Marques Vestal is a postdoctoral scholar and incoming Assistant Professor of Critical Black Urbanism. He serves as a Faculty Advisor for Million Dollar Hoods, a community-driven and multidisciplinary initiative documenting the human and fiscal costs of mass incarceration in Los Angeles. He also serves as a historical consultant for the Luskin Center for History and Policy. Marques is a tenant of Los Angeles and a member of the South Central local of the Los Angeles Tenants Union.
Marques is an urban historian studying the social history of residential property in Black Los Angeles during the rebellious twentieth century. His work links property conflict—the everyday contracts, solicitations, complaints, lawsuits, and murders over property—to broader transformations of real estate, urban development, and Black liberation. He argues that this space of incessant conflict is the unwritten housing policy of the United States.
Marques’ research interests are broad, but center on the twentieth-century experience of a few key political relations to land: property, housing insecurity, municipal incapacity, and racial capitalism. Having witnessed, archivally and firsthand, the violence of Los Angeles’ rental housing markets, he is dedicated to projects that advance social housing and horizontal tenant governance.
Marques Vestal and Andrew Klein, “What we should have learned from L.A.’s long history of homelessness,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-02-22/homelessness-encampments-shelter-los-angeles-history
Kirsten Moore-Sheeley et. al. “The Making of a Crisis: A History of Homelessness in Los Angeles,” UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. https://luskincenter.history.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/66/2021/01/LCHP-The-Making-of-A-Crisis-Report.pdf. (February 2021)
Lytle Hernandez, Kelly and Marques Vestal. “Million Dollar Hoods: A Fully-Loaded Cost Accounting of Mass Incarceration in Los Angeles,” Radical History Review. http://www.radicalhistoryreview.org/
Katz, Alisa with Peter Chesney, Lindsay King, and Marques Vestal. “People Are Simply Unable to Pay Rent: What History Tells Us About Rent Control in Los Angeles,” White Paper. Luskin Center for History and Policy, University of California, Los Angeles. (October 2018)