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Newsweek: “The Changing Face of Compton”

Newsweek has a significant report on the history and progress of Compton including an online photo essay and three documentary videos like this one:

The article itself makes specific reference to the Enterprise Zone:

Two decades later, Compton has a new lease on life. The community is still poor, and unemployment is more than twice the national average. But the number of homicides is at a 25-year low, slashed in half from 2005. There are fewer gunshots and more places for kids to go after school. Alongside the liquor stores and check-cashing stands are signs of middle-class aspiration: a T.G.I. Fridays, an outbreak of Starbucks and a natural-food store. Along the way, blacks became a minority in Compton, which is 60 percent Latino today.

The change, say community members, is palpable. Residents walk dogs; they go out at night. Graduation rates are higher, and a recent canvassing effort counted more than 25 nonprofits targeted specifically toward youth, where a decade ago, there were few to none.

And that vacant lot off the freeway? Thanks in part to Compton’s designation as an enterprise zone in 2006, it’s been replaced by a $65 million suburban strip mall, whose palm trees and flower beds give it a look more reminiscent of Orange County than South Central. “Compton is a fundamentally different place,” says Stanford University historian Albert Camarillo, a Compton native who is working on an oral history of his hometown. “It’s one of these communities that’s really in the throes of change.”

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