How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Perspectives on the L.A. riots, 20 years later

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A building damaged by fire during the 1992 Los Angeles riots

During the last month, KPCC brought together four panels of Angelenos to share their recollections of the deadly riots that began April 29, 1992 in an informal series of private conversations, led by journalists and other members of the staff.

The panelists were people from throughout the city, of different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many had little in common save for having been old enough 20 years ago to remember the rioting began that day, after a jury acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of savagely beating black motorist Rodney King. In the violent, confusing, smoke-filled days that followed, more than 50 people died and property damage mounted close to $1 billion as arson fires and looting spread. To this day, the riots remain a defining moment in L.A. history.

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'My family was victimized': Perspectives on the riots, 20 years later

Photo by ATOMIC Hot Links/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A burned-out fast food restaurant during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles

During the last month, KPCC brought together four panels of Angelenos to share their recollections of the deadly riots that began April 29, 1992 in an informal series of private conversations, led by journalists and other members of the staff.

The panelists were people from throughout the city, of different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many had little in common save for having been old enough 20 years ago to remember the rioting began that day, after a jury acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of savagely beating black motorist Rodney King. In the violent, confusing, smoke-filled days that followed, more than 50 people died and property damage mounted close to $1 billion as arson fires and looting spread. To this day, the riots remain a defining moment in L.A. history.

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The cultural mashup dictionary: Sa-i-Gu

Photo by TexasT/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A month from tomorrow will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which began on April 29 that year after a jury acquitted four L.A. police officers accused of beating Rodney King, a black motorist pulled over after a pursuit. Over the next few days, parts of the city burned in arson fires as Angelenos rioted and businesses were looted. Fifty-three people died in the violence, thousands were injured, and property damage mounted close to $1 billion.

A large amount of the damage was sustained in Koreatown, one of the epicenters of the violence. As businesses went up in smoke, some Korean immigrant shop owners took up firearms. In the end, many of those who were uninsured or underinsured lost their life savings. To this day, the riots remain one of the defining events of the Korean American experience.

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