Roosevelt High School
Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights was built in 1922 and opened one year later. The campus expanded over the decades to encompass approximately 22.7 acres, bounded by Mathews, Mott, Fourth, and Sixth Streets.
The original Auditorium and Classroom Building, popularly known as the R Building, received a seismic upgrade and PWA Moderne remodel following the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. For Roosevelt High School alumni and Los Angelenos alike, the R Building remains an iconic representation of Roosevelt High School and Boyle Heights.
The R Building is one of twelve historic buildings that comprise the National Register-eligible Roosevelt High School historic district.
In March 1968, Roosevelt High School, along with Wilson, Lincoln, Belmont, and Garfield High Schools, was thrust into the national spotlight when thousands of Chicanx students and supporters staged a series of organized walkouts to demand educational equity, known as the East L.A. Walkouts (“Blowouts”).
Though Roosevelt High administrators locked the gates surrounding the school to prevent striking students from leaving, and LAPD squad cars surrounded the campus to intimidate the strikers, such actions would not prevent students from participating in the Blowouts.
At Roosevelt High School, the R Building has been documented as the primary setting for activities associated with the East L.A. Walkouts, such as a student sit-in and an assembly held by District officials. Historians have detailed the significance of the East L.A. Walkouts as the first major protest against racial and educational inequality staged by Chicanxs in the U.S. and as an important catalyst for the Chicanx civil rights movement in Los Angeles and beyond.
March 6, 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the East L.A. Walkouts.