Arthur Lloyd and Gertrude Sercy Reese Home
The Reese family cultivated community and economic opportunity for Black Venetians in the Oakwood neighborhood.
Venice advocates and Reese family members designated this home to the founding family of Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood.
Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood has been an enclave of Black community for over one hundred years. Without Arthur Lloyd and Gertrude Sercy Reese, it might not have been. Despite de jure segregation and racial covenants, Arthur and Gertrude Reese became one of the first Black homeowners in Oakwood and paved the way to create a safe and vibrant community.
The Craftsman style home Arthur Reese designed in 1913 is a tactile reminder of how the family carved out space in Venice for themselves and other Black families seeking dignified housing and economic opportunities.
In 2022, the preservation group Citizens Preserving Venice and Sonya Greenland, the granddaughter of Arthur and Gertrude, nominated the house as a Historic-Cultural Monument.
About This Place
About This Place
Arthur Reese moved to Venice in 1903 as part of an early migration wave of Black Southerners who moved to west seeking freedom from white supremacy. While racism continued to limit opportunity in California, many African Americans found employment in the Venice. Arthur Reese was an entrepreneur who eventually became the head designer of the Venice of America Company under Abbot Kinney.
The Reese family were community leaders who used their position to expand opportunities for other African Americans in Venice. Arthur and Gertrude Reese paved the way for other Black homeowners in Oakwood. In his position with Kinney, Reese advocated for employment opportunities for African Americans.
The Reese’s were also prominent leaders in social and political organizations in the Oakwood community. Gertrude fostered several community organizations, including several for African American women, by hosting meetings in their residence.
The Conservancy was a strong supporter of the Reese Home designation. We hope that this nomination increases awareness of the Reese family and encourages further recognition of Black Venice residents who have, and continue, to shape our city.