Creating Community: Chicago and Los Angeles, 1900–1965
The years between 1900 and 1965 saw massive population growth and change in the United States. Immigrants and migrants were pulled to U.S. cities by the abundance of semi-skilled and low-skilled jobs, as well as other economic opportunities offered by an industrializing society. The foreign-born encountered and competed with Americans of African, Mexican, Asian, and European descent. Cities became places where newcomers and the native-born negotiated their place in a changing nation.
Coming Together in La Plaza
Ezequiel Moreno, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico, started a bakery in his home in 1918, and in the 1920s moved to La Plaza in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. He named the bakery La Esperanza, meaning hope. Soon it was frequented by customers across many segments of the Los Angeles community.
Mexican immigrants, downtown employees, and Hollywood movie stars came for bread, coffee, traditional Mexican dishes, and “American-style” lunches.