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The Watts Riots: looking back




Armed National Guardsmen march toward smoke on the horizon during the street fires of the Watts riots, Los Angeles, California, August 1965. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Armed National Guardsmen march toward smoke on the horizon during the street fires of the Watts riots, Los Angeles, California, August 1965. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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On August 11, 1965, a young black man named Marquette Frye was arrested at the intersection of Avalon and 116th Street.

It was a hot summer's day when Frye was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving by a white police officer.

Soon after that stop - a crowd gathered, arrests were made and six days of civil unrest followed. 

There was looting and arson. The National Guard was called in. By week's end, there were 34 dead and more than $40 million in damage.

All that violence and destruction was about so much more than a mere traffic stop.

To put the events of the past in context and understand what Watts is today, Alex Cohen speaks to resident Tim Watkins, the CEO of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, and Brenda Stevenson, a professor at UCLA who specializes in the history of race.

The conservation kicked off a special broadcast from the WLCAC in Watts on Tuesday, Aug 11th. 

Please click on the link below to listen to the whole interview. The whole broadcast is also available on our website at TakeTwoShow.org