In 2010, a local campaign succeeded in changing the name of N….head Mountain to Ballard Mountain after John Ballard, who lived in the area in the 1880s. A former slave, Ballard was co-founder of the Los Angeles first African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) which is still thriving today. He ran a delivery service in Los Angeles, but the city’s rising property values forced him to move his family to the mountains. Ballard homesteaded 160 acres of land in this valley by Seminole Springs, and because of his prominence in the area locals referred to the mountain by the pejorative mentioned above. Sadly, this was the official name on all the maps until Paul Culberg and Nick Noxon campaigned for two years to change the name to honor John Ballard.
This courage in the face of adversity has inspired Mr Ballard’s descendents. Mr Reginald Ballard (93), a former Tuskegee airman and Los Angeles firefighter, was one of the campaigners who fought to de-segregated the Los Angeles Fire Department. And guests also heard the story of his father, a doctor in the first world war awarded the Croix de Guerre by France for his courage on the battlefield. Senator Henry Stern presented Mr Ballard with a certificate to honor the family.
Photos courtesy of Duabntxoo Skit Ya.