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History of the ’90s podcast: L.A. riots

A fire burns out of control at the corner of 67th Street and West Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles on April 30, 1992. The day before, four white police officers were declared innocent in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, and Los Angeles erupted in deadly riots.
A fire burns out of control at the corner of 67th Street and West Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles on April 30, 1992. The day before, four white police officers were declared innocent in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, and Los Angeles erupted in deadly riots. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

On the next few episodes of History of the ’90s, host Kathy Kenzora will look back at the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the various factors that led to one of the largest and most violent cases of civil unrest in United States history.

The acquittal of four police officers in connection with the brutal videotaped beating of Rodney King wasn’t the only reason people went into the streets of South L.A. looting and burning buildings over a six-day period in April 1992.

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Read more: Gallery — L.A. riots remembered

The Black community was also reeling from a judge’s decision not to send a Korean shopkeeper to jail in connection with the shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins. Plus, South L.A., which was 50 per cent Black in the early ’90s, was hit hard by unemployment, gang violence and the crack epidemic.

As you’ll hear in this episode, the conditions were ripe for unrest.

A note on sources:

The information in this podcast about the timeline of events at the intersection of Florence and Normandie avenues was based on reporting from a 1998 article by the Washington Post.

Contact: 

Twitter: @1990shistory

Facebook: @1990shistory

Instagram: @that90spodcast

Email:  90s@curiouscast.ca

Guests:

Brenda Stevenson, professor of African-American studies at UCLA, author of The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender and the Origins of the L.A. Riots

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Ryan Gattis, author of All Involved

Twitter: @ryan_Gattis

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