Baseball and the displacement of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

What memories and histories are covered by Dodger Stadium?

Four years after the Dodgers baseball team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, Dodger Stadium was built on an area of land known as Chávez Ravine, inhabited by generations of close-knit people of Mexican descent. Chávez Ravine sat on a hill and overlooked the City of Angels.

Instead of building public housing in the area as the city initially proposed, city leaders claimed that public housing was a communist plot and building a stadium was a better, more capitalistic, and American idea. Inhabitants of Chavez Ravine be damned.

The film Chávez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story narrates this fascinating and familiar history of displacement, exploitation, and neglect.

"During the early 1950s, the city of Los Angeles forcibly evicted the 300 families of Chavez Ravine to make way for a low-income public housing project. The land was cleared and the homes, schools, and the church were razed. But instead of building the promised housing, the city—in a move rife with political controversy—sold the land to Brooklyn Dodgers baseball owner Walter O'Malley, who built Dodger Stadium on the site. The residents of Chavez Ravine, who had been promised first pick of the apartments in the proposed housing project, were given no reimbursement for their destroyed property and forced to scramble for housing elsewhere.

Fifty years later, filmmaker Jordan Mechner explores what happened, interviewing many of the former residents of Chavez Ravine as well as some of the officials who oversaw the destruction of the community. Narrated by Cheech Marin and scored by Ry Cooder and Lalo Guerrero, Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story combines contemporary interviews with archival footage and [John] Normark's haunting black-and-white photographs to reclaim and celebrate a beloved community of the past."