About The LAA

The League of Allied Arts is one of the oldest existing Black women’s non-profit arts organizations in Los Angeles. Founded in 1939 by Dorothy Vena Johnson, a poet and creative writing teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Juanita Miller, a social worker for the County of Los Angeles and wife of distinguished civil rights attorney Loren Miller. The League was established to support and promote the arts in Los Angeles. Langston Hughes was one of the League’s first beneficiaries. When the young Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright came to Los Angeles to visit friends, he wanted to present a play. However, due to racism, no theater would allow Hughes to present his work. The industrious and civic-minded Juanita Miller and Dorothy Vena Johnson thereby pooled their resources together to help support Langston Hughes successfully present his play, Don’t You Want to Be Free?