Riots and the Kerner Report 1968

During the riots of 1965-7 more than 130 people were killed and the damage caused came to more than $700million

August 1965 there was a big riot in the Watts district of Los Angeles

The riot involved 300,000 people, left 34 dead, 1072 injured, 4000 arrested and caused $40 million of damage

President Johnson said, ‘I don’t know why we’re so surprised. When you put your foot on a man’s neck and hold him down for 300 years, and then you let him up, what’s he going to do? He’s going to knock your block off.’

MLK was shocked by how triumphant and pleased with themselves the rioters were – he felt that much of his non-violent work had been undone

1967 there were race riots in 125 US cities such as Newark and Detroit

President Johnson investigated the cause of the riots and published the Kerner Report in 1968

It stated that the main problem was that racism was deeply embedded in American society

It also highlighted black poverty and police brutality towards black people