Ernest McBride co-founds Long Beach’s chapter of the NAACP.
Starting in 1940, the Long Beach area experienced dramatic growth. This growth can be largely attributed to the presence of the United States Navy and the Aerospace industry, which created jobs for upper and upper-middle class families in Long Beach.
New types of loans available to military families interested in purchasing homes allowed for the development of many single-family homes in Long Beach as soldiers came to the area. With the construction of neighboring Lakewood in 1950, an entire city developed around the convenience of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Long Beach and its surrounding communities became increasingly suburban and domestic as a result. This culture, which permeated Long Beach for decades following, led to the high number of elementary schools, parks, and churches constructed in the city between the 1940s and 1960s.
“In 1940, McBride co-founded and became the first field secretary of the Long Beach NAACP. He and his activist wife, Lillian McBride, attacked discrimination through organized direct action. As an NAACP activist, McBride successfully integrated the Long Beach Police Department, the Naval Shipyard, Coles Market and the General Telephone Company. He also successfully challenged the Long Beach Unified School District to prevent their annual black-faced minstrel show. McBride also fought police brutality and housing discrimination. The FBI compiled a thick file on McBride and planted agents at his meetings.” - The History Makers
Ernest and Lillian McBride later planned to purchase a single-family residence on Lemon Avenue, just south of Pacific Coast Highway. White neighbors around the house created a petition to try and prevent McBride from moving in, but he succeeded despite their racism. The McBrides went on to purchase their house at 1461 Lemon Avenue, and utilize it not only as their private residence but also as a space for community organizing. Today, the residence is one of just a handful of historic landmarks designated for their affiliation with the black community in Long Beach.