Commissioned by the Council on Foundations in 1992 at a time when urban concerns had fallen off the national agenda, this article contains summary recommendations of an investigation into the response of grantmakers and urban policy experts after the deadly violence that occurred in Los Angeles that spring. An April 29 state-court acquittal of police officers accused of using excessive force against Rodney King had sparked two days of burning and looting throughout South Central Los Angeles, an area hard-hit by job loss and plant closings that over the previous twenty years had become demographically and economically transformed. Once an almost entirely African American community, South Central Los Angeles was now about half Latino. Many Latinos were recent arrivals to the United States and more than half were undocumented. Meanwhile, the vast majority of legal immigrants came from Asia and Latin America. As Los Angeles moved from being a biracial society to a multiracial one, interracial and interethnic relations had become explosive. That demographic shift occurred in conjunction with severe economic decline and a 16 percent unemployment rate, which primarily affected African Americans and Latinos, setting the stage for outbursts of long-simmering hostility and discord. The Los Angeles uprising, which spilled over from the low-income South Central neighborhoods into wealthier neighborhoods, became the most destructive in U.S. history. Reprinted here are the summary recommendations that emerged from the research, which included structured interviews with forty-seven individuals, including foundation presidents, senior-level philanthropy officials, and four individuals who were prominent experts on urban affairs.
"Undimmed by Human Tears: American Cities, Philanthropy, and the Civic Ideal (1992),"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 30:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol30/iss1/6