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Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles$
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Janet L. Abu-Lughod

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328752.001.0001

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The Watts Riot of 1965—the Beginning or the End?

The Watts Riot of 1965—the Beginning or the End?

(p.197) 6 The Watts Riot of 1965—the Beginning or the End?
Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles

Janet L. Abu-Lughod

Oxford University Press

The Watts riot was neither the beginning nor would it be the end of interracial violence in Los Angeles. Racial and ethnic tensions have churned beneath the surface in multiracial Los Angeles ever since the city was founded. The first riot erupted in 1965 in Watts, which was by then a largely “black” town near South Central Los Angeles, but it spread rapidly to adjacent areas. It is acknowledged to have been the worst in the series of riots that broke out in more than 100 cities in the latter 1960s. The second erupted in 1992 in South Central, just west of Watts. In many ways, the “riots” were quite similar to one another. Both erupted roughly within the same area, one in which deprived minorities were concentrated. The rioters engaged in arson and looting, as well as battles with motorists, firemen, and the police.

Keywords:   interracial violence, Los Angeles, ethnic tensions, looting, Watts riot

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