The Immigrant Heart of LA

A two-day tour highlighting LA's immigrant museums

I was chasing after PST LA/LA exhibitions and I realized that in addition to the cool themes I have been exploring, artists I have been seeing and history and culture I’ve been absorbing, I wandered into the immigrant heart of LA.

Three Immigrant Museums

Japanese American Museum, Chinese American Museum, LA Plaza de Cultura y Arte

I had never been to these museums; I went to see their PST LA/LA offerings, which were all superb. While there, I checked out the museums’ permanent displays. I was struck by how similar they were, with different views on the same themes: The immigrant experience, promise and hope of a new land, discrimination and abuse by the mainstream culture, pride in  community members who prevailed and prospered, struggle by the communities against oppression.

I’m thinking a two-day tour. Put a day-pass on your Metro tap card, and let’s go!

Day 1

  • Meet at Watts Towers. Check out the towers, the art center, and especially the sidewalk inscriptions that tell the history of Los Angeles from the earliest native villages to the present.
  • Blue Line – Red Line – Gold Line – Pico/Aisal Station. Self Help Graphics and lunch at Purgatory Pizza.
  • Back to Little Tokyo Station. Japanese American Museum
  • Biddy Mason Memorial Wall  (time and energy permitting)

Day 2

  • Plaza de Los Angeles
  • Chinese American Museum
  • Lunch at Olvera Street
  • LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
  • America Tropical
  • Italian American Museum (time and energy permitting)
A Nation of Immigrants. from The Skirball

A Nation of Immigrants. from The Skirball

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

– Emma Lazarus, 1883

from Wikipedia:


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