Longtime readers of the Weekly know that we love to tell the tales of Orange County’s nasty, hate-filled past that you won’t find in polite publications or history books—you know, how there are a lot of schools, streets and parks named after Ku Klux Klan members, or how OC’s founding father was a Klan member, or how one of America’s first prominent radio evangelists quit his church in Placentia because it wanted to help poor Mexicans. And this hate has always played a prominent role in how OC has been covered by the national press, and has also influenced hate in America—no new story there.
Still, it’s always great to see our hilarious haters acknowledged nationally, so we read with especial interest a long feature in the latest Newsweek by Gabriel Thompson. Titled “Golden State of Hate: Extremism’s Long History in California,” the author of an excellent biography on legendary labor organizer Fred Ross connects the resurgent white supremacy of today to previous campaigns in the past. And, of course, Thompson wisely includes OC’s role in it all, from Proposition 187 to last year’s Klan melee in Anaheim to the Minuteman Project of last decade to this charming tidbit:
The City of Orange, for example, only allowed children of Mexican descent to use the pool on Mondays until the late 1940s. The pool was drained on Monday nights and cleaned and refilled on Tuesdays, to protect white children from contamination.
The funny thing with that tidbit is that Thompson emailed me for the specific date for when it was desegregated, or if I knew someone who might know. I told him it had to have happened in the wake of Lopez v. Seccombe, a historic 1944 federal decision that forced San Bernardino to desegregate its pools tried by the legendary civil rights lawyer David C. Marcus, who’d go on to use that victory in the far-more-famous Mendez, et al v. Westminster two years later. “Nor will the official OC historians acknowledge the pool was ever segregated haha,” I added.
HA! Good job, Gabriel. Everyone: Read his story (which originally appealed in the nonprofit muckraker, Capitol & Main). And, as always, stay classy, OC!