The Midnight Hour: The Watts Uprising – Mike Davis

1965 will be the longest and hottest and bloodiest year of them all. It has to be, not because you want it to be, or I want it to be, or we want it to be, but because the conditions that created these explosions in 1963 are still here; the conditions that created explosions in ’64 are still here … Brothers and sisters, let me tell you, I spend my time out there in the street with people, all kind of people, listening to what they have to say. And they’re dissatisfied, they’re disillusioned, they’re fed up, they’re getting to the point of frustration where they are beginning to feel: What do they have to lose? Malcolm X gave this speech in Detroit on February 14, 1965, two weeks after a high-speed escape from would-be Nation of Islam assassins in Los Angeles, and a week before he was murdered in Harlem.2 He was often prescient, but what he was hearing on the streets could have been heard by almost anyone who bothered to listen anywhere in Black America—including on the streets of the South L.A. district of Watts. Previous chapters have sketched the chain of events—the LAPD attack on the NOI in 1962, the defeat of the 1963 united civil rights campaign, the social ecology of overcrowded schools and homes, and the white backlash embodied in 1964’s Proposition 14—that pointed inexorably toward Malcolm X’s predicted explosion in 1965. … Its famed labor education program trained hundreds of shop stewards and lower-rank union officials. Bullock, a labor economist, was the institute ’s point man in South Central L.A. and a much respected figure—especially in Watts, where he spent more than a decade conducting interviews with youth in the projects and eventually published a unique book, Watts: The Aftermath—An Inside View of the Ghetto by the People of Watts, in which he acted as amanuensis for community voices. His commitment to the community was profound and, after the 1965 rebellion, particularly irksome to politicians and poverty bureaucrats making false claims about the success of job-training schemes in the Watts area. …”
KCET – Every Ten Feet was a Soldier: Jazz and the Watts Rebellion (Video)
W – Paul Jacobs (activist)
1960s: Days of Rage – Watts riots

August 1965: A makeshift sign urging drivers to “Turn Left Or Get Shot” during the race riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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