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Gallery: Food Culture in Watts

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.

All black and white photos: Los Angeles Public Library
A Korean-America women's society in South L.A. hosts a Mother's Day breakfast in 1952. / All black and white photos: Los Angeles Public Library

 

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This deli, pictured during the Uprising, was also a wine and gift shop.

 

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Putting out a fire at a chop suey restaurant during the Watts Rebellion.

 

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Residents waiting in line for care packages in the days after the Rebellion.

 

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Boarding up a liquor store.

 

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A classic L.A. fast food restaurant: burgers and pastrami. This photo was taken in the '70s -- is there any sign more iconic of L.A.?

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Photo: Kobbler King
Kobbler King has been selling retail and wholesale desserts since the 1990s.

 

Photo: Hawkins House of Burgers
South L.A. firefighters on a lunch break. / Photo: Hawkins House of Burgers

 

Photo: Hawkins House of Burgers
The burgers at this Watts restaurant are always making best-of lists. / Photo: Hawkins House of Burgers

 

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