South Los Angeles

Bordering the Westside on the northwest and Downtown L.A. on the northeast, the area now designated as "South Los Angeles" still goes by a number of different names. Prior to 2003, it was officially known as "South Central Los Angeles," leading to the nickname "South Central." However, this reference had gained the connotation of "urban decay, poverty, and street crime," so the City of Los Angeles decided an image change was necessary, hence the current official name. It is also frequently referred to as "South L.A."

This large geographic portion of the city is comprised of a diverse array of ethnic and racial groups. Working and middle-class blacks moved into the area during the Great Depression, displacing the primarily white community that settled here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Decades later, a wave of immigrants from Central America made this their home. Riots here in 1965 (Watts) and 1992 (Los Angeles) were televised nationally, contributing to the community's poor image, despite the successes of so many of its residents, from politician Ralph Bunch and comedian Eddie Murphy to tennis sensations Serena and Venus Williams, supermodel Tyra Banks, and hundreds of others.

South Los Angeles also contains a number of historic landmarks, such as the University of Southern California (USC) campus, established in 1880, and Sabato "Sam" Rodia's surreal blend of architecture and sculpture known as Watts Towers. Other attractions in the area include the Hollywood Park Race Track, the Shrine Auditorium, Exposition Park (home of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics), and West Angeles Cathedral, among others.

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