The black community in Santa Monica has been an important influence on other communities of color and immigrant communities, especially in the Pico Neighborhood. The neighborhood has long had a large Japanese-American population, which was deeply affected by the advent of the Second World War. Many Japanese-Americans were sent against their wills to concentration camps like Manzanar in California, in a racist federal policy that is a stain on our nation’s history.
No strangers to oppression and racism, many members of the black community in the Pico Neighborhood rallied together to support their neighbors in a show of unity and community resilience.
“When the war came, her family, like every other Japanese-American family in this area, was sent to the camps. The interesting thing about that is, a lot of African-Americans took care of their property while they were gone. And when they got out, they gave it back to them. So, the relationship with Japanese-American and African-American was a lot different that people know, even imagine.” Harriette McCauley, long time resident.