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Vada Watson Somerville and the Dunbar Hotel

Vada Watson Somerville co-founded Hotel Somerville (today called "Dunbar Village"), which was described by modern Black Women in America in the 1920s as an elegant space for gathering to fight for social change.
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Vada Watson Somerville, D.D.S was a civil rights activist who in 1914  founded the NAACP Los Angeles center with her husband, John Alexander Somerville, a graduate of USC and graduate of the USC School of Dentistry. 

She was the second African-American woman in California to receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Vada attended the University of Southern California on a scholarship she received through the Los Angeles Times, and after retiring from dentistry in 1933, she devoted herself to civil rights activism, social welfare and civic work with organizations like the Los Angeles League of Women Voters, the Council on Public Affairs, UCLA's YWCA and the USC Half Century Club. 

In 1927, the Somervilles founded Hotel Somerville which served as a very important hub for the African American community in Los Angeles from the 1920s to the 1960s. In fact, in 1928, the Hotel Somerville served as the headquarters for the NAACP national convention.

The property was renamed the Dunbar Hotel in 1928 and continued to serve as a great source of pride, having been financed and built by African Americans. It was considered the finest black hotel in the nation and sparked development in the neighborhood. Today, Dunbar Hotel's legacy of providing first-class accommodations for African Americans in Los Angeles, when none other were to be found for them in the city, lives on. 

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4225 S Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011
(323) 238-7501
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