The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Multicultural Visions in Postwar Los Angeles: The ‘Monument to Democracy

Start Date and Time:

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 1:00PM

End Date and Time:

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 3:00PM


Prof. Russell Kazal

In September 1952, one of Los Angeles’ leading white liberals unveiled his vision of a multiracial democracy:  a plaster model of a proposed 480-foot-tall “Monument to Democracy,” made up of three massive figures representing the world’s races – white, black, and yellow – and together holding aloft an illuminated globe.  John Anson Ford never got to build this West Coast “companion” to the Statue of Liberty, but his extended campaign for it reveals how some Southern Californians in the 1940s and 1950s were hammering out regional variants of what would come by the 1970s to be called multiculturalism.  Ford’s plans drew on a welter of pluralistic ideologies that emerged in Los Angeles during and after the Second World War, that had deep roots in the local Anglo left and in Mexican-American, Japanese-American, and Black civil rights mobilizations, and that ultimately helped move American pluralist thinking beyond an earlier, Eurocentric focus to encompass notions of “diversity” tied to multiple categories of color.

All are welcome, but RSVP’s are requested to  by March 25.

Contact Information

Jayeeta Sharma

Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, UTSC


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Millard Sheets, sketch of Monument to Democracy for San Pedro, 1954
Adam Arenson, The Cultural Civil War (courtesy Alan Wofsy Fine Arts)