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Twitter account live tweets 1965 Watts Riots

In a week that marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, a Twitter handle emerged to commemorate another painful moment in America’s history, the Watts Riots.

On Aug. 11, 1965, the arrest a 21-year-old black motorist by a white California Highway Patrolman sparked an uprising that left 34 people dead and 1,000 injured. Six days later, on Aug. 17, the riots ended. The twitter account @wattsriots50 has been tweeting the events that occurred during that deadly week in South Los Angeles in real time, just fast forwarded 50 years.

The account has been chronicling key moments by the hour that led to the massive casualties and 4,000 arrested over 6 days.

The project was created by California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers in partnership with Community Coalition of South LA to provide context to the 1965 event through a medium that is accessible to everyone, especially younger people. Historical accounts by elders, photographs, newspapers and footage was provided by the Watts Library to accurately and realistically depict the events.

The anniversary also happens to coincide with the one year anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, inviting a comparison between the events.

“We know the past is connected and the same questions asked 50 years ago are coming up today,” Evangeline Reyes, program officer with the California Endowment said. “In South LA, people of color are marked as threats, interactions with police can be frequent and dangerous.”

The @wattsriots50 tweets nearly resemble the real time tweets that came out of twitter accounts associated with Ferguson and Baltimore.

It was the arrest of black motorist Marquette Freye on suspicion of drunk driving by officer Lee W. Minikus that sparked the uprising that led to the riots. Some of the tweets from the account describing these events are included below:

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