’s Studio under Lee Strasberg led her to take more substantive, though still comedic roles. Her body of work at this point in her career includes the best of American cinema classics including Bus Stop (1956), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), and Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe was known throughout her life as a humanitarian and a lover of animals.


Alice Kemmer Moore

Alice Kemmer Moore led an adventurous and unique life. She was born in 1875 in Dutch Hill, Ohio and traveled around the world, ending up in Los Angeles at the end of her life. Graduating from nurses’ training school in Missouri, Alice was chosen for service in the Spanish American War. First, she was sent to Chickamauga, Georgia to take care of Civil War veterans. The nurses lived in tents swarming with flies and no plumbing. A steamship ride to Havana, Cuba brought the pioneer nurses into the harbor. She saw the masts above the water of the Battleship Maine. Alice wrote about the importance of doing a good job and representing nurses in the military— she understood that she was a pioneer. It was 1900, and upon return from Cuba and a three-month wait at the presidio in San Francisco, Alice was off to new adventures in China. She joined General Chaffee as an army nurse in the Boxer Rebellion and nursed pneumonia patients in Peking. While visiting the Forbidden City, Alice sat on the throne of China, but just for a moment. The Empress had fled for the hills. Alice married and moved with her husband and children to Napa, California, where she worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. She would be invited to speak at meetings about her travels and adventures. My mother remembered going with her and sitting in the audience. In the 1930s Grandma Moore returned to work due to the premature death of her husband, my grandfather. She worked at the Veterans Administration in Sawtelle throughout the 1930s. Later, she retired there and reunited with nurses from the Spanish American War, who also retired there. As I grow older, I realize what a jewel my Grandmother Moore was—I was fortunate to know her for twenty-six years. She wrote her autobiography at the end of her life. She was living in the VA in West Los Angeles and entrusted her detailed story to me (there is so much more to tell!). Alice Kemmer Moore was a grand lady; independent, patriotic, positive and supportive. She passed away in 1965.


written by her granddaughter
Marilyn Hileman

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Marisela Norte

Considered one of the most important literary voices to come out of East Los Angeles, Marisela Norte has performed her work throughout California, the US and the UK.  Her words can also be found in the anthologies Microphone Fiends, Bordered Sexualities: Bodies on the Verge of a Nation, The Geography of Home:California’s Poetry of Place, Bear Flag Republic, American Studies in a Moment of Danger, American Quarterly and Rolling Stone’s Women of Rock.  In 2008 she received the Ben Reitman award for Peeping Tom Tom Girl , her first collection of prose.  Norte is currently working on Sociedad Anonima a collection of photographs and short fiction.


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Terrys Olender

Terrys Olender makes legal history throughout her career. At the University of Southern California School of Law, she is the first woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review run by the faculty editor Robert Kingsley. However, the Dean of the Law School, William Hale, refuses to approve her appointment because he “felt that U.S.C. should not be the first to break with tradition by having the first woman Law Review Editor-in-Chief in the United States.” In response, Ms. Olender quits law school with one year to go and successfully passes the bar examination. In 1930 there are approximately 160,605 licensed lawyers, judges, and justices in the United States, and approximately 1,385 are women. Getting a job is her next challenge. She works as an unpaid volunteer in District Attorney Buron Fitts’ 1932 reelection campaign and following the campaign, Ms. Olender is taken into the District Attorney’s Office as an unpaid law clerk. After months of working without pay, Ms. Olender and two other clerks become paid law clerks -- sharing the $160-a-month salary of an investigator. Eventually a civil service examination is announced for the position of Deputy District Attorney and Ms. Olender takes it. When Ms. Olender emerges as number one on the eligible list, she is accused of sleeping with the men who judge the oral part of the examination. After two months, Terrys Olender is given her permanent appointment as a Deputy District Attorney and assigned to felonies. In the all-male atmosphere she becomes used to being referred to as a “tomato,” a “nifty dish,” and “baby doll.” Olender’s five years of trying felony cases are recorded in her book For the Prosecution: Miss Deputy D.A.


Carole Oglesby

Carole Oglesby is a professor emeritus in sport psychology (2001) from Temple University and was Chairperson in Kinesiology at California State University Northridge 2003-2009. As a sport psychology consultant she has worked with Olympians and Pan American Games champions in rowing, cycling, paralympic cycling, and the USA Deaf Women’s VB team. To further her capacities, she completed earned PhDs in sport psychology (1969 Purdue) and Counseling Psychology (Temple 1999). Carole was on the executive committee of the USA World University Games group 1972-1992, US Olympic Committee House of Delegates 1992-1996 and on the USOC Sport Psychology Registry for 12 years. She has presented papers and conducted training and leadership workshops in 31 countries; published pioneering works Women and Sport: Myth to Reality (1978), Black Women and Sport (co-edit, 1978); Encyclopedia of Women and Sport in America, 1998). She is past-president of WomenSport International, executive committee of the International Working Group for Women and Sport, principal contributor to UN-DAW monograph Women2000 and Beyond: Women, gender equality and sport, 2009. As she would say ‘back in the day’, Carole competed in national level softball championships in 1962,’63 and ’65 and coached teams from Purdue University and University of Massachusetts to the College World Series. She is a recipient of the Women’s Sports Foundation Billie Jean King award, AAHPERD R. Tait McKinzie award,
ICSSPE Phillip Noel Baker Research award.


Nellie Grace Oliver

Nellie Grace Oliver inaugurated the Oliver social & athletic clubs for Japanese American youth in Los Angeles. 10 separate Oliver teams excelled in baseball, football & basketball in the statewide Japanese Athletes Union between 1917 & 1942, when Japanese Americans were removed from the West Coast & placed in internment camps. Between 1961 & 2001, the former Olivers reconvened annually to award a trophy & scholarship to Southern California’s outstanding Japanese American high school athletes in honor of their former teacher & mentor.


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Celia Pearce

Celia Pearce is a game designer, author, researcher, teacher, curator and artist, specializing in multiplayer gaming and virtual worlds, independent, art, and alternative game genres, as well as games and gender. She began designing interactive attractions and exhibitions in 1983, and has held academic appointments since 1998. Her game designs include the award-winning virtual reality attraction Virtual Adventures (for Iwerks and Evans & Sutherland) and the Purple Moon Friendship Adventure Cards for Girls. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from SMARTLab Centre, then at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. She currently is Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech, where she also directs the Experimental Game Lab and the Emergent Game Group. She is the author or co-author of numerous papers and book chapters, as well as The Interactive Book (Macmillan 1997) and Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds (MIT 2009). She has also curated new media, virtual reality, and game exhibitions and is currently Festival Chair for IndieCade, an international independent games festival and showcase series. She is a co-founder of the Ludica women’s game collective.


Monica Pelayo

Monica Pelayo is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Southern California. Pelayo's interests in Los Angeles history include a focus on the Plaza, Christine Sterling, Olvera Street, New China City, Union Station and contemporary Chinatown. Her dissertation explores the ways public institutions have represented local history in Los Angeles. She is a native of Los Angeles and leads walking tours of Los Angeles for the Studio for Southern California History.


Olive Percival

Olive Percival With a library of ten thousand books, Percival was credited with housing one of the best children's book collections in America. A member of the "Arroyo Culture," she was prominent in Southern California, known both for her acting and for opening her Garvanza home to painters, sculptors, writers, and bibliophiles. As an ardent feminist, Percival was very involved in the Progressive movement, as well as holding membership in the Los Angeles Women's Athletic Club, the Friday Morning Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Despite being a major figure in the "Arroyo Culture," Percival was an outsider to the circle of Charles F. Lummis, Los Angeles’s first librarian and preservationist. Percival's collection of nineteenth-century English and American children’s literature was sold for $1,000 to the then-University Librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles, Lawrence Clark Powell. Her collection formed the base of what is now the university’s large and distinguished compilation of children's books, representing one of the world’s finest.



Though the official founding day of Los Angeles is September 4, 1781, scholars have now discovered that the pobladores did not arrive in one single group from San Gabriel to Los Angeles. In the summer of 1780, Rivera y Moncada was contracted to recruit settler families and soldiers for Alta California. By early 1781, he only had half the family settlers he needed but he was instructed to move northward to Alta California. The families and soldiers met up in Alamos, Sonora where they were divided into two groups. The first group, led by Alferez Jose de Zuñiga, went on lanchas (flat boats) through the Gulf of California and traveled on foot the rest of the way to San Gabriel Mission. The second group, led by Rivera y Moncada, went through the desert, resting at newly founded missions and presidios along the way. The Rivera y Moncada group reached the Colorado River in June of 1781. Rivera y Moncada sent half of the group up to San Gabriel, while he and the other half stayed to rest with the livestock. The Quechans and Mojave made a pact and rose up against the party, killing Rivera y Moncada and ninety-five soldiers and settlers. Part of Rivera y Moncada’s land party and part of the Zuñiga sea-land party arrived to the San Gabriel Mission between June and August 1781. They moved into Los Angeles before September 1781, but Felipe de Neve, the governor, arbitrarily chose September 4, 1781 as the founding date, as it was when the colony’s financial records were first recorded. The city’s name became El Pueblo de La Reina de Los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula. The settlers remained close to the river; however, a flood in 1801 caused the population to move further south. In 1815, another flood hit the region, and thepobladores moved to what is now known as El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. The pobladores blog run by their descendents is http://lospobladores.org/.

Dorothy Poynton

Dorothy Poynton was an Olympic Gold medal winner, a local diver whose record inspired us all to greater achievement. Photo caption from the Los Angeles Public Library: "Considered "over the hill" at 22 years of age and too old for the 1936 Olympics, Poynton came back to win Olympic Gold and discredit her critics. Photo care of the Los Angeles Public Library with the caption: "Dorothy Poynton, pretty blonde 17-year-old "daughter of Los Angeles," holds the distinction of being the favorite to win the Olympic high diving contests of the world's most graceful and skillful mermaids today. Miss Poynton, who was the "baby" of the American Olympic team in 1928, won third place in the springboard diving at that time. Recently she won the national high diving title. Photo dated: August 12, 1932." 


Jenny Price

Jenny Price is the author of "Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America," and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, and LA Weekly. She leads frequent tours of the L.A. River, and is working on a new book, "13 Ways of Seeing Nature in L.A." She lives in Venice.


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Nina Revoyr

From her website at www.ninarevoyr.com: Nina Revoyr was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father, and grew up in Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of four novels. Her first book, The Necessary Hunger, was described by Time magazine as "the kind of irresistible read you start on the subway at 6 p.m. on the way home from work and keep plowing through until you've turned the last page at 3 a.m. in bed." Her second novel, Southland, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and "Best Book of 2003," a Book Sense 76 pick, an Edgar Award finalist, and the winner of the Ferro Grumley Award and the Lambda Literary Award.Publishers Weekly called it "Compelling... never lacking in vivid detail and authentic atmosphere, the novel cements Revoyr's reputation as one of the freshest young chroniclers of life in L.A." Nina’s third book, The Age of Dreaming, was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Publishers Weekly called it "enormously satisfying;" Library Journal described it as "Fast-moving, riveting, unpredictable and profound," and Los Angeles Magazine wrote that "Nina Revoyr…is fast becoming one of the city’s finest chroniclers and myth-makers." Nina's fourth novel, Wingshooters, was published in March, 2011. It was one of Booklist’s Books of the Year for 2011 and an O: Oprah Magazine's"Book to Watch For," and has won an Indie Booksellers Choice Award and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Publishers Weekly described it as "remarkable...an accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice; and Booklist called it "a shattering northern variation on To Kill a Mockingbird. Nina lives in Northeast Los Angeles with her partner, two rowdy dogs, and a pair of bossy cats.


Joan Robins

Joan Robins, among other things, was the co-founder (with Dorothy Bricker) of Women's Liberation One in the late 1960s, founding member of the Crenshaw Women's Center in 1970, and worked to create the Anti-Rape Squad and the LA Commission on Assaults Against Women.

Hynda Rudd

Hynda L. Rudd was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she attended public schools, and graduated with a Master's degree in History from the University of Utah. While pursuing university studies in Utah, Ms. Rudd established the Jewish Archives in the Marriott Library at the University of Utah; Ms. Rudd also worked for the University of Utah's records management program. In 1978, Ms. Rudd moved to Los Angeles and continued her post-graduate education at the University of Southern California where she earned another Master's degree in Library Science. She also published her Master's thesis from the University of Utah on the Jewish pioneers of the Intermountain West. Ms. Rudd was recruited by the City of Los Angeles in 1980 as the City's first Archivist, whereupon she proceeded to establish an archival program within the City Clerk's Records Management Division. In 1986, Ms. Rudd was promoted to Records Management Officer and placed in charge of the City's Records Center and Archives where she administered the City of Los Angeles' records management program for over forty-five departments, offices and bureaus. Ms. Rudd, under the sponsorship of the Los Angeles City Historical Society, undertook to compile and edit a comprehensive bibliography of books, periodical articles and theses written about the Los Angeles region between 1970 and 1990. In 2000, Ms. Rudd with the University of Southern California prepared for digitization the above mentioned bibliography with a prior work by Dr. Doyce B. Nunis, Jr. covering the same Los Angeles area from 1900-1970. The two volumes were combined and to be produced for use electronically. In 2001, Ms. Rudd retired from the City of Los Angeles. Since retirement, Ms Rudd worked as a consultant at the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. Once again, the above noted bibliographies were combined and converted into the LA Comprehensive Bibliographic Database, at The University of Southern California, http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/arc/lacbd.


the Runaways

According to Ryan Cooper: "Starting in 1975, the Runaways were a group of American teenage girls who started an all-girl rock band out of Los Angeles that featured a teenage Joan Jett. Emphasis on edginess helped get them grouped in with the emerging punk movement, and landed them on tours with the Ramones. The group’s attitude and edge, as well as their express desire to be an all-girl band and be unapologetic about it, have helped label them the first Riot Grrrl band, almost 20 years before the movement existed."


Chamara Russo

Chamara Russo is a marketing consultant and multimedia producer. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Studio for Southern California History, she is committed to several nonprofits in Los Angeles. She received her BA and MA in Critical Studies from the University of Southern California.


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Lucy Sanderson Healy,
Lucy Healy,
Jane Sanderson

This family of women have a spirit of adventure that is rooted in Memphis, Tennesee; London, England; and Los Angeles, California. Both Jane and Laura have written extensively for People Magazine and have an encyclopedic knowledge of American art.


Iris Flores Schirmer

Iris Flores Schirmer can trace her family's lineage to the Italian shipmakers of Christopher Columbus--the Pinzon family. Her descendants migrated to Costa Rica and her family's influence in its government brought her to Los Angeles. Her uncle was the Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States. At 17, she was asked to be in Tres Hermanos (1943) by Mexican director José Benavides. She worked in half a dozen American films in the war and immediate postwar period and did work in Mexican film but eventually came to New York where she met her future husband Rudolph Schirmer. Before marrying, she met John F. Kennedy when we was looking for a Mrs. Kennedy. He was immediately taken by Iris and asked her for a date for Saturday. She said: "No," -- not only was she flying to Los Angeles for a previous engagement, but she was then dating Dean Whitter. Later, when the future president introduced Iris to his fiancee Jacqueline Bouvier, he described Iris as "the only woman to have turned him down for a date." Iris has lived in Beverly Hills since the 1940s and witnessed the region's massive change.


Sarah Schrank

Sarah Schrank is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach. Her book Art and the City has been celebrated by the Journal of American History as: "a long-overdue social historical context for the city's much-touted status in recent years as a global art capital. It also refutes the notion that Los Angeles's arts scene emerged ex nihilo in the 1960s. Schrank posits, instead, that decades of reactionary cultural politics—not to mention spatial isolation and sprawl—were among the forces driving the city's artistic ascent."


Carolyn See

Carolyn See is a writer, teacher and literary critic whose nonfiction and fiction work explore Southern California as a setting. Her gendered analysis of the Hollywood novel remains the best assessment of the genre to date. Her fiction is apocalyptic and metaphysical--highlighting absurdities and the intensity of the natural world.


Lisa See

Lisa See is the author of the non-fiction family history On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family and the novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. See, who is one-eighth Chinese, grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by her Chinese-American family. After an early career writing for Publishers Weekly and other magazines, See published her first book, On Gold Mountain, in 1995. The story is a sweeping account of her father's side of the family as it moved from China to southern California. The book was a success, and See followed up with three mystery novels set in China: Flower Net (1997), The Interior (1999) and Dragon Bones (2003). Her fourth novel was the critically acclaimed bestseller Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), the story of two women in 19th century China who communicate through a secret written language called "nu shu." See, the daughter of novelist Carolyn See, is also active in the Los Angeles Chinese-American community. http://www.infoplease.com/biography/var/lisasee.html#ixzz1kvGWvwcy.


Caroline Severance

Caroline Severance (1820 - 1914): Carolyn Severance was instrumental in establishing the rights of women by working with women at a national and local level. In 1866 Severance, with Susan B. Anthony, founded the Equal Rights Association. In 1867, with Lucretia Mott, T. W. Higginson, and others, she founded the Free Religious Association. And in 1869, Severance and Lucy Stone founded the American Woman Suffrage Association. Severance moved to Los Angeles in 1875 and continued her efforts. She established kindergartens and began the Friday Morning Club, a women’s club and center for social reform efforts in Los Angeles. Always active in the fight for female suffrage, Severance was given the honor of being the first woman to register in California after the state gave women the vote in 1910. Carolyn Severance was 91 years old.


Margarete Liebe Sekhon

Margarete Liebe Sekhon, long time resident of Fullerton and former CSUF student, was a model of a life lived well: she embraced life in her love of learning and sense of community responsibility. Margarete spent most of her time helping the less fortunate as a caregiver to both inbound developmentally disabled children and the elderly throughout Orange County.  An avid student of languages, Margarete also was an accomplished artist, having earned a Master's degree in Art with a style marked by bold colors and landscapes, especially trees.  Her wide ranging interests reflect her verve and sense of humor; she was an ecologist, an amateur linguist, a self-styled gourmet cook, a poetess, a mother, and a Boy Scout den mother who made her troop learn how to bake for merit badges.  Indeed, the lessons she taught continue to instruct those who knew her long after her premature death to cancer.


Terri Snyder

Terri L. Snyder is Associate Professor of American Studies and Liberal Studies at California State University, Fullerton. She is the author of Brabbling Women: Disorderly Speech and the Law in Early Virginia (2003).


Mazzy Starr

Mazzy Star are a duo from Los Angeles renowned for their slow, psychedelic, narcotic music. They're best known for their breakout single, "Fade into You," which became an unlikely crossover hit in1994. Spurred by the interest in "Fade into You," their second album, 1993'sSo Tonight That I Might See eventually chalked up platinum status in the USA; unheard of territory for a melancholy, shadowy act notorious for shunning interviews and publicity. "If it were up to us," Roback told Alternative Press in 1996, "we'd do maybe one interview per album." Mazzy Star's debut album, 1990's She Hangs Brightly, introduced Sandoval's glorious, drawling voice to the world. More acoustic and melodic than Opal, the album showed a rooting in blues, with Roback playing slide guitar. Released on Rough Trade in the UK, the record drew the attention of Capitol Records in the US, who signed Mazzy Star when Rough Trade went bankrupt.


Christine Sterling

Christine Sterling was born Chastina Rix in Oakland, CA. Her family was middle-class and of British descent. She attended Mills College in order to study art and design but left to marry Jerome Hough, a San Francisco attorney. The Houghs relocated to Southern California, where Mr. Hough found clientele through the entertainment business. Shortly after, Jerome died from a stroke and Chastina was left alone with their two children. It was at this time that she changed her name to Christine Sterling. According to her diary, Sterling was walking through downtown in 1926 when she came across the abandoned Avila Adobe. This building was one of the last remaining Los Angeles adobes of the city’s Mexican era. She began a one-woman campaign for the preservation of Avila Adobe. However, no one paid much attention to her until the day the city planted a Condemned Notice on the doors of the building. Sterling placed a notice of her own, recounting the history of the building as the last remaining adobe of Los Angeles’s Mexican past, and its role in the Mexican-American War where Stockton used it as his headquarters. Anonymously calling all of the local newspapers, Sterling built a publicity stunt that provided her with the names of prominent businessmen including Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times. As the city had just passed an ordinance for a new Union Station in the nearby Chinatown area, Sterling and Chandler created a master plan that would open Olvera Street and Avila Adobe to a tourist industry. After the acquisition of monetary funds, the labor force of Los Angeles’s incarcerated, and the city’s ordinance to make Olvera Street a pedestrian-only street, Olvera Street opened on Easter Sunday of 1930. Touted as the “Mexican Marketplace of Yesterday in the City of Today,” Olvera Street became an instant success and remains a much-visited tourist attraction in Los Angeles. Sterling dedicated her life to Olvera Street. After living in Chavez Ravine, she permanently moved to Avila Adobe were she died in her sleep on June 21, 1963. Christine Sterling is an important figure to highlight in Los Angeles history. Despite becoming a widow in the 1920s, Sterling went against the odds to make a mark in Los Angeles’s landscape and to keep her family’s respectability. She is now commemorated as the “Mother of Olvera Street.” However, she remains a controversial persona in the Chinese American community. By the early 1950s, Chinese tenants had occupied the Lugo House for over seventy years. When the city threatened to demolish it, the Chinese community tried to save it along with other historical buildings. Unfortunately, Sterling stated that the “Chinese must go!” in order to clean up the area and the house was demolished on February 7, 1951. The Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles is now housed at the Garnier Building within El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, and they are working to recognize the experiences of the Chinese in the space and in Los Angeles history.


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Juanita Tate

Juanita Tate founded Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles in the people’s victories for state parks in the Cornfield, Taylor Yard, and the Baldwin Hills. Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles fought to enforce physical education laws in public schools, ensure California State Parks are open and accessible for all and to preserve green space, stop sewer odors that violate clean water laws and to fight for environmental justice.


Johnnie Tillmon

Johnnie Tillmon was the founder of the first welfare mothers organization in the US called Mothers of Watts Anonymous. Elected to leadership in the Los Angeles County Welfare Organization, she eventually became the Director of the National Welfare Rights Organization. Even after the demise of the welfare rights movements, Tillmon remained active in the Watts community.


Iva Ikuko Toguri

After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1940, Iva Toguri, a Los Angeles native, visited family in Japan but was trapped in the country when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Taking a secretarial job at Tokyo Radio to support herself, Toguri was approached by Australian prisoner of war Major Charles Cousens to help enact a covert anti-propaganda campaign through the propaganda show “Zero Hour.” Unlike others who participated on the show, Toguri refused to renounce her citizenship or voice disparaging attitudes about the Allies; she performed the comedic role of “Orphan Ann.” On her return to the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into her involvement and released her after one year. However, in 1948 Toguri was targeted and condemned, largely by newspaper columnist Walter Winchell, as the voice of “Tokyo Rose,” a compilation of haunting female voices using sultry overtones that predicted doom for American troops over Tokyo Radio. Toguri vehemently denied being “Tokyo Rose” and ever giving up her allegiance to the United States. Nevertheless, she was indicted by a federal grand jury and stripped of her citizenship. She served six years in a federal prison, and upon her release she settled in Chicago. In 1977, after much lobbying by the Japanese American Citizen’s League, President Gerald Ford issued Toguri a Presidential Pardon.


Tongva shaman Toypurina participated in a conspiracy to destroy Mission San Gabriel at the age of twenty-four in 1785. Born and raised in the Gabrieliño village Japchivit near Mission San Gabriel, Toypurina sees firsthand how the missions destroy her culture and people. When questioned about her role in planning the revolt, Toypurina defiantly states: "I hate the padres and all of you, for living here on my native soil, for trespassing upon the land of my forefathers." Although banished to Mission San Carlos Boromeo in Carmel, after her release Toypurina is later baptized (though historians argue over her intention in doing so) and marries a Spanish soldier named Manuel Montero. The couple had three children.

Sissy Nga Trinh

Sissy Nga Trinh is the founder and executive director of the Southeast Asian Community Alliance as well as a 2002 Echoing Green Fellow. Sissy and her family fled Vietnam and moved to the United States when she was just a toddler. After graduating from Pitzer College in 1996 with a Bachelor's of Art in English and World Literature, she chose to use her education to fight for the rights of immigrants and the poor. She spent her initial years out of college organizing Vietnamese factory workers and Filipino hospital workers. She then spent the next three years as a community educator and policy advocate on health and welfare reform. Sissy's experience as a community educator, organizer and advocate inspired her to develop SEACA -- an organization dedicated to building the next generation Southeast Asian leaders.



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Patssi Valdez

Patssi Valdez is a Los Angeles based artist who grew up in East Los Angeles. She received her BFA from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and was named outstanding alumni in the 1980s. In 2005, she was named the “Latina of Excellence in the Cultural Arts” by the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Valdez's art has been featured at the Alma Awards and the Latin Grammies. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including from the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Brody Arts Fellowship in Visual Arts. Her art work is in several major collections, including the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; The Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona; The San Jose Museum of Art, California; and the El Paso Museum of Art, Texas. Valdez is best known for her colorful paintings and early performance work with the avant-garde art group ASCO (Spanish for nausea). Her work is an expression of what is important to her. She states “My paintings portray an actual and or imagined place that depict an inspirational or emotionally charged feeling or experience. They are snippets of environments that I consider meaningful and symbolic of my individual as well as collective Chicano experience.” Patssi presently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.


Linda Vallejo

From ArtQ.net: Linda Vallejo was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1951. She traveled and studied throughout the United States, Europe and Mexico. She received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cal State University, Long Beach, in 1978. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she studied Maya and Azteca dance with the Flores de Aztlan Troupe. During these formative years, Las Flores de Aztlan presented teachings and workshops throughout the State of California at cultural centers, universities, and in traditional Native American and Chicano ceremonies that included Fiesta de Maiz and Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles, Fiesta de Colores in Sacramento, and Chicano Park Day in San Diego. Over the past twenty years, she has participated in and supported traditional ceremony in South Dakota, California and Arizona. She served as a community volunteer for the Native American Religious Society, California Rehabilitation Center, Norco for the past fifteen years. Leah Ollman of The Los Angeles Times stated, "Linda Vallejo's paintings are generated by her deeply felt connection to exactly those fundamental life forces - birth, nature, spirit - that are spurned as quaint or old-fashioned by the hippest tier of the contemporary art world." "Nature," as the artist shares, "is the final answer." Vallejo states, "Nature connects us to intrinsic truth; offering solace to our interior lives. Nature exists beyond religion, politics, market, and art." As an artist, Vallejo asks, "Why not paint the fear and horror?" Her paintings, described as a "soothing poultice," are an alternative, an answer to the constant unanswered questions of our complex lives. Judi Jordan, writer for Latin Style Magazine concurred saying, "Wouldn't you rather draw solace from a gorgeously rendered sky, knowing that tomorrow is no longer a promise, but a prayer?" Each painting includes layer upon layer, thin gauzes of paint; Both spiritual and technical work is needed to communicate this serenity and beauty. The technique is recognized by Leah Ollman, "Vallejo visualizes the unity of all living things by layering them. This approach verges on kitsch at times, but when it works.it works gloriously." Each facet of Vallejo's art is integrated in finely honed processes of observation, recollection, and production. Vallejo's paintings recall a place to the viewer, evoking a sublime reality from the depths of memory and recollection. "I don't believe a healthy human culture can be sustained by destroying nature," Linda says, as she looks out the window of her Topanga Canyon home, "We need to integrate our relationship with nature as we have done so readily with machines and war. There are responsibilities that accompany life, both in art and in the natural world." 


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Christina Walsh

Christina Walsh founded Cleanup Rocketdyne, non-profit organization for the proper and most protective clean-up of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and other similar legacy sites. Safety and protection of the surrounding communities as well as the workers involved in the process is top priority.


Devra Weber

Devra Weber was born in New York to thespian parents, and raised in California, New York and the wilds of a Boston suburb. She began her academic career at the University of Wisconsin, and moved to UCLA where she began to focus on working class history. After a career in documentary films, she received her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1986. She has published two books: Dark Sweat, White Gold: California Cotton, Farmworkers and the New Deal, 1919-1939 (UC Press, 1994), and edited La Historia de Vida del Inmigrante Mexicano por Manuel Gamio. (México City: Editorial Porrua, CIESAS/UC MEXUS joint publication, 2002) This is part of a three part collaborative work between UC MEXUS and CIESAS. The second volume of this collaboration, Inmigración Mexicano a los Estados Unidos por Manuel Gamiois to be published in 2004. Weber has published numerous articles, among them: "Leaving Trails of Powder: Ruminations on ‘unthinkable’ histories, families, narratives, silences, and the Mexican left in the United States;" "The Oaxacan Enclaves in Los Angeles: A Photo Essay" "Preguntas Sobre las Politicas de Representacion"; "Historical Perspectives on Mexican Transnationalism: With Notes from Angumacutiro"; "Raiz Fuerte: Oral History and Mexicana Farmworkers," "History and Oral Narratives," "Mexican Migrant Workers: A Case Study of Transnationalism" "The Organizing of Mexicano Agricultural Workers in Imperial Valley and Los Angeles, 1928-1934: An Oral History Analysis"; "Mexican Women on Strike: Memory, History and Oral Narratives." She is currently working on a project entitled "Sin Fronteras" which focuses on transnational Mexican migration culture, labor and social organization in both Mexico and the southwestern United States. She has presented papers at numerous conferences. She is also a photographer and working on a book of 30 years on the Mexican community in Los Angeles. She is active in Los Angeles community affairs, and has served as a member of the board of One Stop Immigration and Education Center, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, History and Culture, and is currently a member of the board of the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles. She is also an advisor of the Frente Indigena Oaxquena Binacional (Binational Indigenous Front of Oaxaca).

Carol Wells is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.
Carol Wells

Carol Wells

Betty White

Betty White is an actress, comedienne, singer, author, and television personality. White's family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression. She attended Horace Mann School in Beverly Hills, California, and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to become a writer, she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play at Horace Mann School and discovered her interest in performing. With a career spanning seven decades, she is best known to modern audiences for her television roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and on The Golden Girls. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Landsitcom Hot in Cleveland. White has won seven Emmy Awards (six for acting) and has received 20 Emmy nominations over the course of her career, including being the first woman ever to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only female to have an Emmy in all female performing comedic categories. In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she also received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances – her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2011, a span of 60 years – and has become the oldest nominee as of 2011, aged 89.


Annie Williamson

Annie Williamson holds the distinction of as a nurse who served continuously from the Spanish American War, the two World Wars and the Korean Conflict. She comes to California Hospital in 1907 and in 1910 she is the field nurse in charge of the Dominguez Fields Air Meet. In 1923 she becomes the President of the California Nursing Association. Her autobiography 50 Years in Starch is celebrated worldwide.


Judy Chicago & Miriam Schapiro for Womanhouse

Organized by feminist artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, Womanhouse was an art installation that took place in an abandoned house in Hollywood in late January 1972. Participating artists were all women and each were given a room to transform into an art space that confronted an issue facing women. The installation took on such topics as reproductive rights, beauty, and gender roles.



Sheila Sasha Wombat

Sheila Sasha Wombat is a Boyle Heights based writer, cook and film buff.



Women Rising Collective

Women Rising Collective was a group of veteran women's liberation movement activists that formed following a reunion in the early 1980s. They held readings, organized conferences and produced art that support women's equality or fought inequality like their conference against the Family Protection Act of 1982. Members included Donna Cassidy, Joan Robins, Sherna Gluck, Cheryl Diehm and Bea Free.


Anna May Wong

From Richard Corliss in Time Magazine: " Born Jan. 3, 1905, in Los Angeles' Chinatown, Wong played the lead role in the first Technicolor feature, The Toll of the Sea, in 1922, when she was just 17. By 19 she was intriguing against the movies' top action star, Douglas Fairbanks, in his super-production The Thief of Bagdad. At 23 she went to Europe, where she starred in a half-dozen A pictures — including her best one, E.A. Dupont's Piccadilly — and, when sound films arrived, performing roles in three languages: English, German and French. She returned to the U.S. to share top billing with Hayakawa in a Fu Manchu melodrama, Daughter of the Dragon, and, a year later, was Marlene Dietrich's companion in Shanghai Express. After starring in three films in England, she anchored a series of B pictures at Paramount, a major studio, then starred in two more for a Poverty Row outfit. Wong's eclat spread beyond the big screen. In 1929 and 1930 she starred in plays in London (The Circle of Chalk, with the young Laurence Olivier), Vienna (the title role in Tschun Tschi) and New York (the Broadway melodrama On the Spot, which she would film at Paramount as Dangerous to Know). Her cabaret act, which included songs in Cantonese, French, English, German, Danish, Swedish and other languages, took her from the U.S. to Europe to Australia."





Contributers include Michelle An, Nancy Bautista, George Castillo, Ryan Cooper, Tyler Daly, Valena Broussard Dismuke, Sherna Berger Gluck, Kristine Grunnell, Marilyn Hileman, Joyce Jacob, Monica Pelayo, Laura Pulido and Linda Vallejo. Sources include: FOR THE PEOPLE -- Inside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office 1850-2000 by Michael Parrish; the Los Angeles Times; Rolling Stone Magazine; Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815 -1848 edited by Beebe and Sekewicz; Time Magazine; and many others.

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This poem can no way list all of the ladies of Los Angeles;
it is a moment in this poet's life and not always about the reader.

If you feel I have missed someone, please write your own poem and spread the love.

For more resources on women in Los Angeles history, visit the Studio for Southern California History's timeline "LA Women: A Record of Experience" completed in 2007. This timeline includes even more LA women, like the La Brea woman--whose remains were discovered in La Brea Tar Pits and is estimated to live 7,000 years ago.
copyright 2012