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Unemployment remains one of the biggest problems in the Watts community in which residents and supporters are calling for more jobs to open.



Tuesday marks 50 years since the Watts riots, a six-day outbreak that claimed 34 lives and caused $40 million worth of damage.

It all started with a traffic stop. Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man, was pulled over for drunk driving by a white California Highway Patrol officer near Avalon Boulevard and 116th Street. The encounter sparked violence that left parts of the city in flames.

On Monday, community leaders said many of the underlying problems still remain.

“This block looks exactly the same as it did in 1965. It’s almost as if time stood still,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson with Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

“Police tensions, community tensions, you see many of the same problems. In many ways conditions in Watts and the Watts’ of America are just as bad and in some cases even worse,” Hutchinson said.

Minister Raymond Baker says he knows what young people are still going through today.

“Fifty years ago, I was on these streets rioting just like the rest of them was,” said Baker with the Cease Fire Committee.

“Many things that happened then is going on right now. I’m here to call for peace in our neighborhoods,” Baker added.



Article Courtesy of KABC-TV Los Angeles

Picture Courtesy of Getty Images

Watts Riots Remembered 50 Years Later  was originally published on