50 Years Since Watts and the Black Rebellions of the 1960s:
Black Rebellion Then and Now
Wednesday, August 26 @ 7:00PM
Verso Books Loft
20 Jay St, Suite 1010 in Brooklyn
A/C to High St or F to York St.
RSVP on Facebook here.
In the summer of 1965, the Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles erupted in protest. This uprising, like so many others, began in response to police violence but was fueled by the systematic inequality and injustice faced by generations of Black America. In fighting back against racism, these rebellions exposed much more. As Martin Luther King described in 1968:
In these trying circumstances, the Black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws–racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.
After years and years of organizing, the Civil Rights Movement dismantled the legal segregation of the South, but daily life in the U.S. was still marked by pervasive and institutional racism and poverty. The explosion in Watts was spontaneous, but also developed over years. It ushered in a new phase of the Black freedom struggle that transformed radical organizations, put pressure on the government to grant reforms and had an enormous impact on broader consciousness.
50 years later, the Black Lives Matter movement has again reasserted the Black struggle and the fight against racism into the heart of U.S. politics. A new generation of activists draws inspiration from the struggles in Ferguson, Baltimore and beyond. Learning the history of the last high point of Black struggle and how it was ultimately pushed back is invaluable to those dedicated to building a movement today.
Associate Professor at Rutgers University and author of “Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California”
A long-time Boston activist who travelled to Iraq in 2004 and the Gaza Strip in 2009 with international solidarity delegations
International Socialist Organization (NYC)