Duck Duck Book


2 – chávez ravine
07.7.2004, 12:01 am
Filed under: history & geography

Chávez Ravine, 1949 : a Los Angeles story / Don Normark.
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c1999.
[MCL call number: 979.494 N851c 1999; two copies, no holds]

In 1949, twenty year old white photographer Don Normark wandered into Chávez Ravine, a little canyon containing three Mexican/Mexican-American neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and was enchanted.  He spent a year photographing the people, houses, businesses, and neighborhood life of Chávez Ravine.  Shortly after, the 1,000 or so families who lived there were forcibly evicted to make way for a new federal housing project that never saw the light of day.  Dodger Stadium was built there a few years later. 

In 1997, Normark started tracking down many of the people he had photographed, and this book is a combination of his 1949 photographs and his recent interviews with the people of Chávez Ravine.  The photographs are compelling, but the memories of the people who are in them are what really grabbed me.  The book is as beautiful to read as it is to look through.

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