Los Angeles reached its boiling point on August 11, 1965.
Racial tensions in the predominantly black and economically downtrodden neighborhood of Watts were already high when spectators witnessed two white police officers arresting Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man. He was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. Many black community members revolted in opposition to what was viewed at the time as another racially motivated arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The rebellion lasted six days and spread throughout South Central Los Angeles, according to the Civil Rights Digital Library. It ended on Aug. 17, after 14,000 National Guard troops arrived. The toll of the violence and destruction left 34 dead, 1,032 injured, almost 4,000 arrested and $40 million worth of property destroyed, according to History.com. Despite the national attention the riots warranted to the neighborhood’s issues, conditions didn’t change much for the residents of Watts.
Check out these 8 compelling photos of the Watts Riots that took place 50 years ago.
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