chapter  1
“Alabama on Avalon” Rethinking the Watts Uprising and the Character of Black Protest in Los Angeles
ByJeanne Theoharis
Pages 28

On February 20, 1941, posting signs that read “This is no coon’s day,” a mob of white students held a mock lynching on the front lawn of Fremont High School. 4 Five hundred teenagers gathered around a bonfire to burn six black students in effigy, having circulated a poster that explained, “We want no niggers in this school. This is a white man’s school. Go to your own school and leave us to ours.”Located in South Los Angeles, Fremont High School had been built in the 1920s as a haven for white students when black migration to the city was integrating these neighborhoods. Well into the 1930s, white

students performed minstrel shows as part of the high school’s entertainment. Thus, the presence of six African American students desegregating Fremont High School in 1941 was unprecedented and, for many white families, unwanted.