David Kipen recommends an overlooked book about a lost LA hero

David Kipen in his book shop, Libros Schmibros.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )
Critic at Large

If Rachel Maddow and H.L. Mencken had conceived a child in Los Angeles in 1837, he’d be Francisco P. Ramírez. Paul Bryan Gray’s criminally overlooked “A Clamor for Equality” (published in 2012) tells the story of this trilingual teenage journalism prodigy, who editorialized against police brutality, vote-selling and lynching. Since devouring Gray’s richly researched biography, I’ve spent three months teaching, translating and even writing fiction about this lost hero. What would it finally take for Ramírez to get his day, and his due? Maybe if the Getty’s next triennial PST theme were “2020 Hindsight: Art in Dialogue with L.A. History”…

Paul Bryan Gray’s “A Clamor for Equality: Emergence and Exile of Californio Activist Francisco P. Ramírez”
(Texas Tech University Press )