Community Immersion Project

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Community Immersion Project Delores Turner
University of Southern California Dr. Carol Ann Peterson SOWK 534 June 7, 2011

2 Ideally, when one chooses a city to settle down in, certain expectations are envisioned. It might be the scenery, the job opportunities, or, simply, the richness of culture and history. It might be memories from childhood experiences, or the absence of crime and traffic congestion. There are a variety of reasons why an individual, a family, or a company may be drawn to a particular locale. This paper looks at the shifting of community values as different ethnic groups, at various times, become the predominating culture in the city.

I. Identification and General Description of the Community The City of Lynwood is a congested, low-income, and culturally-diverse community nestled in the southeastern area of Los Angeles County, California. According to a recent census, about seventy-three thousand people live in Lynwood, with a median age of twenty-five years ( U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). The surrounding cities of Compton, Bell, South Gate, Watts, and Huntington Park are closely tied to Lynwood in terms of employment opportunities and social services.

3 Once a bedrock , white, middle-class community, known as “ the land of homes” , celebrities Kevin Costner and Weird Al Yankovic grew up here. Mr. Yankovic named his album, Straight Outta Lynwood, in honor of his hometown. Most recently, Lynwood has been notoriously recognized as the location where Lyndsey Lohan and Paris Hilton served jail time. Established as a dairy and creamery in 1902, resting on about 400 acres of land, Lynwood was named after the wife of one of the deed holders. The Pacific Electric Railroad ran from Los Angeles directly through the middle of town, headed to Santa Ana. The population was all white and middle-class. In 1929 Pacific Electric installed a Depot to accommodate patrons making the journey from Los Angeles County to neighboring Orange County. That building still exists today, and plans are to make it into a historical monument ( City of Lynwood Retrieved Jun2 1, 2011 from .

4 From colonial settlement, to dairy and creamery; from all White, to mostly Black; from Black to mostly Hispanic, Lynwood is a city of tolerance and change. Tolerance for new ideas causes a community to grow and change. “While difficult to measure, tolerance is one of the most important qualities you can desire in a community” ( Clayton, 1996). The community is, today, predominantly Hispanic,...
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