Watts Riots Begin, Aug. 11, 1965
The Aug. 11, 1965, traffic stop of an African-American driver triggered six days of rioting in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles that left 34 people dead, hundreds of stores looted and vandalized, and a nation questioning the underlying causes of the violence in the poor, predominantly African-American community.
“The riots will continue because I, as a Negro, am immediately considered a criminal by the police and if I have a pretty woman with me, she’s a tramp – even if she’s my wife or mother. That’s the Watts Negro’s status with the Los Angeles police department,” one participant told reporters for an Associated Press article published in the Aug. 18, 1965, European Stars and Stripes of Darmstadt, Germany.
Read some theories about what led to the Watts Riots
In an Associated Press article in the Aug. 30, 1965, Corpus Christi Times of Corpus Christi, Texas, the Los Angeles mayor and police chief blame officers for the violence. Highway Patrolmen Called Riot Cause
An Aug. 25, 1965, United Press International article in Simpson’s Leader-Times of Kittanning, Penn., explores possible sociological roots of the unrest. Family Life Breakdown Blamed in Watts Riots