Black History Month Spotlight: Luis and Maria Quintero, Pobladores and L.A. Pioneers

Every weekday this month, we’re profiling fascinating figures from L.A.’s Black history

For a running list of all our 2021 Black History Month profiles, click here.

In 1781, Luis and Maria Quintero of Guadalajara were the last people to sign up to settle the new Spanish colonial town of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles. Luis, a 55-year-old tailor by trade, was the son of an enslaved African, and much older than most of the 44 settlers, known collectively as “Los Pobladores.” The couple probably joined to be near three of their daughters, who had married soldiers who were attached to the expedition.

Though Quintero was initially revered as an elder, serving as godfather to Native Californians forcibly converted to Christianity, he seems to have run afoul of L.A. officials. In 1782, he was banished from L.A. along with two other settlers, “sent away as useless to the pueblo and themselves.” The Quinteros then settled in Santa Barbara, where Luis served as master tailor to the soldiers stationed there until his death in 1810. Despite their patriarch’s banishment, many of his descendants stayed in Los Angeles, and became respected members of L.A.’s early community.

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