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Watts Riots records

Identifier: 0084

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Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the report published by the governor's commission following the Los Angeles Riots of 1965, also known as the Watts Riots, and the supporting documentation. The report itself is titled, "Violence in the City—An End or a Beginning?: A Report by the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1965". While the additional documents are primarily transcripts of testimony, the testimonies come from a wide range of people directly and indirectly involved in the riots, including Governor Pat Brown, Lieutenant Governor Glen Anderson, several leaders of the Los Angeles Police Department and National Guard, some business leaders, and many members of the affected communities. Some of the other documents include reports about different aspects of the communities and the riots, including arrests, damages, and employment. The commission was headed by John A. McCone, former CIA director. This is copy 7 of the report.


  • Creation: 1965


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Historical note

The Watts Riots was a race riot that took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 17, 1965, and that resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. It was the worst riot in the city's history until the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and is considered by many to be a key turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.

The riots were sparked by the arrest of 21 year old Marquette Frye for reckless driving. The arrest took place blocks from his home, and his mother, when seeing her son forcibly arrested, began fighting with the police. During the arrest, hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch the fight, and rumors quickly spread through the neighborhood. By the evening of the following day, the neighborhood was in the grips of full scale rioting.

[Source: Wikipedia,]


3.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



Final report (1965) of the Governor's Commission on the Watts Riots.

Finding aid for the Watts Riots records
Natalie Camacho, Sue Luftschein
2014 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States