When Henry Hearns moved to Lancaster in the 1960s, the city's reputation for racism compelled him to go door to door, warning neighbors that he was black.
"I wanted them to know I love my wife, I love my children and I don't want any problem," he said.
But the prejudice he anticipated faded as the years passed, he said. Hearns, a pastor, was even, for a time, the city's only black mayor.
His experience points to a little-known distinction of this high desert city: Lancaster, population 157,000, leads Los Angeles County in black-white integration.