Looking back on the Watts Riots, 55 years later: In photos

Scenes from the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965.
Scenes from the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965. (Getty Images)

Tuesday marks the 55th anniversary of one of the most vivid weeks of racial tension in U.S. history.

On Aug. 11, 1965, what became known as the “Watts Riots” began in Los Angeles.

It was a six-day period of protests, looting, property damage and arrests in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles that started after police pulled over a car with stepbrothers Marquette and Ronald Frye in it, according to History. The article said there was existing racial tension in the area over living conditions for Blacks and a poor relationship between residents and police.

After Marquette failed a sobriety test, a fight broke out between the brothers and police.

A crowd and more police ended up gathering at the scene, which resulted in further fighting.

One of the altercations involved Rene Frye, the mother of the brothers, who tried to pull officers off Marquette, believing they were abusing him.

Marquette, Ronald and Rene were all arrested, but the tension continued as they were moved into the police car with hundreds of residents gathering around the scene and police using batons and shotguns to keep residents from the car.

Another woman was arrested for allegedly spitting on an officer, and residents became angrier because they thought she was pregnant and was being treated too rough by police, according to the article.

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