History Podcasts

Leslie Compton

Leslie Compton

Leslie Compton was born in Woodford, Essex, on 12th September 1912. The brother of Dennis Compton, he played football for Hampstead Town before joining Arsenal as an amateur in 1930.

Compton made his league debut against Aston Villa on 25th April 1932. That season he played in four games, on each occasion he replaced the injured Tom Parker.

Over the next three seasons Compton only played as a replacement for the injured full-backs, Tom Parker, Eddie Hapgood and George Male: 1934-35 (5 games), 1935-36 (12 games), 1936-37 (15 games), 1937-38 (9 games) and 1938-39 (18 games). He also played as wicket keeper for Middlesex.

During the Second World War Compton served in the British Army. Converted to centre-half, Crompton was a regular member of the Arsenal first team in the 1946-47. He played in 35 games in Arsenal's championship winning team in the 1947-48 season. The following season he was a member of the Arsenal team that beat Liverpool to win the 1950 FA Cup Final.

Compton won his first international cap for England against Wales on 15th November 1950. At the age of 38 years and two months he became the oldest ever debutant for England. He also played in the game against Yugoslavia (2-2).

Compton continued as Arsenal's first team centre-half until the 1950-51 season. He retired in 1952. During his time at the club he scored six goals in 270 league and cup games. He continued to play cricket for Middlesex until 1956. Compton also worked as a coach at Highbury (1953-56).

Leslie Compton died on 27th December 1984.

In those days it was a selection committee which basically rewarded players who were good professionals, Sir Walter says. "It was a question of giving them the honour of playing for England, acknowledging their careers really. They were good players, obviously, who deserved recognition at international level, but not always when they got it. I remember when Leslie Compton, who had never won a cap, partly because of the war, was picked for one game as a mark of respect for him playing so long and so well, generally, for Arsenal. It wasn't on really, but that's the way it was - even though you're not going to build up a World Cup winning squad like that, are you?"


Leslie and Dennis Compton: Brothers at the Arsenal

Denis Compton CBE was born in Hendon on 23 May 1918 and died in Hendon on 23 April 1997. If we are to separate the Comptons somehow we’d call Denis a cricketer who played football, in contrast to his brother who was a footballer who played cricket. Denis played in 78 Test Matches and played for Middlesex – his home county. He was a slow left arm bowler, and cricket reports call him one of England’s most remarkable batsmen. He scored 123 centuries in first-class cricket. A stand at Lord’s is name in his honour.

Recent Posts

The books…

Other sites from the same team…

7 comments to Leslie and Dennis Compton: Brothers at the Arsenal

Denis’ grandson, Nick Compton, is currently playing for England in New Zealand, opening the batting. He’s scored two centuries in the series so far.

I dont know if u have typed it by mistake or not but it was’nt Denis who played at the age of 38. Leslie it was who made his debut and wrote his name in history.

During the 1939-1945 war lLeslie Compton played at Bradford park avenue and was on an occasion joined by his brother.

Please it was Leslie Compton with an ie not an ey. Few people could look less female than Les Compton and Denis only had one n which was quite sufficient

Arsenal have Denis as played 60 games and scored 16 goals for them, starting in all 60 games played.

My uncle who passed away on Monday and was a junior player on the playing staff in 1948-9 remembers the Comptons well and would regale me with stories of them and some of the other players.

Denis Compton was a all time great He lost his best years because of the war. Goodness how many records he would have broken . He had charm and was very good looking .At one point from 1946 to 1950 he scored 60 centuries took nearly 500 wickets 18000 runs and scored 12 test centuries Played for Arsenal, which he would have played far .All this was done with fun and sportsmanship He played all kinds of pitches with a light bat and very little protection . Lindwell and Miller were two of greatest fast bowlers ever also the quality of county cricket was far higher then it is today. The only improvement today is the fielding.. I did see him when I was a school boy. It is difficult to compare the greats , but Denis Compton would have been great in
any aria. I am not sure about some of the present day greats with heavy bats covered wickets short outfields and the bowling is of variable quality today. What would have Denis done to Shane Warne Or the present Indian slow bowlers . He had such a good eye he went down the pitch to fast bowlers He was a genius. The only batsman who played for England in recent years that came near to him was Graham Gooch David Gower and Kevin Peterson and he lacked Denis s Charm and sportsmanship.


About Leslie Compton

Leslie read her first book, Gone with the Wind, as a junior in high school. Her Mother let her stay in pajamas all of Christmas vacation, thrilled her daughter had finally picked up a book and was totally engrossed. She had had learning problems in school, making reading and spelling difficult and cumbersome. (Some years later Leslie was diagnosed with dyslexia which answered a lot of her questions.) Reading Margaret Mitchell's famous novel was a catalyst that encouraged her to push herself to read better and faster, enabling her to be accepted into and graduate from college.

Home computers came on the market in the 1980's. Spelling errors were highlighted with their corrections only a 'mouse' click away. A new creative spark was born. She no longer had to be embarrassed with her spelling errors Leslie could put her writing 'out in the world' with confidence.

Leslie began writing her first book twenty years ago after discovering a large section of her postcard collection, inherited from her Grandfather's cousin, originated from a sailor on the USS Virginia. He wrote to his sweetheart while sailing with Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. A longtime lover of American history, she quickly became fascinated with this major event. She spent years researching, visiting libraries and museums up and down the east and west coasts, and meeting like minds on the internet.

This book, Dearest Minnie, is now a reality. And it awakened seeds that had been dormant for years the need to write, to teach others about her writing, help people through difficult traumas. and sometimes to simply entertain and make people smile. Non-fiction and memoir writing sparked a passion, a desire to uncover information others might have missed. At this time Leslie feels as Winston Churchill did when he said, "The only thing that really scares me now is getting to the end before I finish".

Most of Leslie's adult life was spent as a professional musician while teaching elementary school, music, childbirth education and/or memoir writing. She loves to share and bring new insights to others and her books provide a path for that.

Besides writing, attending writing conferences and facilitating a critique group, Leslie both teaches and attends OLLI classes. When time allows you will find her with a book in hand, working with fabric art or quilting for kids in need and always making sure her humming bird feeder is full. What does she do for a mindless break? She plays solitaire on the computer while listening to soft melodic music when no one else is around.

Leslie has lived in Southern Oregon for the last fifteen years and enjoys the many walking trails available in her area. She has two wonderful, talented grown sons living outside the area and she is currently working on her fourth book.


Press Releases

Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story by Leslie Compton

GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. — Leslie Compton’s Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story is a wonderfully accurate portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt’s 43,000-mile, 14-month good will tour seldom told in depth in history books. Extrapolated from and including over 200 actual (collectible) postcards sent home to “Dearest Minnie,” this book is an engaging narrative as seen through the eyes of an enlisted sailor aboard the USS Virginia.

12 December 1907. One hundred ten years ago, Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet sailed into the history books. Comprised of sixteen battleships and manned by 14,000 sailors and marines under the command of Rear Admiral Robley “Fighting Bob” Evans, the American fleet set out from Hampton Roads, Virginia on 12 December 1907, to visit 20 ports on six continents before returning to Hampton Roads, Virginia on 22 February 1909.

Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story is an engaging written and pictorial narrative about the battleships, the political climate, the animals aboard ship, the various cultures, the entertainment, the unexpected mishaps as well as the budding romance between a Virginia sailor and his “Dearest Minnie.” The full-color collectible postcard images follow the fleet as it sails to each port. Included in the book is a detailed description of each card and photo.

Considered as one of the greatest peacetime achievements in US Navy history, Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story offers something for everyone: postcard collectors, history enthusiasts, and romantics. You only need a love for history and a desire to learn something new.

About the Author:

Retired professional musician, music teacher, elementary teacher and childbirth educator and has taught several courses on memoir writing. While researching the Great White Fleet, Compton wrote an article for the Post Card Collector. She is an instructor for a six-week course through OLLI about the Great White Fleet. Compton is currently working on her fourth book, living in Talent, Oregon.

LeslieCompton.com | Facebook: @leslie.momyer

For further information, interviews, media kit or proofs please contact:

Suzanne Parrott at First Steps Publishing
541-961-7641 or [email protected]
Book sale date: August 1, 2017

Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story by Leslie Compton | July 27, 2017

Welcome


I am happy you stopped by. Hope you enjoy my site and be sure to sign up (free) for free notification of my latest books.

Author Interview with Leslie Compton

BOOK RELEASE

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Interview with Leslie Compton, author of Dearest Minnie: A Sailor’s Story

Greg Gorga called Leslie to have a conversation about her book, Dearest Minnie: A Sailor’s Story and asked her some questions.

SBMM: What drew you to this story?
Leslie: When I was 10, I inherited a box of postcards from all over the world, which were in albums, from my grandfather’s cousin Minnie whom I had never met. I just think no one knew what to do with this collection, so they sent them to me.

Later in life, I became a collector of postcards and learned to remove the cards from the albums, to better protect them. When I put them in chronological order, I saw they all came from 1907-1910, and were signed with the same initials. This correspondence resulted in a proposal of marriage (You’ll need to read the book to see how that turns out).

I learned that the postcards were from the Great White Fleet tour, which I knew nothing about at the time. I spent the next six years researching the Great White Fleet, I visited the Library of Congress, Annapolis (home of the U.S. Naval Academy), and libraries in Boston and New York City. And I attended numerous postcard shows to add to my collection.

SBMM: What was the purpose of sending the Great White Fleet around the world?
Leslie: Teddy Roosevelt states that sending the Great White Fleet around the world was the most eventful act of his presidency. He was shaking the “Big Stick.” He once again wanted to show the world how powerful we were and to be the first to send a fleet of ships around the world. At the time, Japan had just won a war with Russia, and Roosevelt negotiated the peace between the two countries, in fact he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation efforts. But Japan was not happy with the results of that treaty they wanted Russia to pay reparations.

When the fleet arrived in Japan, they had their guns ready, because they did not know how they would be received. Also, at this time Germany was beginning to rise as a power, and England was not yet considered an ally of the U.S.

Roosevelt believed that war was imminent. At that time ships did not go out on long voyages, because they needed to re-supply with coal every ten days. Roosevelt believed that a strong navy would be vital in a time of war, and that the best time to prepare for war was during peacetime. The fleet was painted white to signify that they came in peace (the fleet was re-painted battleship grey upon its return to Virginia).

SBMM: What was it like for sailors aboard the Great White Fleet?
Leslie: The “Dearest Minnie” story is told by Maurice, who was a musician in the U.S. Navy with a First-Class rank, so he was a bit privileged. He was among the first to go ashore at various ports, he had to perform every other night, for dances and dinners and during coaling to help speed up the process. He got to see the world as the recruiting posters promised. A Third-Class sailor sometimes did not receive shore leave depending on his deportment and his cleanliness, for weeks at a time.

SBMM: How do postcards help to tell this story?
Leslie: They are visual, so they give a great feel for the world and what was happening then. Many were photographs, depicting unique places all around the world: ports, parks, and people. Others were drawn by artists and can be quite colorful. Postcard collecting was very popular back then, people placed cards into albums, and they became status symbols. You weren’t likely to be traveling around the world in those days, but you had these images from strange lands to study. Often the cards came in series, like battleships. And all of America was following the voyage of the Great White Fleet at that time. Roosevelt made sure that the press coverage was all very positive, showing the dinners, parades, and the great times these visits created.

SBMM: The Santa Barbara port visit was not all positive, was it?
Leslie: There were vendors who followed the fleet from San Diego to Seattle, in an effort to make a profit. In Santa Barbara there was price gouging by the local restaurants, which resulted in the sailors doing damage to one of the establishments. The residents of Santa Barbara were asked to strip their gardens of all their flowers to create a beautiful Flower Parade, which other cities around the world tried to replicate.

SBMM: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Leslie: This was a very exciting project, I love doing research and at the same time I was able to find out a lot about my family. I enjoy giving talks about this subject. So few people know much about the Great White Fleet, or this period in history. And I am very thankful for Lt. Commander, USN, James R. Reckner, (Ret), for his review of the manuscript.

Leslie Compton’s next book, “The Forgotten Artist,” is about her great-aunt Evylena Nunn Miller, a Southern California artist who has artwork museums all over the world, including the Smithsonian and the Bowers Museum. It will be out later this year.


Arsenal and testimonial games

After tweeting that Abou Diaby was celebrating his ninth year at Arsenal on Tuesday 13 January, someone pointed out that he is due a testimonial next year – if he has his contract renewed.

I was also asked if there was a list of Arsenal players that had been granted a testimonial. I wasn’t aware of one so I decided to put one together.

For those that aren’t aware, a testimonial can be granted to a player that has ten years unbroken service at the same club. This is irrespective of any loans, as he is still registered as a player of that club. Testimonials were introduced in the 1950s and, after a slow start, become a regular part of the fixture list during the 1970s and 1980s. The idea was to provide a financial bonus to a player coming to the end of his career. The testimonial. more often than not, involved a number of events throughout the year, the biggest usually being a game against attractive opponents, with the proceeds being handed over to the player. However, some players ended up out of pocket due to their club’s stinginess.

They have become less frequent these days as it is much less common for a player to spend ten years at a club and, with rocketing players’ wages, they generally don’t need that little extra (although Lee Hendrie and David James might think otherwise).

Prior to World War 1, players could be granted a benefit match after a specific number of years’ service (usually much fewer than ten years). The benefit match would be a League game where the takings at the gate would be handed over to the player. In many cases this could amount to a years’ salary for the player.

In 1904 the game against the FA Cup holders, Manchester City, was assigned as the Jimmy Jackson benefit game and proceeds amounted to £240. This was Jackson’s sixth season at the club but the crowd attendance was affected by heavy rain, and, as more had been expected for their popular captain, the directors generously saw to it that they gave him the whole gate money, not the percentage originally set aside.

Perhaps the most famous was Joe Shaw’s benefit game which coincided with Woolwich Arsenal’s last game at the Manor Ground in 1913. Joe had been promised £250 but only 3,000 turned up. The directors had to make up the shortfall from their own pockets.

Kentish Independent 2 May 1913

Coming back to more modern times, below is a list of testimonials and benefit games played at Arsenal for current or former Arsenal players.

Date Player Match type Opponents Score Attendance
20/05/1963 Jack Kelsey Testimonial Glasgow Rangers 2-2 33,007
12/03/1974 George Armstrong Testimonial Barcelona 1-3 36,099
09/12/1975 Peter Storey Testimonial Feyenoord 2-1 18,813
09/10/1976 Peter Simpson Testimonial Tottenham 1-2 19,456
10/05/1977 John Radford Testimonial Hajduk Split 5-0 14,152
22/11/1977 Pat Rice Testimonial Tottenham 1-3 17,154
25/11/1980 Sammy Nelson Testimonial Glasgow Celtic 0-0 20,149
08/05/1985 Pat Jennings Farewell Tottenham 2-3 25,252
05/08/1986 David O’Leary Testimonial Glasgow Celtic 0-2 29,376
13/10/1990 Graham Rix Testimonial Tottenham 2-5 14,806
27/04/1991 Ray Kennedy Benefit Liverpool 1-3 18,224
30/07/1991 Paul Davis Testimonial Glasgow Celtic 2-2 28,639
17/05/1993 David O’Leary Farewell Manchester United 4-4 22,117
13/08/1994 Tony Adams Testimonial Crystal Palace 1-3 12,348
10/11/1995 Alan Smith Benefit Sampdoria 2-0 17,145
08/05/1996 Paul Merson Benefit International Select XI 8-5 31,626
13/05/1997 Nigel Winterburn Testimonial Glasgow Rangers 3-3 20,022
08/11/1999 Lee Dixon Testimonial Real Madrid 3-1 22,486
22/05/2001 David Seaman Testimonial Barcelona 0-2 33,297
13/05/2002 Tony Adams Testimonial Glasgow Celtic 1-1 38,021
17/05/2004 Martin Keown Testimonial England XI 6-0 38,000
22/07/2006 Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial Ajax 2-1 54,000

Tony Adams is the only Arsenal player to have been granted two testimonials. The first was something of a debacle as it was played against unfashionable opponents on the weekend following the Makita Tournament at Highbury. His second proved much more successful.

All of these games were played at Highbury except for Dennis Bergkamp’s game which was the first to be played at The Emirates. Both teams comprised current and former players that Dennis had played with. This was often the case to help boost the attendance figures.

Needless to say he didn’t turn up.

Along with Diaby, Theo Walcott will also be due a testimonial next year as he signed a week after the unlucky Frenchman.

However, they will have to join the queue as two former players were, for whatever reason, not granted a testimonial. Ray Parlour signed professional in March 1991 and left for Middlesbrough 13 years later, whilst Johan Djourou just about made ten years before his move to Hamburg was finalised in July 2014.

My personal favourite was John Radford’s testimonial as I got to see some of the 1970-71 double-winning team play for the first time. And who can forget the games against Celtic where it seemed that half of Glasgow had descended upon North London?

Arsenal have also played in numerous testimonial and benefit games for non-Arsenal players. Some of these have been for former Arsenal players and these are listed below:

Date Player Match type Opponents Score
03/09/1951 George Cox Benefit Horsham 4-2
29/09/1952 Alex Wilson Benefit All Stars 2-4
15/05/1967 Bill Seddon Benefit Romford 3-1
17/10/1972 Bill Harper Testimonial Plymouth 1-1
06/11/1974 John Hollins Testimonial Chelsea 1-1
26/04/1976 Walley Barnes Benefit London XI v Welsh XI 0-1
23/11/1976 Pat Jennings Testimonial Tottenham 2-3
20/09/1977 Dave Bowen Testimonial Northampton 3-2
11/09/1979 Ted Drake Testimonial Fulham 2-2
11/10/1982 Steve Brinkman Benefit Barnet 3-0
01/11/1982 Richie Powling Testimonial Barnet 4-2
18/10/1983 Glenn Johnson Testimonial Aldershot 3-3
21/07/1987 Barrie Vassallo Testimonial Gloucester City 6-0
23/07/1988 Alan Skirton Testimonial Yeovil Town 5-0
17/08/1990 Steve Gatting Testimonial Brighton 2-2

Perhaps the two that immediately stick out are John Hollins and Pat Jennings. Arsenal played in testimonial games for these players and then later signed them – Jennings less than a year later and Hollins nearly five years later.

Richie Powling’s game is described as a testimonial but is really a benefit game as he did not play for either Arsenal or Barnet for anywhere near ten years. This game was originally scheduled for 11 October 1982 but, before it could take place, Steve Brinkman suffered a heart attack and it was decided to play a match for his benefit instead and postpone Powling’s game.

Two Arsenal players were granted a benefit game with a difference. Denis and Leslie Compton were also renowned cricketers. On 12 August 1949 Arsenal played Middlesex at cricket on the Highbury pitch. Middlesex had beaten Kent during the day and then travelled to Highbury for the game in the evening which lasted two hours. They batted first and scored 223-9 declared. Arsenal then batted and scored 252. The biggest cheer of the night was for Ted Drake who managed to score a four by driving the ball into the corner of one of the goals – just like the good old days.

Six years later, on 9 August 1955, the fixture was repeated for the benefit of Leslie. Arsenal batted first and scored 328, Middlesex followed up with 378 as the scorecard below shows.

Middlesex were pretty good at cricket.

Finally, and possibly outside the remit of this article, Arsenal have played four games for the benefit of players’ families. The first was for Joe Powell who died following complications from a broken arm sustained in a game against Kettering. A tobacconist shop was bought for his wife and family from the proceeds of the game and collections made at games up and down the country.

Date Player Match type Opponents Score
07/12/1896 Joe Powell Memorial Aston Villa 1-3
25/08/1910 Edward Cannon Memorial Reds v Blues 2-0
06/05/1916 Bob Benson Memorial London Football Combination 2-2
26/04/1976 Walley Barnes Memorial London XI v Welsh XI 0-1

Edward Cannon was a reserve team goalkeeper who died, aged 20, after a short bout of acute gastrisis.

Bob Benson collapsed and died in the dressing room during a wartime game against Reading at Highbury.

The Walley Barnes game was slightly different in that he had retired from football in 1955 and carved out a successful career with the BBC. The game was more to show an appreciation of his footballing career rather than to provide support for his family. The four page programme can be read by clicking on the programme cover below.

Walley Barnes memorial match programme

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (top right). You know it makes sense.

Or have a look at our other site: The Arsenal Collection for more Arsenal memorabilia.

Copies of our books Royal Arsenal – Champions of the South and Arsenal: The Complete Record 1886-2018 are still available from the publishers.


Behind the new show ‘Them’ is the ugly and true history of L.A.’s racist housing covenants

A new horror anthology TV series, “Them: Covenant,” is making news for its grisly depictions of violence against a 1950s Black family in their new home in the then-white city of Compton. Without the supernatural elements, the decades-long stories of Black people trying to take up residence in Los Angeles County’s white neighborhoods are more than scary enough.

L.A. didn’t start out that way. Of the 22 adults among the pobladores, the first settlers, who set up housekeeping and created Los Angeles in 1781, 10 had African ancestry. And the last governor of Mexican-ruled California, Pio Pico, was of mixed race.

And that was pretty much the end of that chapter.

As more people — mostly white people — found their R-1 paradise in Los Angeles, neighborhood after neighborhood, house after house decided to keep out the “undesirables,” meaning anyone not like the people living there. It didn’t really take burning crosses, although they appeared now and again.

No, something called “restrictive covenants” is all it took — language written into deeds to keep a piece of property from being bought by or sold to a non-Caucasian. Restrictive covenants were walls made of paper and ink.

To break down those paper walls took years of persistence. It took actresses and activists. It took courageous families and stubborn ones, and long, slogging decades through the courts and the voting booths.

Explaining L.A. With Patt Morrison

Los Angeles is a complex place. In this weekly feature, Patt Morrison is explaining how it works, its history and its culture.

California entered the union in 1850 as a free state, not a slave state. For a long while, the percentage of Black Angelenos was low — about 2% in the 1910 census, peaking at above 11% around 1990.

Still, in 1913, the Black intellectual and writer W.E.B. Dubois brought the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People here and was impressed enough to say of L.A. that “nowhere in the United States is the Negro so well and beautifully housed.”

Yeah, well. Some exceptions applied.

A hundred or so California cities — among them Hawthorne and Glendale — were “sundown towns,” where Black people and sometimes other minorities dared not be found after dark, lest they be run out of town, run into jail or worse.

Also not for Black Angelenos: some of those darling Spanish houses or Craftsman bungalows along the city’s spreading edges. Restrictive covenants helped to ensure that the growing Black population was kept bottled up in many of the same neighborhoods of 1910, when the census showed that an astounding 36.1% of Black Angelenos owned their own homes.

Nat Laws was a babe in arms in 1910 when his parents, Henry and Anna, moved here. L.A. hadn’t changed for decades after the Laws family arrived, according to how Law described it to The Times almost 40 years ago: “Out in Hollywood and West Los Angeles, Negros couldn’t live in those neighborhoods. And Huntington Park? Man, a Negro couldn’t walk the streets in Huntington Park.” Signs on street corners in Huntington Park informed Black and Asian people that they were unwelcome, Laws said. “It was almost as bad in Culver City.”

In 1964, the Black writer Lynell George’s family went house hunting around Inglewood, and at the second house they stopped to see, someone down the street hollered the N-word at them. (At the first look-see appointment, the man who opened the door said he was too busy watching “Perry Mason,” and shut the door in their faces.)

This R-1 segregation was taken so much for granted that it was news in 1926 when a Black shipping clerk named Mentis Carrere bought a house in the 700 block of West 85th Street in Los Angeles. Feelings against him and his family, as The Times put it genteelly, “were aroused,” and so a white colleague named Harry Grund “became almost a bodyguard” for the Carrere family. One night, so the cops said, Grund fired off a pistol to make it seem like the Carreres were under attack. One bullet broke a window across the street, and, surprise, the very next day some high-pressure negotiations began to get Carrere to sell.

In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that governments couldn’t officially enforce racial segregation but wink-wink, nudge-nudge, the door was still wide open for private neighborhood segregation, one deed at a time — a “covenant” of agreement that, for sure, I won’t sell to any of those people, will you, Bob? No sir, not me Tom, are you with us?

And that’s how it worked. Sometimes “those people” extended to Jews, or Asians, or Armenians, but first and last, they meant Black.

There followed more court decisions propping up segregation by redlining and other means. In 1928, California’s Supreme Court overruled two Los Angeles judges and said that a Black L.A. couple, A.D. and Mattie Kinchlow, could own the house in the restricted Crestmore neighborhood, on West 30th Street. They’d bought it from a white man who, as The Times put it, had “kicked over the traces” of the restrictive covenant to sell to them. But the judge also decreed that the Kinchlows could not live there. Our “Solomon” had officially halved the baby.

Downtown Los Angeles is but one ‘center’ of a city that grew out, rather than up. That was (mostly) on purpose.

It wasn’t until the end of World War II that L.A.’s restrictive covenants finally took a big kick in the pants, and thanks to some dauntless Black residents of a fine and fancy neighborhood they called Sugar Hill — a spot near USC named Adams Heights.

Same old, same old. Eight white neighbors brandished their restrictive covenant deeds and went to court. Let this continue, they shrilled, and their property “would lose value and racial clashes would inevitably ensue.”

But this time, their “objectionable” neighbors were more famous and probably richer than they, L.A.’s Black aristocrats, led by a formidable trio of Sugar Hill neighbors: the Oscar-winning actress Hattie McDaniel, actress Louise Beavers and blues singer Ethel Waters. They had the numbers, they had the money, and in the end, they had the law.

Superior Court Judge Thurmond Clarke had taken the time to take a look around Sugar Hill, and on Dec. 5, 1945, he made his decision: “It is time that members of the Negro race are accorded, without reservations or evasions, the full rights guaranteed them under the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Judges have been avoiding the real issue too long.”

So welcome home, Mesdames McDaniel, Beavers and Waters, et al.

What Clarke did in 1945, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced in 1948, using the same 14th Amendment.

Quickly, and embarrassingly, a Los Angeles real estate organization joined other California real estate organizations in an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to uphold covenants “to protect American family life, stabilize home values, avoid widespread home depreciation, avert racial tensions.”

When that went nowhere, they tried the same in California. Real estate interests put on the 1964 ballot an initiative to overturn the Rumford Act banning housing discrimination and to use the state Constitution to protect property bias.

I’m sorry to say that The Times endorsed it, and that Californians voted for it 2 to 1. But once again, the U.S. Supreme Court invoked the 14th Amendment to invalidate it, and in 1974, a different California electorate repealed it.

Housing bias still bubbled to the surface, like ugly globs in an oil spill.

A Black aerospace engineer named Kenneth C. Kelly had to use a white colleague as an intermediary to buy a house in a white neighborhood in Gardena, and again in 1962 when he moved to Northridge, where he became head of the Valley’s Fair Housing Council and encouraged other Black Angelenos to not to get deterred from buying the houses they wanted in the neighborhoods they wanted to live in.

After the 1965 Watts riots, The Times began looking more seriously at the realities for Black Angelenos, how they lived, and where. A Page One article in 1968 was headlined: “Negroes in White Suburbia: Few Problems Once Over the Barrier: Valley Negroes in Suburbia Finding Acceptance.” “Some 300 negro families,” the Fair Housing Council noted, have moved into middle-class white neighborhoods with “some early difficulties, but little outward hostility, no lowered real estate values or ostracizing of the negroes by their neighbors.”

In southeast L.A. County, white-flight fears after the Watts riots, and the disruptions from building the Century Freeway, altered the racial makeup of towns like Lynwood, Maywood and Huntington Park, where young Nat Law had once seen those racist signs. Unencumbered at last by restrictive covenants, Black people and Latinos bought and rented in neighborhoods that had once prohibited them. By 1972, the theretofore white town of Compton was 71% Black.

An unnamed retired white industrial worker in Compton told The Times then that white people were “in a sweat” to sell and move out — not because of Latinos, he made a point of saying, but because of Black people.

Restrictive covenants kept a kind of power — as a tripwire. President Reagan found out the hard way, publicly, a month before election day 1984 — that some property he’d once owned in the Hollywood Hills during World War II carried fine-print language declaring that “no persons of any race other than the Caucasian race” could use or occupy that property, except as servants.

In 1994, Sen. Dianne Feinstein was embarrassed in her reelection. Hours after she accused her opponent of having restricted-covenant language in property he’d owned, she learned that her own property was saddled with the same language dating to 1909.

Restrictive covenants still have a long and shadowy reach in Los Angeles. The city was and in many places is still deeply and de facto segregated.

In Southern California, an area code can say a lot about a person. Are you a 310, a 213 or a 323? What does it mean if you have a 562 or an 818?

For me, an incident that revealed that clearly — and ultimately violently — was this:

In May 1974, when the Black leader of the radical revolutionary Symbionese Liberation Army group brought his white “soldiers” and his hostage-or-follower, the heiress Patricia Hearst, to Los Angeles, he made the basic, fatal error of not doing his recon.

In the SLA’s old Bay Area stomping grounds, his group of mixed-race men and women moving around in a working-class neighborhood would likely not have been remarked on.

But the comings and goings of six or eight young white women and men in a Black neighborhood of South L.A. — especially white people with guns — got the locals’ attention.

The Los Angeles Police Department found out where the SLA was hiding when a woman went up to a traffic cop and asked whether the police “were looking for the white people with the bullets and guns.”

They were in her daughter’s house on East 54th Street. The hours-long gunfight that followed was broadcast live on TV, and it ended with six dead SLA members in the little house that burned down to the crawl space.

Judging by the wisdom of the internet, where that house once stood is now a pretty duplex fronted by a thicket of semitropical plants. Also judging by the internet, the place one or two doors down, another apartment, has a price tag floating around three-quarters of a million.


John Compton Organ Company Ltd, North Acton, London, NW10

John Compton was educated at King Edwards School, Birmingham and then studied as an apprentice with Halmshaw & Sons in Birmingham. In 1898 he joined Brindley and Foster in Sheffield before joining with Charles Lloyd in Nottingham.

He first set up a business in 1902 in Nottingham with James Frederick Musson, as Musson & Compton the partership dissolved in 1904. In 1919, the business moved to workshops at Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London, which had been vacated by August Gern before moving to what was to become a name synomynous with organ building - 'Chase Estate' in North Action in the West of London. What set Compton's apart from other organ builders was that the emphasis was given to building organs using the 'extension' principal with electric action and all pipework totally enclosed. This gave the advantage of less space been required, less pipework and hence less cost to the customer!

During the 1920s and 1930s the company became famous for their cinema organs and in total over 250 instruments were produced - even more than Wurlitzer and Christie! The cinema organs, like the church organs, made use of the latest Compton patents including double-touch cancelling on the stopkeys, polyphonic basses and of course, the extension principal as well as total enclosure of the pipes. Several instruments were also produced for civic halls - often installed in very tight spaces which other organ builders would not even attempt!

Compton worked primarily on electric action pipe organs for churches and cinemas and later electronic organs. Compton's first electronic instrument was the Melotone in 1935 (a solo voice added to theatre organs). Next came the Theatrone in 1938 with the church model being called the 'Electrone'. These instruments evolved out of research by Leslie Bourn, an association begun in the 1920s.

On 13 June 1940 Compton was arrested on the island of Capri, where he had been on holiday. He was interned as an enemy alien but spent much of his time restoring pipe organs.

John Compton died in 1957. The company carried on but with changing times demand for pipe organs decreased and so in 1964 this side of the company was sold off to Rushworth and Dreaper Ltd. Comptons now focused solely on producing electrone organs.

The late 1960s saw difficult times and in 1967 the company was acquired by 'Hirel Electronic Developments Ltd' and renamed 'Compton Organs Ltd'. Electrones produced ater 1968 carry the label 'John Compton Organ Company Ltd' or 'Compton Organs Ltd'. Sadly, the new company was not a success and was liquidated in 1971 marking an end to almost 70 years of organ building.

The remnants of the Compton company were acquired by a Mr J R M Pilling of Rochdale, Lancashire and the business became known as 'J. J. Makin Organs Ltd' before eventually becoming simply 'Makin Organs Ltd'. The original Compton electrone sound techniques continued to be used, albeit with improvements and modifications, and many large instruments were built which included Christchurch Priory and Central Church, Torquay. A small company by the name of 'Compton-Edwards' was also formed and unlike Makin, focused on building small standard instruments - very similar to the CH2, 357 and 363 models. However, this company was not a huge success and had gone by the late 1970s.

In 1997, Makin were taken over by the dutch firm Johannus but continued to operate individually. However, all Makin organs are now produced in Holland.

I have been in regular contact with an ex employee of Compton, and as such was able to give me some wonderful insights into the last 6 years of the company and also of the transition from Compton to Makin.

There has never been another organ company like Compton and there never will be again. Pipe and electronic combination instruments, solo cellos, melotones, theatrones, polyphonic basses, luminous stop control, double touch cancelling and installations from the Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London to Yardley Crematorium in Birmingham, Cathedrals to holiday camps, 40 rank pipe instruments to single manual electronics. Compton did them all.


Leslie Compton

Leslie spent her life as a professional musician, elementary school teacher, music teacher, childbirth educator, quilter for children in need, fabric artist and writer. She loves to share and bring new insights to others and her books provide a path for that. Leslie both teaches and attends OLLI classes at SOU, Ashland. She enjoys giving talks about Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, her first book, and creating situations to discuss issues during a terminal illness, based on her second book.

Leslie moved to Southern Oregon in 2001. Most mornings will find her walking the Bear Creek trail enjoying the many changes the seasons provide then having coffee while immersed in a great book. She has two wonderful, talented grown sons living outside of Oregon.

She is currently working on her fourth book.


This is a memoir detailing the journey my father and I traveled as he battled prostate cancer while weaving through memories of happier times. The physical, emotional and medical experiences we both encountered are played out in detail.

This memoir was written for those who have lost a loved one, those who are caregivers, and those who are training to be caregivers.

At the conclusion are discussion suggestions to be used in a group situation to prepare readers for the journey ahead.

This is a wonderfully accurate portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt’s 43,000-mile, 14-month goodwill tour seldom told in depth in history books. Extrapolated from and including over 200 actual (collectible) postcards sent home to “Dearest Minnie,” this book is an engaging narrative as seen through the eyes of an enlisted sailor aboard the USS Virginia.

On 12 December 1907, over one hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet sailed into the history books. Comprised of sixteen battleships and manned by 14,000 sailors and marines under the command of Rear Admiral Robley “Fighting Bob” Evans, the American fleet set out from Hampton Roads, Virginia to visit 20 ports on six continents before returning to Hampton Roads, Virginia on 22 February 1909.

Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story, is an engaging written and pictorial narrative about the battleships, the political climate, the animals aboard ship, the various cultures, the entertainment, the unexpected mishaps as well as the budding romance between a Virginia sailor and his “Dearest Minnie.” The full-color collectible postcard images follow the fleet as it sails to each port. Included in the book is a detailed description of each card and photo.
Considered as one of the greatest peacetime achievements in US Navy history, Dearest Minnie, a sailor’s story, offers something for everyone: postcard collectors, history enthusiasts, and
romantics. You only need a love for history and a desire to learn something new.

Leslie and a friend at a SF Postcard Club Mtg book signing and talk


Watch the video: BIO 137 Spring 2021 Leslie Compton (January 2022).