The Jungle got its name in a positive light in the 60s. It was a neighborhood of brand new apartment buildings just adjacent to Baldwin Hills. When they first opened, they were 'themed' apartments, mostly with tropical and island themes. They had swimming pools and banana & palm trees, so it was affectionately named The Jungle.
Around the mid 70s it started to go downhill, like the rest of America at the time, and then they opened up some of the apartments to Section 8. By 1980 it was ugly. Shortly thereafter, during the Crack Wars, it got dangerous as well as ugly and became the defacto headquarters of the Bloods.
The Jungle singlehandedly reduced the demographic profile of South West LA and negatively affected all of the surrounding middle and upper middle class communities. Affluent residents of View Park and Baldwin Hills during the 70s wanted to shop somewhere closer to home and lobbied to get an upscale shopping center built at what is now the Baldwin Hills / Crenshaw Plaza which was one of the very first shopping malls built in America.
Infamously a politician named Ruth Galanter lobbied for a new shopping center to be built in largely white Culver City, a couple miles to the west. It wasn't until Magic Johnson became a force in local politics and real-estate that the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza was upgraded. Still, the high end anchor tenants pulled out because of the Jungle. Instead of an Ikea or a Nordstrom, both of whom announced early interest because of Baldwin Hills, we got Sears, and later Wal-Mart.
Upscale black families continued to shop at the Fox Hills Mall, where I got one of my first summer jobs as a teen, but 'The Element' was never far behind. In more recent times, it has been taken over by the Westfield company and updated, but people still call it the Fox Hills Mall and you are very likely on any weekend to find styling black teens (and their cell phones) hanging out.
Magic Johnson did finally bring a first-run movie theater to Crenshaw. After the loss of the long lamented Baldwin Theater which was catty corner to one edge of the Jungle, the community waited for about 15 years to get those black dollars recycled.
About 7 years ago, a serious economic revival took place in the Crenshaw district spearheaded by Magic's investment as well as Wells Fargo and Bank of America and some of the promises made by Rebuild LA, the organization founded after the riots. The Jungle is still what it is, dangerous and dirty, but other parts of the Crenshaw community are doing better including Leimert Park Village.