Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

2/19/2012

A bit of forgotten history

Filed under: — stan @ 10:52 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sightseeing trip to Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles to visit the grave of Lincoln Perry. Mr Perry was the first black movie star, and he is remembered for his character, “Stepin Fetchit”. His movies are rarely seen any more, and when they are, most of his performance is edited out. His character embodied all the worst racial stereotypes of the day, and he’s widely regarded as an embarrassing footnote now. But still, he was the first black actor to become a millionaire in the movies. So his is a conflicted legacy.

We rode south through San Marino and San Gabriel, and then west along the 60 freeway to get to East Los Angeles. When we got to the cemetery, there was a guard at the entrance. He said we couldn’t just go riding in there, but we explained why we were there, and he was very accommodating. He led us to the section that findagrave.com had told us was where Stepin Fetchit was buried, and he helped us look for the grave marker. But after about 10 minutes of all of us walking around looking, we couldn’t find it. So there is a distinct possibility that his grave is unmarked. The guard told us that we could call the office during the week and ask them, and they would know.

After the sightseeing stop, we headed west to downtown Los Angeles. We rode across the 4th Street bridge, which gave us a very nice view of all the skyscrapers where I’ve had the incomparable experience of climbing the stairs. Then we turned south, where we saw a test train running on the new Metro Expo Line.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont Village. And after that, we headed home by way of Benton Way in Silver Lake, and then up Figueroa Street.

It was a nice, if slightly-longer-than-usual ride.

49 miles.

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