London Riots: What Nobody Dares To Say
by Gary North
On August 11, 1965, the Watts riot began. South Central Los Angeles went up in flames for five days – preceded by a night of rock throwing.
Five days earlier, Lyndon Johnson had signed into law the Voting Rights Act, which set up Federal procedures to enable blacks to vote in the South, where state laws had made this difficult for all but the most dedicated and strong-willed blacks to do since 1877.
The South was changed politically forever by this law and its updates. White politicians who had said “never” counted noses – black noses – and said, “soon.” Within five years, the political issue was settled.
The issues in Watts have not been settled.
I remember Watts. I lived in Southern California. In 1959, I sometimes drove to Watts to photograph a track meet or watch a high school sporting event. It seemed safe.
Today, I would not drive into Watts. Some resident would have to drive me. Watch Grand Canyon for a taste of what can go wrong. The ghetto today is far wider than Watts was in 1965. I went to kindergarten through the third grade in what is now referred to as “the hood.”
It all blew up in August 1965. That was one year after the Civil Rights Act was passed. That was a landmark piece of Federal legislation, which only a President from the South (Texas) with enormous clout could have rammed through. Johnson said at the time that it would forever cost the Democrats the South’s votes. So far, he was right.