Getting Their Stories Straight

The following year, after World War I unraveled the first plans to develop the peninsula, “preliminary drawings were submitted to the investment group for an exclusive planned community reminiscent of Mediterranean villages.” [10] The Vanderlip mansion was designed in 1916 and built in the following years. [8] My aunt’s nickname, when in 1938 she moved from San Pedro High School to Anaheim High for her senior year, was “Pedro.” My father also attended San Pedro High School for a while — at his mother’s insistence. But Mrs. Would accreditation have required her graduates to be qualified for the California university system? Was Mrs. JANUARY 31, 2021

HOW COULD THERE even have been, in my native (and presumably eternally progressive) Southern California, a blackface event for my mother to agree to participate in? Soon her sons began returning home, minutes after starting out for school, complaining of being sick to their stomachs. But was affluence the only thing they wanted to remove from our realm? Vanderlip who completed the transaction? Her memoir indicates that “A Drama For the Ages” (a Biblical play) ran every year, and the school also annually produced a Gilbert and Sullivan, although it’s unclear when this tradition began. The eldest child, Dad was two years behind his sister because he’d left school in 1934 when he was 14 to begin contributing to the family income. Still, she tap-danced a line in the middle to satisfy that same conservative community. Or was it actually the enlightened Mrs. Searching the caption led to one hit, providing the name of a 1930s play, Mamba’s Daughters, written by DuBose Heyward (who also wrote the novel Porgy and adapted it into Porgy and Bess). He and a consortium of investors purchased the peninsula, and “later created a master plan to develop the entire area.” That “master plan” must have included the aforementioned Palos Verdes Protective Restrictions. ¤
[1] https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-may-30-me-42577-story.html
[2] https://sundown.tougaloo.edu/sundowntownsshow.php?state=CA
[3] https://sundown.tougaloo.edu/sundowntownsshow.php?id=1093
[4] John Kent, “The Hidden History of Culver City Racism.”  https://la.streetsblog.org/2019/04/05/the-hidden-history-of-culver-city-racism/#_edn15
[5] Instructions to 1930 Census Takers on Counting People by Race https://www.pewsocialtrends.org
[6] John Kent, “The Hidden History of Culver City Racism.”  https://la.streetsblog.org/2019/04/05/the-hidden-history-of-culver-city-racism/#_edn15
[7] IBID
[8] https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-may-30-me-42577-story.html
[9] A Dipperful of Humanity, by Margaret Chadwick. [7]

San Pedro, California, is not listed as a Sundown Town of any level of possibility. Dad would have been the only one of us to meet the departure with disappointment, despondency, or even despair, although so stoic it’s possible no one noticed, certainly none of his four under-seven-year-old children. Vanderlip is eager to find the right person to establish a school on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.” Mrs. But she gives no stories of another type that were part of our parents’ lore: children of the rich/famous who struggled with alcohol, drugs, and basic wild entitlement, plus the responses from parents (it was rage, and it was Edward G. Chadwick maneuvered to let Vanderlip know about her fledgling school in San Pedro, and then arranged to meet with him. Either call it the end of the first half, or the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. At least one student was Catholic, and not rich.           

In February 1938, when Chadwick Seaside School opened in its new, and current, location on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the janitor from the San Pedro site was invited to move to Palos Verdes as well. Possibly there was one. Located near the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro was heavily populated with dockworkers whose union hall had been attacked by Klan members in 1927. Chadwick’s written history. Did she ever become aware of the covenants with racial barriers in the property Vanderlip’s project had sold, not to mention the project manager’s virulently racist rants included in 1922 advertisements for the land trust? Before 1964, before Black activists had an impact taking on blackface, the “mass commercialized amateur minstrelsy” was evident at Chadwick School. The photo captions on this yearbook drama page seem as though written by someone who had no idea the actual title of the performance. This is the general opinion of all boards in the state. Chadwick enrolled the children into public school. In Mrs. An impossible range of ages in each classroom, a mixture of languages and races, a distraught teacher obviously unable to cope with the situation, in fact a coughing, tubercular, nervous wreck.” So, “When Chadwick Open-air School began in the playroom leading out to the garden, we were four pupils and one teacher.” Mrs. The following year (1936–’37), the original four-pupil school was renamed Chadwick Seaside School and was housed in a rented residence in San Pedro, with two additional students (the children of two naval officers) added to the roll. The Mazza family first lived there upon arrival in California. We also were not the ones who had to adjust from a private academy’s high school chemistry and physics classes to rudimentary math in a suburban public junior high. For whatever reason, Mrs. Chadwick’s memoir, the school in Palos Verdes did represent “a wide diversity of races, religions, riches.” The photographs she includes in her book do not bear out the first of this claim. His story was that as Chadwick School sought accreditation, the founders worried they might not have enough graduates go to college (to prove the school worthy of accreditation) and thus offered him not only an education but also a ride to the University of California. I wonder if Dad didn’t remember — chose not to remember — that he attended Chadwick School and graduated in the first class on the barter system; that he had continued to do janitorial work for his board and tuition? Chadwick directed other productions or had anything to do with the blackface production in the 1948 yearbook. Finally in 1968 they were deemed illegal). However, the letter granting accreditation specifically points out that graduates starting in 1941 had “the privileges that go with the status of accrediting.” So Dad’s high school education was not accredited. Years later, our parents said they chose to remove us from the influences and peer groups found at the private boarding academy where they lived and taught, where the majority of other denizens were offspring of the apex of wealth and power. Undoubtedly the memories of what he was told at the time, and was told when he was applying to college, and was told later when he returned to the “Chadwick family” as a teacher, and in all his years as an alumni of the first class, would be conflated and unreliable. On the drama page of the 1948 Chadwick yearbook, two of the six photographs show blackface performances. One that had closed on Broadway in 1939? She chaired the New York State of Women Voters in the early 1900s and recruited Eleanor Roosevelt to serve on her board. … Segregated education depends upon and feeds upon segregated churches, segregated businesses, segregated recreational facilities, and segregated neighborhoods.” — Raymond W. But Mrs. Future quotations from this book will be sans serif in boxed text
[10] https://southbay.goldenstate.is/the-vanderlips-at-100/
[11] “[B]oth the University of California and California State University systems, require a diploma from an accredited high school,” https://www.educationnext.org/k-12-accreditations-next-move-storied-guarantee-looks-to-accountability-2-0/
  Chadwick’s husband was a lieutenant commander in the US Navy and assigned to the USS Nevada in Los Angeles Harbor. Yet this circle is closing. All I can do is zig-zag through some of the(ir) stories, both oral and passed down and written in unreliable first-person memoir. Chadwick’s account’s selectivity glossed over the issue of discipline. He did do that, but not until after World War II and finishing his education at San Francisco State College in spring 1949. I see I’ve closed another circle. She gives examples of what might earn a student a demerit, requiring extra work: leaving one’s room dirty, cutting class, etc. Chadwick claims the opening of the new school site incited op-ed questions (no amount of searching press archives in Los Angeles County verifies this). Vanderlip’s donation of the land, sometime between 1936 and 1937, so that Chadwick School could move to Palos Verdes in January 1938, is mystifying. Together they greatly influenced ending child labor, developing pensions for the elderly, full citizenship for women and federal aid for education.”Vanderlip rescued the purchase of the Palos Verdes peninsula when an investment group almost defaulted; he did not see the land until 1913 when the sale was final. In fairness, my narrative also suffers from the unreliability of authorial selection. To partially validate Dad’s version, when the board of Chadwick School sponsored Dad’s enrollment — paying, essentially just for his dorm, although he also worked as a janitor in a sorority house — they either wanted all of their graduates in college for their accreditation application, or they needed one in a California public university. If suddenly we were in suburbia instead of a rural seaside nirvana, it meant someone to the left had a pool, someone to the right had two Basset Hounds, someone across the street had a World War II parachute as a toy — we held the edges, threw it up, and ran underneath, feeling we were each lost and alone in separate cavities of white silk. How fast this took place, and when, is uncertain, but the name change from “open-air school” to “seaside school” in the second year is telltale. I wonder how he didn’t cry himself to sleep at night. Vanderlip’s initial vision of a school on his property. So he’d returned to teach the same years as the 1950 blackface faculty basketball team. And had my mother, or any of the members of the 1950 faculty basketball team, seen this enactment? The 1940 census shows that my grandfather already lived in the house he owned on Vine Street in Anaheim (how he was able to buy a house in only four years after losing his Brooklyn house and business in the Depression, remains a mystery). Seeking accreditation, Mrs. Religions and “riches” don’t show up as well in photographs. San Pedro: Anchor Press. Perhaps there was another layer to the barter system: an agreement that Dad would come back to Chadwick to teach after completing his degree. It was time to leave before we made more than just childish alliances. His wife, notably, “worked tirelessly to champion women’s rights, education, wartime relief projects and the New York Infirmary, where she presided over the board for many years. But my two older sisters had already started in Chadwick classrooms, with schoolmates such as Dino Martin and Yul Brynner’s son Rock, and I would be in kindergarten there in another year. Thus Mr. My grandparents, who’d immigrated to New York in the first decade of the 20th century, migrated west to California in 1936. Barnes credits African American women activists who were so
horrified to discover that the music, poems, literature and plays to which their children were exposed [in newly desegregated schools] were forms of amateur blackface minstrelsy, [t]hey ran a national media campaign and filed legal cases to ban blackface performance, dress-up, and texts from schools and government institutions. Chadwick’s book does not fill in this information; she only details Mr. [1927] [4]
Until 1930, Mexicans, the dominant Hispanic national origin group, had been classified as white. And at Chadwick Seaside Academy in Palos Verdes, the faculty basketball team of 1950 wasn’t the only occasion — two other blackface incidents are shown in the school’s 1948 yearbook. In Mrs. It seems, then, unlikely that in 1937 or ’38, the media would question Chadwick’s plans for diversity. At least I’m pretty sure he didn’t return home in the morning, after only driving around the block, and throw up his breakfast. The attempt to ban blackface through the courts was not successful, but the activists’ effort largely pushed the “mass-commercialized empire of amateur blackface minstrelsy” out of popular use (until its more recent resurgence). Chadwick was told (she gives no specific credit for the quote), “Mr. Was the caption really a direct reference to the title of the enactment, and, if not, how would the caption writer know of these obscure lyrics? In 1959, Mom and Dad moved their four children off the Chadwick School property and 100 miles south to San Diego. While the other 10 graduates may have attended private (and out-of-state) universities, Dad attended the University of California, which was free to residents. Still, our parents determined it would be best for us if they left Chadwick. Chadwick says, was “an arduous task,” and she felt she “was fighting the battle of Jericho to gain recognition for students of Chadwick to enter the colleges of their choice.” If the privileges of accreditation would begin for the class of 1941, then the struggle to help graduates be able to be acknowledged as qualified by colleges would have only involved the first class of 1940. When the commander’s family joined him in San Pedro, from Colorado where their children attended a private day school, Mrs. Chadwick asked the hypothetical question so she could (finally?) make her defense, and maybe a tacit acknowledgment that she had been aware of the exclusionary intent of Vanderlip’s planned development. ¤
Cris Mazza is a novelist and essayist. The other …

I think these are boys, but their gender is inconsequential, except that men dressing as women for dramatic parodies is problematic in similar ways. Were there any common denominators? Both my parents’ memories and Mrs. The footnote-referenced list of Sundown Towns in California names Anaheim as Possible, and nearby towns Orange and Garden Grove as Probable, but Santa Ana rates as Surely. Chadwick’s listings of traditions and policies can be found much of the foundations for how our parents raised us. While Mrs. Did they make the selection as an excuse, as a vehicle, for doing a blackface performance? Back at the notorious Los Angeles Realty Board, almost immediately after the landmark 1948 decision that supposedly made racially restrictive property agreements impotent, someone was already drafting a constitutional amendment to guarantee property owners the right to establish and maintain racial barriers in covenants. This is not proof that Mrs. [5]
This paring of historical documents validates an urban legend that there was a time and location in 20th-century California when persons of Italian descent (or immigrants from Italy) had to prove they were Italian, and not Mexican. Chadwick’s definition of the benefits of diversity are outmoded, at least the concept of interracial dating isn’t unthinkable. Among others, Liza Minnelli, Christina Crawford (Mommie Dearest), Maureen Reagan, and George Burns’s son Ronnie lived in this communal environment. Barnes determined that blackface declined in the 1930s, then (temporarily) ended following school desegregation rulings in the 1960s. Dr. A “Mexican” race category was added in the 1930 census. Time to stop saying I had no idea … That California was rife with the KKK in the 1920–’30s, infiltrating police forces and town councils, posting signs that read “Caucasian-only” at city limits; [1] that the list of suspected Sundown Towns in California numbers well over 100, that one of those town councils agreed to (and did) burn down an ethnic part of their city when one case of leprosy was discovered; [2] that in the 1950s the first African American teacher in the Magnolia School District (Orange County), was forced to quit one year later because she could not obtain housing; that a corporation in the 1920s and ’30s, bidding to attract residents to a new development in Palos Verdes — the town adjacent to Chadwick School’s property — published a booklet entitled The Palos Verdes Protective Restrictions, which stated “no person not of the white race (except servants and students) shall use or occupy any part of the property.” [3]
The advent of “segregation academies” was a phenomenon of the 1960s, mostly in the South, following Title VI in 1964, and nothing I can locate uses that term for private schools in California. The compromise between his parents was Dad’s part-time job as a janitor for a start-up private school in San Pedro. And did she already know this or have this plan when she invited him to graduate in Chadwick’s first class? “The repetition of this violent protest each day brought me to the school to find out what was wrong. After a rural farm upbringing in Illinois, Frank Vanderlip lived a Horatio Alger life in New York, eventually becoming an influential banker and assistant secretary of the treasury. So many practical reasons to do this: the small size of faculty housing at Chadwick, the low faculty pay when faculty lived in campus. Chadwick became an early pioneer in modern homeschooling as an alternative to public schools. Chadwick’s memoir suggest there was something different about Chadwick School from the stock image of “private boarding school” (e.g., Exeter, Choate, Westover). Mrs. Kraemer in 1948 made them unenforceable. Mack, “School Desegregation: Case Studies of Conflict and Change.” [1968]
The Los Angeles Realty Board recommends that Realtors should not sell property to other than Caucasian in territories occupied by them. “Chadwick Open-air School was established on September 16, 1935, in the comfortable little home my husband had rented on Le Grande Terrace, San Pedro.” [9] Mrs. In 2020, a hundred-year-old mansion on the Palos Verdes peninsula was put up for sale by its heirs. Robinson) when such students were expelled. Chadwick School predates Title VI (1964), which determined no private school can discriminate on the basis of race or it would lose nonprofit status. Perhaps, when she wrote in 1978, Mrs. 1978. After the 1936 move from Brooklyn to California, Dad’s father had wanted him to continue working to help support the family; the younger kids could get an education. Mamba’s Daughters was called the “swing Mikado” in the 1939 review (above). In addition, habitually, The Mikado has been cast with Caucasians, now scathingly termed yellowface. Were the other graduates simply not interested in a public university? Sundown Towns existed largely in the ’20s and ’30s, yet during World War II, at a meeting of the air raid wardens in Culver City, California, while planning to canvass the city to encourage people to abide by blackout policy, the wardens were “instructed […] that when they went door to door, they should also circulate documents in which homeowners promised not to sell or rent to African Americans.” [6] Racial restrictions had been sewn into deeds from the beginning of the century until the Supreme Court case that made such restrictions illegitimate (Shelley v. One seems clearly an Al Jolson replication. Probably the first such residence on the peninsula, it was built by Frank Vanderlip, a banker who’d also been assistant secretary of the treasury in the final years of the 19th century. Plenty! Why did the “students applying to Western colleges” require a separate sentence? (Chadwick points out that the house was owned by “an immigrant.”) It might have been this school year, or more likely the next, that the son of an immigrant became the school’s janitor. Chadwick didn’t specify the date she began seeking accreditation. But this one seemed like it could have been a “mass produced” play sold to a high school. The Mikado contains a song called “Three Little Maids From School.” Chadwick School did a production of The Mikado in 1959 (was this their second such production of this particular operetta?). But Dad’s story isn’t borne out by Mrs. Chadwick simply reporting what Vanderlip said? Chadwick School did get accredited in spring of 1941, just a year after the first graduating class. Was matriculation at a public university necessary (or helpful) in accreditation because those requirements couldn’t (at least at that time) be bent and/or influenced by power and money as might be the case at private colleges? Both the 1930 and 1940 census list the Mazzas as White. The Mikado is now controversial every time it is staged, regarded as “oriental fetishism,” an objectification and caricaturization of Japanese culture. Deed and Covenant Restrictions probably are the only way that the matter can be controlled; and Realty Boards should be interested. [11]
Is this actually the function she needed from Dad? Her most recent nonfiction book is Something Wrong with Her, and most recent novel is Yet to Come (2020). She gives an example of what earned two students the use of the paddle she had made-to-order by the shop teacher: bullying, fighting. That spring semester of 1938, Dad would have been 17 and finishing his sophomore year. Japanese farmers given permission to farm their own land, narrated without a trace of irony, even given the Japanese internment camps had already taken place at the time of her writing. Likely she would have to at least begin gathering information on the process as early as 1937 when she knew she was building a school on donated property in Palos Verdes. But the senior Vanderlip, referred to as “The Father of Palos Verdes,” who bought the property and was involved with the (nefarious) plans for development, died in 1937. Did the drama club at Chadwick really choose to perform Mamba’s Daughters, a play meant for a Black cast? The play was said to have “a unique perspective not only of Charleston’s racial tensions, but also of the unique subculture shared by Charleston’s elite whites and poorer blacks.” Despite what would now be called appropriation, the novel wasn’t meant as a burlesque swipe at Blacks, and the play, notwithstanding the deplorable lyrics, was cast in African American performers. We weren’t formed enough to mourn the rolling hills of native flora, the agrarian fields and herds of sheep, the quiet dark nights, the maturing fruit trees and rabbit hutches and large vegetable patch our father had to leave behind and start over in a backyard itself no bigger than his former garden plot. Probably during the second year of Chadwick School in San Pedro, at a luncheon hosted by a woman who would become one of the foundation teachers two years later (this timing is left unexplained), Mrs. In 1948, the San Pedro Sun-Pilot ran a brief announcement that Chadwick School had presented “A Drama for the Ages,” directed by Margaret Lee Chadwick, who also stood on the top row, far right in the 1950 faculty basketball team photo. “Racial segregation in schools is an institutional complex.