Los Angeles Burning: Memory, Justice and the 1992 Riots
Visions and Voices
Fires raged throughout Los Angeles over several days in 1992 after an all-white jury failed to convict four LAPD officers for the videotaped 1991 beating of Rodney King. On the 21st anniversary of the verdict, a provocative discussion will look back at the events of 1992 and the state of race relations today.
Fires raged in the USC neighborhood and throughout Los Angeles over several days in April and May of 1992. The U.S. military patrolled Vermont Avenue in armored vehicles. Community leaders like Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray, the former pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church, advocated for justice and peace after an all-white jury failed to convict four LAPD officers for the videotaped 1991 beating of Rodney King. Los Angeles observed the twentieth anniversary of the civil unrest in April 2012, and the USC Libraries will unseal two important archival collections related to these watershed events after legal restrictions expire in the fall of 2012.
More than twenty years later, Angelenos are still trying to understand the significance of the Rodney King verdict and the events of 1992. On the 21st anniversary of the verdict, a discussion will explore many questions that remain—about racial profiling by the LAPD, the geography of wealth and poverty in Southern California, relations between African American, Korean American and Latino communities and rebuilding efforts in South L.A.
In 1991 and 1992, two commissions—one chaired by Warren Christopher (former U.S. secretary of state) and the other by William H. Webster (former FBI director)—investigated the LAPD to understand the causes of the King incident and the unrest. Their records were donated to the USC Libraries in the fall of 1992. Thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), USC archivists created online guides that, for the first time, will make these two collections fully accessible to researchers and the public.
On the 21st anniversary of the verdict, join us for a panel discussion with Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray, John R. Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics in the School of Religion and senior fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC Dornsife College; writer and journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan, author of the award-winning articles “Blue Like Me” and “The Butt” and a columnist for the L.A. Times, LA Weekly and KCET who focuses on politics and identity with an eye towards L.A.’s African American community; filmmaker Dae Hoon Kim, founder of the Korean American Film Festival New York and director of a new documentary about the 1992 events told from the perspective of a younger generation; and Darnell Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. The discussion will explore many questions that remain—about racial profiling by the LAPD; the geography of wealth and poverty in Southern California; relations between African American, Korean American and Latino communities; and rebuilding efforts in South L.A.
The USC Libraries will display a selection of documentary materials from the archives of the Christopher and Webster commissions, which investigated the LAPD and the underlying causes of the civil unrest.
Organized by the USC Libraries. Co-sponsored by the University Residential Student Community.