As we examine how much has changed—or hasn’t changed—in Ferguson, Mo. one year after Mike Brown’s killing, we are met with the timely 50th anniversary of the Watts riots. The riots, which began Aug 11, 1965, and raged on for six days in Watts California, left 34 people dead, over 1,000 injured, with about 600 buildings and $40 million dollars worth of damage.
It all started after 21-year-old Marquette Frye was arrested for drunk-driving in Watts, which escalated into a violent argument with police and then onlookers as it grew bigger and bigger until it led to the unrest that eventually involved the National Guard. Like Ferguson, or Baltimore, the riots were motivated by racial tensions like the mistreatment by police. People were also frustrated over other economic and political problems at the time like unemployment rates.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots, two organizations: Sons and Brothers; and Community Coalition South Los Angeles, are retelling the events of those six days with a modern twist beginning on August at 7:00 P.M. PST via Twitter at @WattsRiots50.