Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

Second Department


Reader 1

Wendy Cheng

Reader 2

Erich Steinman

Reader 3

Martha González

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Rights Information

© 2023 Elizabeth M Matos


Exploring the history and collective memories of Long Beach, CA through discourses of development and gentrification within its LGBTQ+ cultural district and the “Broadway Block”; comparisons of immigrant and Indigenous labor representations and educational curricula at Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos; and eyewitness accounts of Indigenous land protection, desecration, and litigation at Puvungna, the present emerges as a continuation of these processes and power dynamics. Illuminating the whitewashed and revisionist stories authored by people in power, I trace current struggles for space, protection, and visibility between minoritized groups and wealthy institutions back to the city’s colonial roots. Countering these historical processes, queer people of color in the LGBTQ+ Cultural District, immigrants of color at the Ranchos, and generations of Tongva and Acjachemen activists in this city at Puvungna and beyond have found and created their own ways of reclaiming their histories. Centering these counternarratives–knowledge produced by grassroots activists, tribal leaders, agricultural and domestic laborers, and scholars from these communities–I examine how these groups define their presents and presence in the city on their own terms, paying particular attention to their relationships with the land. Through a memory activist lens, I investigate and capture the essence of Long Beach as a whole, studying how these memories and historical facts fit together and come into conflict to create the complex story of the city.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.