On this day in 1781, the “Los Pobladores” – a collective of 11 families – helped establish the town of Los Angeles. According to many reports, the pobladores were composed of Mexicans of African descent.
The Spanish Empire controlled “Las Californias,” and the governor of the region of what would become California’ established secular settlements. More than half of the new settlers were of African or mixed race. Two of the men, Luis Quintero and Antonio Mesa, were of full African descent based on records, and married women who were “mulatto” mixed with Black and Spanish.
According to a 1995 article from The Los Angeles Times, the city placed a plaque inside El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park in the ’50’s, which mentioned the race and names of the families, but was removed by unknown figures. In the ’70’s, the plaque returned and honored the city founders but failed to mention them by race. In 1981, a final plaque was placed and produced due to the efforts of Miriam Matthews, the city’s first Black trained librarian. Matthews made certain to mention the names, sex, race and ages of the pobladores.
By the turn of the century, 2,200 Black had residents flocked to the region and helped add to the diversity of the growing community.
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