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History of AFSC Los Angeles 1942 - 1959

History of AFSC Los Angeles 1942 - 1959

Children gathered on the lawn of the Material Aids warehouse

Children gather on the lawn of the Material Aids warehouse at 110 N. Hudon, Pasadena. In 1953, the AFSC office would move to an adjacent lot at 825 E. Union. Photo: Stanley Hall Steele

Photo: Stanley Hall Steele

AFSC "Southern California Branch" (later to be known as "Pacific Southwest Region") office was established in Pasadena, along with similar regional offices in San Francisco and Seattle. That year, the office moved to 544 E. Orange Grove Blvd., into what was then a small house adjoining Orange Grove Friends Meeting. David E. Henley was Executive Secretary of the Southern California Branch until 1946.

1942 - 1945
Southern California Quakers actively protested the US government decision to evacuate all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast; staffed temporary hostels for families evicted from their homes; brought messages, mail, gifts, supplies, and solidarity to internment camps; and staffed the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, which enabled Japanese-American young people to continue their education.

1944 – 1952
The AFSC office was at 426 N. Raymond, near the location, at that time, of First Friends Church in Pasadena.

1944 – 1963
Material Aids programs provided humanitarian relief for victims of war along with opportunities for thousands of students and community volunteers who sorted, sewed, mended, and knit bales of clothing to be shipped all over the world.

1946 – 1955
Whittier Institute of International Relations - This weeklong summer program on the campus of Whittier College brought together 100- 250 participants from several states to immerse themselves in such topics as "Racial Tensions and World Unity." They heard from speakers with varied backgrounds and diverse viewpoints, but it was the "impassioned speakers for peace" that stood out during those early Cold War years. The Institute was revived in the 1980s, becoming the AFSC Institute for International Understanding.

1947 – 1970s
Native American programs - AFSC sent relief supplies to Navajo communities following a disastrous blizzard, and supported the Los Angeles Indian Center to offer job, housing, and medical referrals; emergency food and clothing; and social and recreational activities to help Indians adjust to urban life.  This was accompanied by work with Native tribes to promote justice and self-reliance.

1950 – Present
Youth programs - Since the 1950s, AFSC has sponsored work camps with projects ranging from building and refurbishing housing to cleaning up the environment, tutoring programs, College-age get-togethers, and opportunities for Quaker youth to mingle with others from diverse backgrounds.

1950 – 1970
Weeklong Family Camp retreats brought together the widespread AFSC "family" to share creativity and recreation while building community across racial and geographic boundaries.  At Family Camp, they learned from people knowledgeable about both world affairs and family dynamics, who drew important parallels between peace at home and abroad, and introduced new concepts like "ecology" and "appropriate development."

1951 – 1965
Edwin A. Sanders was Executive Secretary.

Our Home Rodina - The AFSC helped a group of Displaced Persons from Russia to purchase an abandoned 17-acre farm in Glendora, where they cleared the land for farming, built cooperative housing, and sponsored summer camps for Russian refugee children.  The cooperative changed over the years and the land was sold in 1976.

1953 – 1963
The offices were located at 825 E. Union Street, just west of Lake Avenue in Pasadena, in a building formerly used by the Brethren Church. (In the photo to the left, the AFSC office was located in the smaller structure to the right; the main structure served as the AFSC's Material Aids warehouse).

1958 – 1964
The Crenshaw House for ex-convicts—an innovative arrangement that assisted 169 male prison parolees who participated in decision-making and running their house as a way to transition back into mainstream society.  In 1965 the AFSC opened the Elizabeth Frye Center—the first halfway house for female ex-offenders, modeled on Crenshaw House.


History of AFSC in Los Angeles:  1917 to 1941 / 1942 to 1959 / 1960 to present