January 6, 2017

Watts In 1912


Watts, one of the most famous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, is located approximately seven miles southeast of downtown. Originally part of the Rancho La Tajauta Mexican land grant, Watts was incorporated in 1903 and began to grow as a community in 1907, when the Watts Station was built and transportation within Watts became easier. The town was attractive to working class families and differed from other suburban communities in that it welcomed white, black, and Latino families. By 1920, 14% of Watts’ population was African American which at that time was the highest in California.

In 1926, Los Angeles annexed Watts.  The African American population continued to grow after annexation and by World War II the community was inhabited mostly by middle class blacks.  World War II brought tens of thousands of black and white migrants from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.  The city built new public housing projects to accommodate the increased population, most of which were located in Watts. By the early 1960s, these projects had become largely dominated by African Americans, as whites moved to the surrounding suburbs which excluded black settlement.  Watts increasingly became an island of black poverty surrounded by middle class white suburbs. – See more at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *