Sam Haskins (1846-1895): He Answered His Last Alarm, Part One

Editor’s note:  Rudy Martinez, a Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member and frequent contributor to this blog, provides another fascinating story of the community’s history with this post about Sam Haskins, the first black member of the Los Angeles Fire Department.  The three-part post begins with some background on Haskins up to and including…

From Boyle Heights to Beijing: Lotus Blossom Blog Post Appears in Chinese Film Journal

Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member and frequent contributor to this blog, Rudy Martinez, put together a fascinating multi-part post a little over two years ago on the 1920s silent film Lotus Blossom, the first Chinese-American movie and which was filmed in Boyle Heights. After Rudy’s post was published, contact was made by Dr.…

The Russians of the Flats of Boyle Heights Go to the Movies, Part Three

This third part of the series by Rudy Martinez on Russians in Boyle Heights and their role in early Hollywood looks at some of the films in which so-called Molokans and fictional representations of the community appeared.In the summer of 1915, Majestic Studios released the first film to acknowledge the presence of a Russian community…

The First Lady of Modern Music: Boyle Heights’ Hadda Brooks, Part 4

Introduction:  This concludes the four-part post on pianist/singer Hadda Brooks by Rudy Martinez, a member of the advisory board for the Boyle Heights Historical Society.  Rudy did a great deal of research and put together an interesting and informative history of a significant local musical figure.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this history of a…

The First Lady of Modern Music: Boyle Heights’ Hadda Brooks, Part 3

Introduction:  Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member Rudy Martinez is the author of this fascinating multi-part post on pianist/singer Hadda Brooks, who lived in Boyle Heights much of her life.  We pick up the story with Hadda becoming a recognized local performer on the new Modern Music record label.Hadda Brooks, who was from Boyle…

The First Lady of Modern Music: Boyle Heights’ Hadda Brooks, Part 2

Introduction:  Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member Rudy Martinez is the author of this fascinating multi-part post on pianist/singer Hadda Brooks, who lived in Boyle Heights much of her life.  We pick up the story with Hadda completing her education and embarking on her budding musical career. Hadda Brooks, who was raised in Boyle…

The First Lady of Modern Music: Boyle Heights’ Hadda Brooks, Part 1

Introduction:  Boyle Heights Historical Society Advisory Board member Rudy Martinez returns with another great post on the history of the community–this one relating to the pianist Hadda Brooks. The post will be presented in several parts, starting with an introduction to Brooks’ early life in Boyle Heights. In April 1945 the three enterprising Bihari brothers…