Arthur Lloyd and Gertrude Sercy Reese Home
The modest Craftsman Arthur Reese built for his family in 1913 marks a pivotal moment of a story that continues to unfold today -- that of the Oakwood community, Venice's historic Black enclave.
Arthur Reese moved to Venice in 1903 as part of the Great Migration where waves of Black Southerners moved to west seeking freedom and self-determination. While white supremacy continued to constraint opportunity in California, many African Americans found employment in the nascent Venice community. Arthur Reese pursued a variety of entrepreneurial ventures before finding work for developer Abbott Kinney on Venice of America. As they began to build wealth, the Reese family settled in the Oakwood neighborhood.
The Reese’s were prominent leaders in social and political organizations in the Oakwood community. 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 Black enclave. In his position with Kinney, Reese advocated for employment opportunities for African Americans. Gertrude fostered several community organizations, including several for African American women, by hosting meetings in their residence.
The single-family dwelling retains the original detailing and craftsmanship designed and constructed by Arthur Reese. The other buildings on the property are also part of the development patterns, including the garage which served as Arthur Reese's workshop and an Accessory Dwelling Unit constructed for Reese’ cousins the Tabors, another foundational family in Oakwood. Today, the house is owned by Gerturde and Arthur's granddaughter Sonya Greenland. It is a tactical reminder of the Reese family’s indelible impact on Oakwood and the development of Venice as a whole.