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race riots, Los Angeles


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The sporadic eruption of racial tension in a city which is home to the largest community of Mexican Americans, and one of the largest communities of African Americans. The most well-known of these were the Watts riots, in the slum areas of the Watts district which were mainly inhabited by African Americans, beginning on 11 August 1965, as a protest against long-standing social injustice. Some 34 people died and over 1,000 were injured during a week of riot, which was eventually quelled by the National Guard. The riots helped to create a White backlash against gains that were being made by African Americans as a result of the civil rights movement. Since then, racial tension has persisted.

 On 29 April 1992, the acquittal of four policemen for the beating of the African-American RodneyG.King, despite clear and well-publicized video evidence, led to renewed riots aimed at Asian and White shopkeepers and pedestrians. They were brought under control through the declaration of a state of emergency, and the calling in of army, police, and National Guard, by 2 May. In total, they led to 58 dead and 2,300 wounded, as well as property damages totalling $1 billion.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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