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Mr. Jack and Mrs. Rosie: Creole Color Games in L.A.

Mr. Jack and Ms. Rosie                                   Austin H. "Jack" and Rosie Marcella Nicholas, Silver Wedding Anniversary, 1955

In 1953 my father was the personal barber for a prominent family that wanted to expand their real estate holdings in Los Angeles.

With their assistance, my Creole mother, assumed to be white, purchased a beautiful, three bedroom home on a pleasant, tree lined street near the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard in way-way West L.A.

At the time, due to racial covenants in California property deeds, this lily white conclave was worlds beyond the boundaries that constrained Black home buyers in inner city L.A..

As soon as the deal was signed, real estate agents canvassed the whole neighborhood, warning home owners that "coloreds will be moving in soon."

When the rest of our very clearly Black family, my father, my two sisters, two brothers, my niece, and I showed up to move in with mom, panic stricken white folks staked "For Sale" signs in their front yards overnight and vanished in droves.

The real estate family, as planned, made a killing, snapping up premium properties at fire sale prices from desperate "evacuees."

My parents did okay too.

© 2017 Paul Howard Nicholas

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