Since our nation's birth, Pacoima has become a microcosm of America's social development and evolution. Now a comprehensive book about one of Los Angeles' oldest towns has released. "The Entrance: Pacoima's Story" by Crystal Jackson is a fascinating study of American history viewed through the evolution of this historic town.
The highly anticipated book has captivated readers and critics alike with its powerful visual narrative documenting Pacoima's history. The book has received glowing reviews with the Los Angeles Daily News publishing a great article on Christmas Eve. Read Article
Officially founded in 1887, Pacoima has a compelling history that pre-dates America. Once called Pacoinga, it was sacred Indian land until Spanish colonization in the late 18th century. From the Mission era and genocide of the area's natives, into becoming among the country's first suburban minority communities, this town's diverse cultural history is unlike any other. Jackson's powerful book peels back this historic town's jaw-dropping layers to expose the provocative racial threads binding American history.
"As some in America strived to contain and diminish people of color, time after time, Pacoima broke free and flew to unimaginable heights," said the book's author Crystal Jackson. "Over the past 150 years, its unique divergence of cultures, including Native, Latino, Black, Japanese, and White, has defied all odds."
Jackson has spent five years researching the town and interviewed dozens of current and former residents. US Congressman Tony Cárdenas, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Calif. Secretary of State, Alex Padilla are among the many people raised in Pacoima that Jackson are among those included. She also interviewed 90-year-old residents, Indian chiefs, Mexican migrants, families of Japanese internment camp survivors, and civil rights leaders who vividly described the town's growth and evolution.
In 2016, Jackson completed a film called PacoimaStories "Land of Dreams" that received a nomination for Best Feature Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival.
"This book is an extension of the film which covers the town's 1500-year history. It also dispels the narrative that Pacoima is all drugs and crime," said Jackson. "When you see all the talented, good, successful people that came from Pacoima, it really blows your mind."
Ritchie Valens, Heisman Trophy winner Charles White, Danny Trejo, World Boxing Champ Bobby Chacon, and Grammy winner Andráe Crouch all grew up in the small town of Pacoima. Their triumphant tales are just a few of the fascinating stories.
"Story after story is awe-inspiring," stated Lon Grandison, president of BAIT-CAL Publishing. "The book features hundreds of vintage photos that clearly outline the authentic history and growth of a real American town. It reveals irrefutable stories that redefine the social development of America's minority populace."
This book is over 600 pages with hundreds of photographs to tell the many stories that Pacoima holds.
What bothered me the most was that I couldn't put all the stories in one book. There were just too many," Jackson said.
"The funny part is — I was once embarrassed to say Pacoima was my hometown...even though I knew its reputation didn't reflect my experience. Pacoima wasn't perfect and had problems, but we always saw the greatness. Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Heisman winners, all-stars, world champions, and the list goes on and on. How can that be ignored?" Jackson said.
The Entrance: Pacoima's story is available at Amazon. Signed copies of the book can be purchased on the Pacoima Historical Society website