The Watts riots, sometimes referred to as the Watts Rebellion, took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 16, 1965.
On August 11, 1965, an African-American motorist was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving. A minor roadside argument broke out, and then escalated into a fight. The community reacted in outrage to allegations of police brutality that soon spread, and six days of looting and arson followed. Los Angeles police needed the support of nearly 4,000 members of the California Army National Guard to quell the riots, which resulted in 34 deaths and over $40 million in property damage. The riots were blamed principally on police racism. It was the city"s worst unrest until the Rodney King riots of 1992.
In the Great Migration of the 1920s, major populations of African-Americans moved to Northern and Midwestern cities such as Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City to pursue jobs in newly established manufacturing industries; to establish better educational and social opportunities; and to flee racial segregation, Jim Crow Laws, violence and racial bigotry in the Southern states. This wave of migration largely bypassed Los Angeles. In the 1940s, in the Second Great Migration, black Americans migrated to the West Coast in large numbers, in response to defense industry recruitment efforts at the start of World War II. The black population in Los Angeles leapt from approximately 63,700 in 1940 to about 350,000 in 1965, rising from 4% of LA"s population to 14%. 
Los Angeles had racial restrictive covenants that prevented blacks and Mexican Americans from renting and buying in certain areas, even long after the courts ruled them illegal in 1948. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Los Angeles has been geographically divided by ethnicity. In the 1910s, the city was already 80% covered by racially restrictive covenants in real estate. By the 1940s, 95% of Los Angeles and southern California housing was off-limits to African