This collection documents the history
and administration of the League of Allied Arts, one of the oldest existing Black women's
non-profit arts organizations in Los Angeles. Founded in 1939 by Dorothy Vena Johnson and
Juanita Miller, the League was established to promote and support the arts in Los Angeles by
providing cultural enrichment programs for the community, honoring the creative
accomplishments of Black artists, and awarding scholarships to talented students from Los
Angeles pursuing scholarly studies in the arts. The collection consists of administrative
documents such as meeting minutes and agendas, financial reports, ephemera from various arts
programs and events, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and media.
The League of Allied Arts is one of the oldest existing Black women's non-profit arts
organizations in Los Angeles. Founded in 1939 by Dorothy Vena Johnson, a poet and creative
writing teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Juanita Miller, a social
worker for the County of Los Angeles and wife of distinguished civil rights attorney Loren
Miller, the League of Allied Arts was established to support and promote the arts in Los
Angeles. Langston Hughes was one of the League's first beneficiaries. When the young Harlem
Renaissance poet and playwright came to Los Angeles to visit friends, he wanted to present a
play. However, due to racism, no theater would allow Hughes to present his work. The
industrious and civic-minded Juanita Miller and Dorothy Vena Johnson thereby pooled their
resources together to help support Langston Hughes successfully present his play,
Don't You Want to Be Free? at his recently established New Negro Theater.
From this experience, Johnson and Miller went on to officially establish the League of
Allied Arts whose mission is to promote and support the arts in Los Angeles. The League
provides cultural enrichment programs for the community, honors the creative accomplishments
of Black artists, and awards scholarships to talented students from Los Angeles pursuing
scholarly studies in the arts. The League estimates that since its inception it has given
away over $500,000 in scholarships and charitable donations to students and various
organizations in Los Angeles and nationwide.
8 Linear Feet
(16 document boxes, 2 flat boxes)
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