Two famed murals depicting the history of African-Americans were created for the lobby of the Golden State Mutual Life building at Western and Adams in 1948. The epic work of artists Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff is of great interest to the Smithsonian Institution and when the insurance company went bust in 2009 and was forced to sell their art collection and other assets, the museum put in a bid on the piece. At the same time, their landmark headquarters at Western and Adams, in the heart of the West Adams historic district, was designated a city monument, which complicated the sale. On Saturday, the shuttered building will be reopened and the murals on display, perhaps for the last time in their original site-specific setting, at a tour and open house that took the combined powers of the California African-American Museum, the Mural Conservancy, Los Angeles Conservancy and West Adams Heritage Association to pull off. Visit the building and the mural and hear about Golden State, the first life insurance company owned by African-Americans west of the Mississippi. Click here for tickets and information. The ticket price also includes a copy of the new book West Adams’ Landmarks of African American History, so you’ll know where to visit when the tour is over.
Photograph by City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources