In the 1950s, Chávez Ravine was a peaceful remote place nestled in the hills, a stone's throw from the Los Angeles Civic Center. Living in Chávez Ravine was a closely knit Mexican-American community of domestic workers and other laborers who had been pushed out of the L.A. neighborhoods due to housing discrimination. The people lived there in peace until Los Angeles City officials used eminent domain to take their property, claiming that the land would be used for low-income public housing and that the residents of Chávez Ravine would have first-pick of the newly constructed apartments. But as soon as city officials obtained the land, they announced that it would be used instead as the building site of a stadium for their newly acquired baseball team from New York City, the Dodgers.

Watch this informative video.

As a child growing up in the Valley, not far from Chávez Ravine, and seeing this story unfold on the local news, it was something I never forgot. Many years later I was inspired to paint this portrait to commemorate those families who were displaced. I painted it from a black and white photo by Don Normack taken of two young residents, Manuelito Muñoz and his little sister Josie. A hardcover book.

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SPECIAL NOTE: Recently I was contacted by the nephew of Manuelito and Josie. He told me that both of them have passed now but their spirit lives on in the hearts of their family. Sadly, little Josie was killed in a home gas explosion in 1960, in Texas, at the age of 12. May they both rest in peace.

I'm happy that this painting now belongs to the family.

Proud Brother, Little Sister
20 X 24

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