South L.A. isn't just a food desert. Even if we're only talking about food, and ignoring everything else that makes a community whole. There is an active food culture in Watts and the neighborhoods and cities surrounding it, discussions of whether locals are "allowed" to eat fast food notwithstanding. As these pictures show, restaurants -- along with other retail businesses -- took a hit during the 1965 Watts Uprising. But food played a part in rebuilding the area, and now restaurants like Hawkins do community work alongside serving food. It's an engaged community -- after all Roy Choi is launching his next L.A. project there.
The history of the young Black "deb" illuminates African American women's history and the complexity of racial representation. Theirs is a story of challenging institutionalized stereotypes that limit the role and potential of Black girls.