In 1945, Eddie Ray arrived in California staying at a motel in Skid Row of downtown Los Angeles. At 21, Eddie became the youngest All Peoples Board Chair and eventually became Vice President of Capitol-Tower Records in Hollywood, California.
Eddie explains in his book Against All Odds, “All Peoples Christian Church and Community Center happened at a crucial point in my young life. It was subconscious at the time, but looking back on it, I now realize I was searching for three things.“ Those three things being stability, a wholesome social outlet and finding a way to help others.
Eddie spent over 60 years in the commercial music business beginning as a stock boy and rising to become the nation’s first African American Executive of a major record company.
In 1981, he was appointed and confirmed by Congress to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Tribunal in Washington DC . He served in this position for seven years. In October 2009, Eddie Ray was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame as a non-performing artist, originally from the State of North Carolina.
In 1956, Pico Robinson Lions’ Club President Bob Brunner gave his first donation of a tricycle, two wagons and a Christmas tree for the children at All Peoples.
While the Pico Robertson Lions Club no longer exists, beginning in 1987, All Peoples was adopted by the L.A. Host Lions Club, and they have continued to support our youth through the Lark Ellen Foundation. The Lark Ellen Foundation provides vision screenings at our Annual All Peoples Health Fair.
We are grateful for their continued support.
Since 1942, Mrs. Wehrberg and her 4 children had resided in six different refugee camps. In 1956, All Peoples Church became a host for the refugee family from Estonia, Germany.
Mrs Wehrberg wanted to emigrate to the U.S. to give her children a better chance in life than she had for herself. All Peoples Church welcomed the family to Los Angeles as refugees, providing housing, clothing, food and employment. All Peoples Christian Church and Community Center has always had a heart for refugees and immigrants.
Today that heart is demonstrated in our partnership with Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). Our goal is to ensure that all people who are looking to provide their children a better chance in life then they have for themselves are supported in their efforts.
In 1965, the All Peoples Monarchs Youth Club was established under youth leader James Thomas when he and fellow peers were 15 & 16 years old.
Today the group members are in their mid-60’s but the bonds established in their youth still remains. The group came together again in 1999 to thank their leaders James Thomas and Steve Thom, and have continued to meet annually to reconnect and talk about the growing up at All Peoples, stories, family, life, work and lessons learned. One of the memories which they all enjoyed was going to Camp Joe Ide. They have supported All Peoples Camp scholarships every year for more than 30 years.
In 1978, a school district in Sonoma, California, organized a Women’s History Week as a way to teach children about some of the important women who made an impact on the world.
This event later became nationally known and celebrated as Women’s History Month. The picture is from a meeting held at All Peoples in 1969. The topic of the meeting was re-zoning. These women residents knew that their voices needed to be heard. Together their voices provided input to civic leaders as they grappled with rezoning and its impact in our neighborhood.
Today All Peoples continues to be that gathering place for women in M.E.J.O.R, Best Start Metro L.A.- San Pedro/All Peoples Leadership Group (NLG) to hone their skills and work together to improve the quality of life in their community.
In 1990, John Wooden, former NCAA Basketball Coach, joined “The Fund for All Peoples” to help rebuild the All Peoples Daycare after the October 1987 earthquake as well as expand Youth and Family Support Programs at All Peoples.
John Wooden is famous for his successful career as the basketball coach with the most NCAA championship titles, and his inspirational speaking using his “Pyramid of Success“.
“Every youngster deserves a chance in this great, although imperfect, world, and All Peoples provides that for many as well for families.”
In September 1996, Frankie Stewart, President of our RSVP Advisory Council represented California in the Ms. Senior America Pageant.
Ms. Stewart notably returned to college in her 40s to earn a Bachelors and Masters degree. She currently serves as an Elder in All Peoples Christian Church as well as the President of our RSVP Advisory Council.
“Part of where I am and what I have always wanted to do is to serve…After I retired, I began serving with RSVP – Retired Senior Volunteer Program. We focus on homelessness, on hunger, and on education.”
In April 2019, All Peoples created the Gerri Morgan Scholarship Fund in honor of Geraldine Morgan’s 99th Birthday. Gerri, former secretary and RSVP advisory council, grew up in South LA and has been a member of All Peoples more than seventy years.
Gerri started what became known as the country store, where she would bake cookies and sell secondhand items. All the funds collected would go to support “Joe Ide Camp”.
The Gerri Morgan Scholarship Fund was established in honor of her commitment to our youth and a befitting birthday gift for
99 years of a truly remarkable life, generous and beautiful spirit. The fund will assist young people in College Corner and Tomorrow’s Leaders programs.
In October of 1942, a well-used Ford coupe came rattling down East 20th Street bringing Dan Genung, fresh out of divinity school in Chicago, and his wife, Frances to Los Angeles. Little did they dream that the tiny seed of faith they had come to plant in this community would someday flower into the All Peoples Community Center that serves South Central Los Angeles today.
Their primary goal was to establish a church, which came four years later when the original “House of Prayer for All Peoples” was chartered in May of 1946. Until 1964, the church and center worked as a single entity with monetary support from the church’s headquarters in Indianapolis, as one of the seven mission centers in the United States sponsored by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).The separation of the church and center allowed both groups to pursue their separate but united goals.
Started prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s-60’s, All Peoples Community Center was a revolutionary concept as described in the organization’s 2008 Strategic Plan: “All Peoples is a non-profit, non-sectarian community center located in the very spot where it was originally founded in 1942 – in South Los Angeles. All Peoples has made incredible strides since it was first envisioned… as a place in the inner-city where people from all ethnicities, races, and religions could unite under one roof to share a vision for a stronger, more self-reliant community and to help turn the dreams of struggling local youth and adults into reality. At a time when de facto and de jure segregation were still an everyday reality in Los Angeles, the establishment of All Peoples, a multi-ethnic and multi-racial community center, was not just path-breaking, it was revolutionary.”
During the next 70+ years, the center has gone through World War II, major earthquakes, and several directors. And still the center, one of the first inner-city community centers in Los Angeles, continues to provide programs and social services to people of all ages and race in its community.
Today, All Peoples provides a myriad of social and educational services to more than 6,600 people per year in its 20,000-square-foot center located in a residential area of South LA’s Vernon-Central neighborhood, immediately south of downtown Los Angeles. Services are designed to achieve the following goals: to help children succeed at each stage of development; to strengthen and support individuals and families and build community; to prevent violence and crime in the community and the home; to address the root causes of gang involvement; to provide job training and create job opportunities; and to help seniors stay active and engaged.