History

History of AFSC Los Angeles 1942 - 1959

Material Aid

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

1942
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

This House Not for Sale

Children supporting the This House Not For Sale program

This House Not for Sale was a project growing out of concerns of residents of northwest Pasadena and was an effort to help stabilize changing neighborhoods and keep property values at their current levels. Householders who intended to stay where they lived were encouraged to display the signs. The project (carried out in conjunction with All Peoples Christian Church in Los Angeles) was a precursor to further AFSC efforts through its Fair Housing Program.

Quakers and Doukhobors: Common Ground and Crossing Paths

Perhaps it was inevitable that Quakers and the Doukhobors of Russia would cross paths somewhere in history. Both groups share a belief in pacifism and the existence of God's spirit within each person. They also share a history of persecution for their beliefs and are commonly known by names that started out as derogatory. When the Doukhobors ran into difficulties with their government in Russia and later in Canada, assistance came from London and Philadelphia Friends and later from the American Friends Service Committee. This is the story of what took place.

Prince Edward County School Closings

In 1959 Shirley turned 6 years old. Her excitement grew as fall approached because she would be going to school for the first time. What she didn't understand was that 1959 was to be different. The US Federal Court had ordered Prince Edward County, Virginia, where Shirley lived, to desegregate its schools. And the county school board, rather than integrate their system as ordered, closed all the public schools.

Taken Prisoners by the Viet Cong

At 28, Marjorie Nelson was a doctor on the staff of AFSC's Quang Ngai Rehabilitation Center in Vietnam. After months of working for long hours with little free time and constant reminders of the human tragedy of the war, Marge was pleased to take a vacation to the city of Hué during the Tet holidays. On January 29, 1968, she set off for a week's visit with Sandra Johnson, a friend at a volunteer agency in Hué. However, both women disappeared shortly after Marge arrived. On February 9, a secretary from the U.S.

1949 Relief Efforts in Gaza

It's often cold and rainy in the Gaza Strip in February, and 1949 was no different. The pelting winter rains had arrived and so had Al Holtz.

Al recalls stepping off the military train into Gaza town, "You couldn't see a thing. Jet black. Kelly [Peckham] and I jumped off the train with our little satchels and stood there and looked around a minute. There were something close to a quarter million refugees in Gaza by the time we arrived, plus the local population."

"Who Save One Life."

The Email message read, "Can you help me by locating in your records the name of a monastery in France where I was hidden?" It explained that Quakers in the South of France had helped the writer during World War II.

They Served Without Weapons: The Guinea Pig Experiments

In 1940, an act of the U.S. Congress created Civilian Public Service for men who were conscientiously opposed to serving in the military. The intent was to organize "work of national importance under civilian direction," so conscientious objectors (COs) could give meaningful alternative service.

Our Day in the German Gestapo

Sixty-two years ago, three Quakers, Rufus Jones, George Walton, and Robert Yarnall, representatives of the American Friends Service Committee, traveled to Germany in response to the Day of Broken Glass. On November 10, 1938, Jews in Germany were attacked, beaten, arrested, and their businesses and synagogues vandalized and burned. The shattered glass gave its name to the event.

Horses, Cows, and Typhus

In 1919, the new Polish government asked members of the Religious Society of Friends to help stop an outbreak of typhus. The epidemic was caused by refugees who brought it with them when they returned to claim their farmland after World War I. During the war, many farmers and villagers had hastily evacuated the countryside when Germans advanced into the area, devastating large parts and turning them into battlefields. The people who owned the land had fled to the east to parts of Russia.

Who we are

AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more

Where we work

AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.

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