NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
16th August, 1965 : In Los Angeles a police patrol arrested a black man for drunken driving. Within hours, Watts, an area of the city which is mainly inhabited by blacks, was in flames, with roof-top snipers ignoring a curfew and shooting at police. Fire and ambulance men were enlisted to contain the worst outbreak of racial rioting in the United States since the War. As 20,000 National Guardsmen patrolled a “relatively calm” Watts yesterday, the cost of rioting became clear. Twenty-eight people, some of them children, have died, and 676 people have been wounded, including 70 police, 26 firemen and four National Guardsmen. Watts was named as a “disaster area” by President Lyndon Johnson, who said that the rioting “strikes from the hand of the negro the very weapons with which he is achieving his own emancipation”.