On May 9, 1959, Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies forcefully removed and arrested Aurora Vargas, daughter of Abrana and Manuel Aréchiga. The City of Los Angeles displaced the Aréchiga’s and the communities of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop to build a new stadium for the Dodgers. The Dodgers had just arrived in LA from Brooklyn in 1958. The 62nd anniversary of this event was this past Sunday, May 9, 2021.
So, for today’s episode, I am honored to be joined on the podcast by writer and former VICE editor Eric Nusbaum (@ericnus). In his book, STEALING HOME: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between, Eric did a fantastic job recounting the displacement of Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop to build Dodger Stadium. Eric rightfully centered the story on the Aréchiga’s but connected several other stories as well.
For example, Eric tells me about the LA Housing Authority official, Frank Wilkinson. Mr. Wilkinson hand-picked Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop as the new site (without asking the residents) for the city’s ambitious public housing project. Eric also explained how red scare politics derailed the project and Wilkinson’s life and career. Eric also detailed how Walter O’Malley’s Dodgers ended up in Los Angeles and gives us a little history of the LA baseball scene before the team’s arrival. As a Xicano who grew up a Dodger fan, we should never forget what happened to the three communities.
“Dodger Stadium should not exist!”
"Stealing Home has a driving plot, a humane heart, and a proud conscience. Read it and enjoy the story, or read it and get mad, or read it and change your mind. Most importantly, read it.”
—Chuck D, Founding member of Public Enemy
For more information, please visit www.buriedundertheblue.com. Buried Under the Blue (BUB) is “an indigenous platform bridging the past and present communities through historical context, education, environment, community services, and technology. To empower and educate people to create healthier communities for a united future.”
Special thanks to Melissa Aréchiga for allowing me to use the video audio from a BUB IG video.
Go check out Eric Nusbaum’s latest project, Sports Stories. Eric and illustrator Adam Villacin explore sports and history at the intersection of everything. Subscribe to their newsletter and receive a story every Tuesday!
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