Thanks to our remote cultural correspondent Elena Bell, LSW we are sharing a screening of the Broken Bread series titled “WATTS.”
A common misconception by most is understanding the 1965 Watts Riot DID NOT START IN WATTS. The California Highway Patrol stopped Marquette Frye on 116th & Avalon which is in South Central. His arrest triggered community resistance which became the flash-point of the riots. It eventually spread to Watts as the main street, 103rd Street was home to the local business strip.
Watts, CA is a mysterious to most, while “home” to so many who have moved from the area but have an affection as the place their ancestors settled when coming to Los Angeles. What it is not, is the community immediately south of the Santa Monica freeway (I-10). It is approximately 11 miles southeast of downtown. Specifically it is tucked into what is called South Central and its boundaries are:
- North – Firestone Blvd.
- South – Imperial Highway
- West – Central Avenue
- East – Alameda Blvd.
This 30 minute clip gives you a snapshot of what is going on in Watts today.
As African-Americans fled oppression in the South, the early 1940’s saw a migration of basic working-class folk looking for a safe place to raise their families. Watts and spots in South Central became home to thousands. In the late 80’s the ethnic composition took another change as a new migration took place and Latinos moved in, however today a small cadre of African-Americans remain.