Growing Up in South LA in the 1960’s
By: Rebecca Arce, El Nido Alumni and Scholarship Recipient
I had the honor to meet Beverly Tate, professor, and author, through El Nido’s Living History project, where youth interview seniors to get a cultural and inter-generational exchange of ideas. Beverly, like myself, had to navigate young adulthood being a first-generation college graduate growing up in South Los Angeles.
Unlike today, South Central was a multi-ethnic community of African Americans, White, and Jewish families, all largely two-parent homes. It was uncommon to see single-parent households and the neighborhoods were filled with brotherhood.
Beverly noted that most individuals shared the sentiment of having a nurturing childhood filled with a promising life until the Watts Riots in 1965. Life changed, businesses left the neighborhood, and people struggled financially. The introduction of gang tension, a generation living in concentrated poverty, and an increase in racial profiling was the norm.
I realized that Beverly’s coming of age story is an example of perseverance and grit. She came from humble beginnings. This shy little girl blossomed into a bold woman that took charge of her life. With few role models, she made it her mission to pursue higher education even if that meant commuting and getting out of her comfort zone to make her dreams happen.
With her master’s and teaching credential, at 26 she transitioned into a classroom as has been teaching and mentoring since. Beverly is a role model for women of color. During my interview I learned that her real success was with the many students she impacted and as an educator.
I found myself identifying with her boldness, strong character, and inner strength. My several conversations allowed me to appreciate her words of wisdom, that she genuinely cares about empowering others so that they can reach their true potential. Beverly shared tips with me about focusing on personal development which I will carry with me on my future journey.