The Chicago Freedom Movement Alivia Sobey

1965 Watts Riot

The Watts Riot which lasted 6 days was the result of Marquette Frye being pulled over under suspision of driving while intoxicated. The crowd that gathered amid the arrest became restless while already increased tension between the black community and police force created a tight situation. A riot began and spread to the Watts.

The Watts

The Watts was an African American neighboorhood experiencing deep poverty and isolation from the rest of L.A. The riots were shown to be a result of residents tiring grievences with longstanding poverty, inadiqute schooling, and poor housing. Many city neighboorhoods found that as soon as the last white family had moved to the Subburb so did all housing regulations.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Watts Riots were a signal that it wasn't just the South that needed improvements. In 1966 Martin Luther King Jr. and members of the SCLC travelled to Chicago in order to fight for improvments in housing by taclkling the slums. Despite african americans making up more than a quarter of the population most found themselves in segregated comunities, decaying and unregulated.

Change of Tactitcs

Organizers made very little traction with nonviolent protests within the black community. This lack of progression was in part due to Mayer Richard J. Delay's push against the protestors. This resulted in a change of tacticts, deciding to take their protests to white communities, protestors gained more steam but were met with white and law enforcment pushback.

Tension grew to violent protests after Martin Luther King left, unravling much of the work done in Chicago.


Many, such as this writer, took the violent protests as a regression of the Civil Rights Movement. Many felt that only nonviolent protests would stir the proper change while managing to stay clear of isolating white supporters. This author, similar to others, believed that support of white americans was a necessity in the fight for civil rights. But some groups did not want to depend on white supporters for change, feeling the irony while fighting against the the repression of african americans from white society.

This Letter to the Editor was written with the intention of disregarding concerns of African Americans in regaurd to (if not all) their protests of housing descrimination, The author argues that it is not discrimination that denies black americans acsess to good housing but lack of care by their community itself.

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