Steven L. Isoardi is an independent scholar; editor of
Thoughts of Dar es Salaam: The Institutionalization of UGMAA
Beginning in the mid-1970s the Arkestra and UGMAA finally achieved institutional stability and a concomitant expansion of its programs. This came at a time when it was most needed in the community, as government support for the arts and social services dwindled and many centers were closing. With the U.S. economy in decline during the 1970s and a more conservative political leadership in power by the end of the decade, death sentences were routinely decreed on programs not commercially viable. Nevertheless, UGMAA was able to achieve non-profit status and a substantial building, “the Shop,” to ground their activity and launch programs only contemplated for many years. Despite the increasingly difficult times within much of South Central Los Angeles, UGMAA continued to be a force for African American culture and community.