In the Neighborhood: Leslie Sykes takes a look back at Compton, the city that shaped her life

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Leslie Sykes grew up in Compton, and she shared some of the places and faces that shaped her life.

The best part of going back to her hometown - friends who are like family.

Sykes and her sister Daphne were thrilled to stroll back through their old neighborhood in Compton, where they grew up on South Poinsettia Avenue.

They spent their summers mostly outside playing with all the other kids on the block.

In 1970, her parents, Abel and Sylvia Sykes, moved their three daughters from San Diego to the "hub city."

Sykes' father has since passed, but the Abel B. Sykes Jr. Child Development Center stands in his memory at Compton College. Abel Sykes was the college's first African-American president.

"We miss him so much. He was a consummate professional and outstanding leader," said Legrand Clegg, former Compton City attorney.

Sykes said she also took advantage of the city's rich agricultural roots.

It's still not uncommon to see urban cowboys and backyard stables in the Richland Farms area of Compton. It's where she rode horses year-round, the area is also home to the Compton Jr. Posse.

The McDonald's on Long Beach Boulevard was where she got her first job. Back then, it looked very different.

"You'll see self-order kiosks, digital menu boards," said owner Nicole Enearu.

Compton summers revolved around the pool. Lueders Park still provides neighborhood kids with affordable lessons and a place to cool off and have fun.

Sykes said Compton is a community that helped make her who she is today.
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