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Links & Books



Watts Summer Festival
One of the oldest African American cultural festivals in the U.S., the Watts Summer Festival began in 1968 to memorialize the 34 who died in the 1965 Watts revolt. The festival strives to turn the hatred and rage of the Watts revolt into a positive energy for the black community of Watts. Find out about the festival both then and now at their website.

Watts Labor Community Action Committee
Founded after the 1965 riots, The Watts Labor Community Action Committee is a non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents in South Central Los Angeles. Find out how you can get involved at their website.

Watts Towers Arts Center
The Watts Towers, featured in "Wattstax," are a local landmark. Built singlehandedly by artist Simon Rodia, today they house the Arts Center and are home to the Watts Towers Jazz Festival and a weekly Farmer's Market.

Watts Riots: 40 Years Later
People who were there recount the 1965 Watts Riot, which all started when a police officer pulled over a motorist suspected of drinking and driving, and its short- and long-term consequences on race relations in the Los Angeles community and beyond.

Music Festivals

MerleFest, a yearly music festival dedicated to Americana and roots music, began in 1988 to commemorate the death of beloved blues musician Eddy Merle Watson. Through its website, which features maps, pictures, history, contests and more, the festival provides an opportunity for a deeper appreciation of the event and a vehicle for year-round communication and connection.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Like Wattstax, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was conceived of as a grand meeting of music and culture, and has stood for decades as the pinnacle of the New Orleans jazz scene. This week-long festival, which occurs every year at the end of April, has featured hundreds of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians. At their website, explore the history and people behind one of the most vibrant jazz communities in the country.

Newport Jazz Festival
2004 marked the 50th anniversary of one of the oldest and largest jazz festivals in the country, the Newport Jazz Festival. Its inaugural year featured world famous artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Errol Garner, and Gerry Mulligan. Look at photos, get the lineup, and find out about the artists at the official website.

Watts Summer Festival
One of the oldest African-American cultural festivals in the U.S., the Watts Summer Festival began in 1968 to memorialize the 34 who died in the 1965 Watts revolt. The festival strives to turn the hatred and rage of the Watts revolt into a positive energy for the black community of Watts. Find out about the festival both then and now at their website.

Woodstock '69
Wattstax was called the Black Woodstock. Explore this American cultural milestone in an online exhibit with pictures, quotes, humor, memorabilia and a list of performers.

Music and People of Stax

The film's official site offers a history of the event, biographies of the musicians, information about the filmmaking process and more.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music rose from the ashes of Stax Records, the Memphis-based soul music record label behind the concert and documentary. Read about the history of Stax records and the Memphis soul music community and how to visit the museum.

Fantasy, Inc.
In 1977, Fantasy Records acquired the catalog of Stax Records. You can find a list of Stax titles currently available on their website.

Eddie Floyd
This is the official home page of Eddie Floyd, the Stax artist who sang such classics as "Knock on Wood" and "Raise Your Hand." Listen to an mp3 biography and find out about his latest music and concerts at this website.

Isaac Hayes
At Isaac Hayes' official website you can learn more about this cultural icon and Stax musician.

Little Milton
Little Milton, born a sharecropper in the Mississippi Delta, performed at Wattstax and was part of Stax Records during its heyday. On this site you can find upcoming tour dates, view pictures and buy his classic and latest records.

Miss Funkyflyy's Web Pages
One woman's personal website about soul music, surprisingly rich, with extensive biographies of and interviews with Stax artists such as the Bar-Kays and Mavis Staples, both featured in "Wattstax."

Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor's official site tells the history of his career, contains message boards, and has a section for contacting Richard. (18 and up only)

The Staple Singers
Find a biography and quotes from these soulful Wattstax performers.

The Soul of the Net
Packed with information, this website gives you everything soul, with discographies, sound bytes and biographies of the most famous and not-so-famous soul artists since the 1960s.

The Stax Site
This website, based in France and devoted to everything Stax, has news and updates about all the Stax artists and a complete listing of all the Stax albums and hit singles.

Also on PBS and NPR

PBS.org Websites

African American World
This is PBS's multimedia guide to African American history and culture. The Reference Room is a great resource, and you can voice your own POV on the message boards, explore a timeline and visit the Classroom and Kids areas as well.

Frontline: The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson
Frontline chronicles the rise of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who emceed Wattstax. Read interviews with his biographer, friends, and family, and learn about his career as a fiery orator, a minister, and a presidential candidate. (1998)

Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America
Henry Louis Gates notes, "Thirty years after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, how have we reached this point where we have both the largest black middle class and the largest underclass in our history?" Check out interviews with prominent black Americans, explore economic charts and arguments and read an essay by Professor Gates. (1998)

A Huey P. Newton Story: Watts Riots
This section of a PBS site about Huey P. Newton, the Black Panther, explores the Watts Riot and its effect on African American history, culture, and outlook. (2002)

Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues
"The Blues" is a multimedia celebration that raises awareness of the blues and its contribution to American culture and music worldwide. Go on a Blues Road Trip to the heart of the South, where blues blossomed and developed into one of the most influential forms of music of all time. Find out more about the seven films that strive to capture the spirit of the blues. (2003)

The Mississippi River of Song
A series about music along the Mississippi River. Includes bios of dozens of artists and a section on Southern Soul from Stax's Memphis and today. See especially the sections on Rufus Thomas and Little Milton, both of whom performed at Wattstax. (1998)

NPR Stories

'Little Scarlet' -- Easy Rawlins, Through the Flames
NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates talks to acclaimed mystery writer Walter Mosley about his latest novel, Little Scarlet, set in Los Angeles during the 1965 Watts Riots. Also, listen to Mosley read about Watts from sections of his novel. (July 2004)

Fresh Air: Rufus Thomas
Fresh Air profiles Rufus Thomas, who performed at Wattstax and is best known for his "Do the Funky Chicken" song. Listen to an interview and read a biography.

The Tavis Smiley Show: Booker T. and the MG's
Tavis Smiley interviews Booker T. Jones of Booker T. and the MG's, who define the Memphis sound of Stax records and are best known for their single, "Green Onions." (March 2003)

The Tavis Smiley Show: Interview with Isaac Hayes
Tavis Smiley talks to soul legend Isaac Hayes and Deanie Parker, president and executive director of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, about the opening of the Stax Records museum in Memphis. (May 2003)

The Tavis Smiley Show: LA Race Relations 1965 and 1992
Karen Grigsby Bates talks with Karen Bass, Executive Director of the Community Coalition, and Raphael Sonenshein, a professor of political science at California State University, Fullerton, about the Watts riot in 1965 and the L.A. riot in 1992. Professor Sonenshein says the Watts riot was "optimistic" by comparison.