This date, August 11, marks the first day of the 1965 Los Angeles “Watts Rebellion,” which began in South Central Los Angeles and areas adjacent to the city of Compton and lasted several days.

On Wednesday, 11 August 1965, Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man, was arrested for drunk driving on the edge of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. The ensuing struggle during his arrest sparked off 6 days of rioting, resulting in 34 deaths, over 1,000 injuries, nearly 4,000 arrests, and the destruction of property valued at $40 million. On 17 August 1965, Martin Luther King arrived in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the riots. His experiences over the next several days reinforced his growing conviction that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) should move north and lead a movement to address the growing problems facing black people in the nation’s urban areas.

Frye had been drinking, and was driving with his brother, Ronald, in the car, when the two were pulled over two blocks from their home. While Marquette was being  arrested, Ronald retrieved their mother from her house. When Mrs. Frye saw her son being forcibly arrested, she fought with the arresting officers, tearing one officer’s shirt. An officer then struck Marquette’s head with his nightstick, and all three of the Fryes were arrested.

By the time the Fryes were arrested, hundreds of onlookers had been drawn to the scene. Anger and rumors spread quickly through the black community, and residents stoned cars and beat white people who entered the area. A neighborhood meeting called by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission the following day failed to quell the mounting tension, and that evening rioting resumed.  [Continue reading article.]

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Seeking a brother’s release

In this letter to the Union commander of the prisoner-of-war camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, one of four sisters asks the commander to release their brother. Writing on August 11, 1864, from Marietta, Ohio, Lou A. Briggs asks the commander to have pity as they were orphans and cannot “get along without him.” One sister was sick with consumption, she wrote, and “desires very much to see her brother once more in this world.”

Letter from Lou A. Briggs to the Commander of Point Lookout Military Prison Regarding Rufus Briggs, 08/11/1864 
From the series Personal Letters to Confederate Prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland, 1889 - 1904

via DocsTeach

Alex Haley was born on this date, August 11, in 1921. He was an African American author, whose books helped popularize the study of Black history and genealogy.

Born in Ithaca, New York, Haley was educated at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College and at Elizabeth City Teachers College. He served in the United States Coast Guard, where he worked as a journalist. After retiring, Haley moved to New York City to pursue a writing career.  [Continue reading at the African American Registry.]

A Day In The Life - 11th August 1967: The Beatles are photographed by Richard Avedon.

The shoot takes place at a photographic studio in a penthouse in Thompson House, 200 Gray’s Inn Road, London. The American photographer takes a number of shots of the group, four of which were later adorned with psychedelic effects. They are first published in the 9 January 1968 edition of the US magazine Look, and are subsequently sold as posters.

Avedon’s portraits later appear on the 1977 compilation Love Songs, and on the 2000 album 1. (Source: