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chapter 2 Building the White Spot of America The Corporate Reconstruction of Ethnoracial Los Angeles white spots and PUNTOS NEGROS Harry Chandler liked to call his adopted city the “white spot of Amer- ica.” The bombastic publisher of the Los Angeles Times, a newspaper whose popularity waxed with Los Angeles’s economic fortunes, was referring most directly to what he perceived as intense local economic development unfettered by labor unrest. The phrase also alluded to a belief, widespread among Chandler’s circle, in the aesthetic, political, and moral purity of

Multiethnic Neighborhoods in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
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Contents List of Illustrations and Tables vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1. The Familiarity of “Foreign Quarters”: The Central Los Angeles Populace 9 2. Building the White Spot of America: The Corporate Reconstruction of Ethnoracial Los Angeles 38 3. The Church of All Nations and the Quest for “Indigenous Immigrant Communities” 62 4. “So Many Children at Once and So Many Kinds”: The World of Central City Children 94 5. Mixed Couples: Love, Sex, and Marriage across Ethnoracial Lines 121 6. Preaching to Mixed Crowds: Ethnoracial Coalitions and the

buy property in the form of cinemas and cinema chains, so as to “vertically integrate” by joining together separate aspects of the production, distribution, and exhibition of fi lm into one corporate entity. It became the fi rst media corporation to exercise signifi - cant control over all aspects of production, wholesaling, and retail, part of the broader corporate reconstruction of American capitalism that had begun with the railroads in the 1860s and had gathered pace in the 1890s.4 Bankers played a sig- nifi cant role in that process, using the capital

and thus neutralize their perceived threats to American social structures. Such efforts paralleled the emergence of large corporations in American economic life and their heightened demand for low-cost wage labor. This “corporate reconstruction” of ethnoracial communities entailed a two-part process—recognizing the existence of non-Anglo populations and their potential as political actors and isolating them from Anglos (and each other) as discrete entities with specific symbiotic roles to fill in the social and economic life of the city, thereby diluting their

337 CHAPTER 1 1. Here I principally follow economic historian Martin Sklar, who argues that “corpo- rate liberalism” emerged as a prevalent praxis in the United States around the turn of the century, among government, judicial, and industrial and fi nancial organizations, “to trans- act the corporate reconstruction of the political-economic order on the basis of the mutual adaptation of corporate capitalism and the American liberal tradition.” Sklar, Corporate Reconstruction, 34. 2. Th e history of the 1927 Radio Act and the subsequent 1934 Communications Act

investment bank House of Morgan— which had close ties to British capital markets—and two by the investment bank Kuhn, Loeb.71 In short, then, the policies of the US state eff ectively catalyzed with emergent economic tendencies to consolidate connections between the state, large industry, and an increasingly global fi nance capital, which would be signifi cant for the subsequent development of what economic historian Martin Sklar has called “the corporate reconstruction of American capitalism.”72 Railroads certainly established the framework for the large

shipyards and airplane factories. After the 1940s firms continued to set up plants in suburban regions where they drew from local workforces that were disproportionately white.18 In short, ethnoracial distillation and concentration fundamentally transformed the demography of postwar central neighborhoods, and the corporate reconstruction of Los Angeles reached fruition, though not along the lines envisioned by early-twentieth-century Anglos. Immi- grants and African Americans had not assimilated into Anglo norms, nor had the city “whitened” itself into the urban ideal of

commerce. Both acts were specifi cally used to target socialist opposition to the war as one part of the broader imperative to entrench what economist historian Martin Sklar has called “the corporate reconstruction of American capitalism.”53 By September 1917 the Espionage Act was invoked by the Justice Department to raid the offi ces of the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) around the country, arresting 166 union offi cials and simultaneously destroying printing presses and private cor- respondence.54 Postmaster General Albert Burleson used the Sedition

Social Evil, with Special Reference to Conditions Ex- isting in New York City. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912. Silva, Fred, ed. Focus on “The Birth of a Nation.” Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall, 1971. Singer, Ben. “Manhattan Nickelodeons: New Data on Audiences and Ex- hibitors.” Cinema Journal 35, no. 3 (spring 1996). ———. Melodrama and Modernity: Early Sensational Cinema and Its Con- texts. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. Sklar, Martin J. The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890– 1916: The Market, the Law, and Politics