L.A. council to erase 'South Central' name
Thursday, April 10, 2003
LOS ANGELES -- The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to take South Central Los Angeles off the map, renaming the historically black area in an effort to divorce it from an international image of riots, poverty and gang crime.
With one member absent, the council approved the motion 14-0 to use the name South Los Angeles when referring to the region in all future city documents.
There was no organized opposition.
Supporters call it a first step in getting outsiders, particularly the media and filmmakers, to recognize that what they have been calling South Central is an ethnically diverse region with proud neighborhoods and even a few million-dollar mansions.
"It's just a start," Councilwoman Jan Perry, one of the motion's authors, said a few days before the vote.
"It's basically one way, albeit a small one, to give a community its identity back."
Even before the vote, the change appealed to 60-year-old Salim Uqdah, busy trimming grass on a sidewalk in front of his home a block off South Central Avenue.
"If you just leave out the Central ... it may start changing the image, because there's a lot of good people, a lot of good people that live here," Uqdah said.
In the media, including "gangsta rap" albums and movies such as "Training Day" and "Boyz In the Hood," the name generally has followed the southerly and westerly movement of the black community in the city.
It had recently been used to cover every place from Watts -- center of the 1965 riots and strongly identified with street gang violence -- to Baldwin Hills, which boasts the homes of black doctors and lawyers.