Steven L. Isoardi is an independent scholar; editor of
The Giant Is Awakened: The Watts Uprising and Cultural Resurgence
A small, working-class enclave tucked into south central Los Angeles County, Watts played a leading role in the life of the African American community in 1965, when African Americans took to the streets en masse in response to growing social and economic inequalities. In the years that followed it became a focal point for many of the social, political, and cultural movements that emerged. It was also to serve as the hub of a grassroots arts movement that spread throughout the African American community, in many ways exemplifying ideas about the role of art and artists in the community that had been germinating in the Underground Musicians Association.