Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mapping the Watts Riots

Fifty years ago yesterday a a black motorist was arrested for drunk-driving in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. An argument ensued which quickly escalated from a minor disturbance into a riot, followed by six days of looting and arson.

In December 1965 the McCone Commission report was published. The report documented the results of the McCone Commission inquiry into the riot and its causes. It also contained recommendations as to how the Watts area could be improved in order to ensure that this scale of social unrest never occurred again.

The report included a map of the Watts curfew area imposed by California Lt. Gov. Glenn Anderson. This map also contained data, compiled by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office, on the destruction caused in Watts over the six days of rioting.

The Los Angeles Times has created an interactive version of the map using the Leaflet mapping library. You can use the Inside the Curfew Zone map to see the extent of the curfew zone and the data compiled by the Los Angeles police.

The LA Times has also added a number of markers linking to original photographs taken during the riots. If you select one of the camera icons on the map the web page scrolls down to show the photo and a description of what is depicted in the photograph.
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