The Watts Riot
began on August 11
when Los Angeles Police
pulled over Marquette Frye, whom they suspected of driving drunk. While police questioned Frye and his brother, a group of people began to gather around the scene. A struggle ensued shortly after Frye's mother Rena arrived on the scene, resulting in the arrest of all three family members. Police
used their batons to subdue Frye and his brother, angering the growing crowd. Shortly after police left, tensions boiled over and the rioting began. What followed was six days of rioting that claimed the lives of 34 people, injured 1,100 and caused an estimated $100 million dollars damage.
One of the few structures in Watts that remained untouched by the damage were Simon Rodia's Watts Towers, a tall steel sculpture.
- Cohen, Jerry and William S. Murphy, Burn, Baby, Burn! The Los Angeles Race Riot, August, 1965, New York: Dutton, 1966.