Remembering the '65 Watts Riots

The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, in association with the Watts Towers Arts Center, will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Watts Riots with a variety of programs in August. Here is an opportunity to revisit the uprising and learn from its aftermath as America in 2015 continues to struggle with the prevalence of African American victims of police brutality, demands for civil rights and equal justice, and institutional racism. 



Were you in Southern California in mid-August 1965? Do you remember the Watts Rebellion? Tell us about it.

Email your story, along with your name and telephone number, to


  • August 5, 2015 @7:30 50th Anniversary Of Watts Riots - Panel Discussion and screening of  Ed Landler's documentary "I BUILD THE TOWER" at American Cinematheque's Aero Theater in Santa Monica. Panelists include Ben Caldwell, founder of KAOS Network; Ed Landler, filmmaker; Rosie Lee Hooks, current director of Watts Towers Art Center;  Judson Powell, co-founder of Watts Towers Arts Center in 1964; and Ojenke, member of Watts Writers Project.

Film Screening and panel discussion led by King Carter, MCLM Board Member

Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum
4130 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230

Remembering the 50th Anniversary of the Watts Rebellion and Now@
Watts Towers Arts Center Campus
Noah Purifoy Gallery
1727 E. 107th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002

Bus Departs from Watts Towers Arts Center
1727 E. 107th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90002

11 AM  $35

On Sunday, August 23rd at 11 a.m., the Mayme Clayton Library & Museum, in association with the Watts Towers Arts Center, will present a bus tour of Watts, stopping at sites meaningful to the Watts Riots of 1965. Led by Mayme Clayton Library and Museum board member and Watts native, Mr. Lindsay Hughes, the one-hour tour is a personal journey through the events that occurred in this area on August 15, 1965.

Mr. Hughes will discuss the political and social issues that animated the Watts neighborhood in 1965, the true locational boundaries of the uprisings, the locations of low income housing projects in the area, such as Nickerson Gardens and Jordan Downs, and the factors that triggered the riots. Participants shall visit sites important to the Southern California African American experience like the 5-4 Ballroom, a venue favored by musical legend, Johnny Otis.
The bus tour shall start at the Watts Towers Art Center, located at 1727 E 107th St, Los Angeles, CA 90002.

* Purchase tickets HERE


39th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival