A Little Bit Of History: Life In Watts, 1966

The August 1965 Watts Riots (or Watts Rebellion, depending on one’s perspective and politics), were among the bloodiest, costliest and — in the five decades since they erupted — most analyzed uprisings of the notoriously unsettled mid-1960s. Ostensibly sparked by an aggressive traffic stop of a black motorist by white cops — but, in fact, the combustive result of decades of institutional racism and profound neglect on the part of the city’s power brokers — the six-day upheaval resulted in 34 deaths, more than 3,400 arrests and tens of millions of dollars in property damage (back when a million bucks still meant something). A year after the flames were put out and the smoke cleared from the southern California sky, LIFE revisited the scene of the devastation for a “special section” in its July 15, 1966, issue that the magazine called “Watts: Still Seething.”
Read more about these photos by Bill Ray here.
LIFE-watts LIFE-watts1 LIFE-watts2 LIFE-watts3 LIFE-watts4 LIFE-watts5 LIFE-watts6 LIFE-watts8 LIFE-watts9 LIFE-watts10 LIFE-watts11 LIFE-watts12 LIFE-watts13 LIFE-watts14 LIFE-watts15 LIFE-watts16 LIFE-watts17 LIFE-watts18