Have you ever been forced or bribed out of your own home? Did you ever feel so powerless? Many people in Los Angeles have felt that. When what I am about to tell you was explained to me, I thought it had happened in about 1910, but then I was astonished to hear that it was more recently, in the 1950’s. Chavez Ravine was a small community in one of the busiest places in Los Angeles, it was in Downtown Los Angeles. Many people might now it now as Dodgers Stadium. That’s right, where professional now play baseball and hit home runs, was where many people grew up and formed part of their lives. It was a long, and ugly process, but what peoples homes was, then became Dodgers Stadium. Was it necessary to move people out of where they called home to build a baseball stadium? Why was this location so desirable to those who chose to have a baseball stadium there? I chose to write about this time in history because it is something that not many people know about and it grabbed my attention as soon as I was briefly told about this subject. This is something that you cannot just type in history of L.A in google and find information about. This is one of those things that you actually have to know about it to find information. I was told about Chavez Ravine by my aunts next door neighbor, and after two minutes of listening to what he had to say about it, I was convinced I had to write about this. I want people to know about the politics behind this decision to make a low income community to a baseball park, how the residents of Chavez Ravine felt before and after losing their homes, and a little bit about the Dodgers and what they have to say about this subject.
During the time of my research, I came across many articles that contained very similar information, and it was a little difficult to find something different that would stand out. I came across an article in Los Angeles Times, from October 2007. The name of the article is 50 Years Ago:Brooklyn To Los Angeles; The Play of the Land, by Steve Springer. It not only mentioned the plan of Chavez Ravine becoming Elysian Park, a housing project for low income families, but it also mentioned the person behind the planning of bringing major league baseball. Rosalind Wyman, a Los Angeles Council woman used the idea of bringing major league baseball in order to attract votes for City Council. This article made politics seem so uncouncious of the their surroundings, it seemed as if they didn’t care weather people had a place to live or not. It also showed me that Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers coach, was not aware of the situation in Chavez Ravine, and did not even plan on moving to Los Angeles, at least not by choice. “He put a lot of time and energy and money into it,” Peter O’Malley (Walter O’Malleys son) mentioned, “He gave it his best shot, but finally, I think he realized it was up. It was over. It wasn’t going to happen in Brooklyn.”
After I began looking up defferent words instead of just, Chavez Ravine, I began to find more and more information. Paul Brownfield created a PBS documentary, “Television and Radio; Television Review; Chavez Ravine, too Familiar, too Sad, ” from June 2005, which gave me a glimpse of what the residents of Chavez Ravine felt and went through during that awful time when they were being asked, or in some cases forced to leave. There were expressions in this documentary that gave me the chills just thinking about it, “dancing on a grave.” That is how one particular person described his first visit back on the Dodgers Stadium. In other articles, it mentions how devastated people were when they were going through this situation, but to describe it in such harsh words actually makes you feel the pain that they were going through.
Don Normark described Chavez Ravine in a May 2003, Los Angeles Times article, “Theatre; Requiem for the Ravine,” by Mike Boehm as “a poor mans...