The Cherrywood/Leimert Block Club was started in the 1980s by Calvin and Florence McKinney, residents of Cherrywood Avenue. The club started small, initially encompassing only the Cherrywood Avenue residents from Rodeo Avenue to Coliseum Avenue. Under the leadership of President Aimee Wilson, the club grew in its early years and comprised homes on Cherrywood from Rodeo Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard. Each block had its own block club captain. Every year the block club gathered for its annual summer street party barbecue. During the early 1980’s, Cherrywood was one of many block clubs throughout Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, West Adams and Jefferson Park that organized around community safety and quality of life issues. These clubs operated with the support of local law enforcement and city representatives.
Toward the beginning of the 1990’s, with residency changes and the club leadership aging, many of the area block clubs saw membership decline. By 1992, active participation in the Cherrywood Block Club was at an all time low. Cherrywood had a “motto” that residents should look out for the residents across and behind their streets. The civil unrest of 1992 sparked a renewed interest in community networking and safety. The club leadership aggressively recruited (door-to-door and face-to-face) like minded residents on neighboring blocks to enroll their neighbors into the Cherrywood network. Over time as the club’s reputation enhanced and its visibility increased, more blocks joined. The only membership requirement was to have someone willing to deliver meeting notices to the new block. After experimenting with several locations, the block club found a permanent home in 1993 at Transfiguration Parish Hall on Roxton Avenue.
Block clubs with a history of activity, i.e. Sutro, 2nd, and Welland Avenues, collapsed their operations into Cherrywood block club. Others like Hubert, Hepburn, and 6th Avenue block clubs would maintain their independent status and send representatives to the Cherrywood Avenue meetings. By 2002, under the leadership of President Harry Mathews and Vice President Solomon Robinson, both of Welland Avenue, the Cherrywood Avenue Block Club extended from McClung to 2nd Avenues and from Rodeo Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard. The club delivered 1,000 meeting notices a month through a network of eighteen block captains. In 2011, the name was changed to Cherrywood/Leimert Block Club. The title “Cherrywood” no longer denotes the locations of the block club, but rather remains as a tribute to the founding group of people who inspired the club’s growth and dedicated themselves to the principle that residents should look out for their neighbors on all sides. Cherrywood/Leimert Block Club is a recognized and respected name in greater Los Angeles community.
Written by: Romerol Malveaux