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The first half of the 20th century shaped Black Americans’ identity and influence on the United States. In reaction to racist actions and laws in that period, Long Beach’s Central Area Black neighborhood provided a sense of belonging, serving as a space not only to garner wealth but also to celebrate Black culture in a unique and authentic way. 

During this time, a Black cultural identity began to emerge, but Black Americans were still significantly affected by key events such as redlining, segregation and desegregation, and the assassinations of key Civil Rights leaders. These events impacted individual livelihoods and the fate of these neighborhoods.

The history of our Central Area neighborhood has often been hidden and not fully recognized. As a way of honoring Black excellence and our full rich history, the Black community is committed to honoring the heritage of our neighborhood where African American businesses flourished, our churches provided hope and support and Black economic self-empowerment was the norm.


Long Beach’s African American Community, and its Central Area neighborhood, have helped shape the unique

character of our city for more than a century. Music, culture, education, athletics, business, and architecture

are just a few examples of our outstanding contributions to the development and success of Long Beach.

The time has come for these achievements to be recognized and celebrated; to preserve and enrich its customs and traditions, and to help promote the advancement of the African American community in the city and the region. It is with these intentions that the designation of the historic Black Central Area neighborhood, bounded by Willow Avenue to 10th Street and Long Beach Blvd to Walnut Avenue, be documented and perhaps even renamed to better reflect its heritage and significance.

Located within Heritage Park are 15 African American churches, the oldest was established in 1903, and 7 of the churches are over 80 years.  There are also 4 parks, 2 schools and 4 other historic sites that all recognize significant Black Americans.  

Three Generations

Since 2020 Elite Skills has conducted Heritage Tours of the area for City staff, community leaders, United Cambodian Center, and Centro Cha staff. The tours include a historic presentation, lunch, and a bus and walking tour of the area.



Heritage Park organizing efforts are ongoing.

Reach Out To Learn More

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