NPR logo On This Day In 1965: Watts Erupts In Race Riot; Black Anger Meets White Backlash

On This Day In 1965: Watts Erupts In Race Riot; Black Anger Meets White Backlash

Aug. 11, 1965:

The arrest of a black person by a white police officer in Watts touched off claims of police brutality, resulting in six days of riots that left 34 dead. hide caption

toggle caption

Following the arrest of a black driver by a white highway patrolman, and subsequent charges of police brutality, the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles erupts in a race riot. Six days later, the costs will be 34 deaths, 856 injured, and damages approaching $200 million.

Politically, the black violence will lead to a white backlash that many will say was responsible for Gov. Pat Brown's defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan in the 1966 elections.

Today in Campaign History is a daily feature on Political Junkie.