Los Angeles is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. Beginning with L.A.'s founding in 1781, the African American presence has grown and flourished, greatly influencing not only the city of Los Angeles, but making a tremendous impact on the rest of the country and around the world. It’s no coincidence that the two years President Barack Obama spent at L.A.’s Occidental College (1979-1981) played a major role in determining his future in politics.
One of the best ways to experience African American culture and heritage in Los Angeles is during Black History Month, which takes place every February. Hosted by various cultural institutions throughout the city, the month-long celebration includes events at the California African-American Museum in Exposition Park and the annual Pan African Film & Art Festival. The following guide will help you explore L.A.’s African American culture during Black History Month and throughout the year. Day One covers South L.A. and Downtown; Day Two features the Beach Cities; and Day Three takes you to the Westside.