Skip to Content

Forgotten Founders: The Hidden African Ancestry of Los Angeles ~ Opens February 4th


At El Pueblo's Pico House
424 N Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

February 4-29, 2016
Opening Reception: February 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Exhibit Open Tuesdays-Sundays: 10:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m.
Free Admission

In 1781, a group of forty-four diverse individuals traveled north to found the City of Los Angeles. Largely forgotten, twenty-six of these city founders could trace their heritage to Africa. During its one month installment at the historic Pico House, this exhibit highlights the incredible racial and ethnic diversity of Los Angeles from its founding through the present day.

​During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the sparse population of New Spain’s Northern frontier was comprised of an intermixed community of indigenous peoples, Africans, and Europeans. Due to the region’s multifaceted racial mixtures, Spanish colonists created the casta system, a complex racial classification system. Los Angeles’ first families reflected the complicated racial backgrounds and classifications of New Spain during this period.

In order to settle the new pueblo of Los Angeles, Alta California’s lieutenant governor began recruiting from New Spain’s diverse population. According to the pueblo’s founding documents, people from a variety of racial backgrounds, including mestizo, negro, mulato, and indio, were enticed by promises of land grants in the new settlement of Los Angeles. As a result, the group that arrived in Southern California in the summer of 1781 included Pablo Rodriguez and his wife Rosalina María, who both identified as indios, as well as Luis Manuel Quintero and his wife María Petra, who identified as negro and mulata respectively. As a result, Los Angeles, today one of the world’s most ethnically and racially diverse cities, arose from a small group of settlers who traced their lineage to Spanish, African, and indigenous roots.

More info here.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

The 24 L.A. Rappers You Need to Know in 2024

Kendrick Lamar's 'The Pop Out' show celebrated many rising L.A. rappers carrying hip-hop into the future. Here is our list (and your next playlist) of the local emcees putting on for the West Coast.

Check Out L.A. TACO’s Sunny New Summer Styles!

Rep the Taco Life and independent journalism with our new 'boxy cut' women's pink bota shirt and pink-and-blue hoodie. Now up on our online store! Every sale makes sure that we continue bringing you all the stories you all love.

July 16, 2024

13 L.A. Destinations For Tejuino, Raspados, and Ice Cream To Keep You Cool While Riding Metro This Summer

Stay cool this summer with tejuino from Compton, DTLA raspados that have gone viral on TikTok, and a true Zapotec tepache in Mid-City, all accessible when you ride Metro.

July 15, 2024

‘I Wasn’t Prepared For This:’ Placita Olvera’s Iconic El Burro Is Given A 30-Day Eviction Notice Following A Unanimous Vote on Thursday

This Thursday, the Board of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority Commissioners voted to evict La Carreta despite attempts from the family, community, and even the city council to save it. 

July 13, 2024

Downtown L.A.’s First Proudly Queer-Owned Dispensary Is Thriving

The disco ball and neon signs illuminate a wall dedicated to LGBTQIA+ products at Green Qween. Despite the queer community being at the forefront of medical marijuana usage during the HIV and AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 90s, today, queer representation remains low in the cannabis industry.

See all posts