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Revisiting the 1965 Watts Rebellion: Watts Today is Vibrant

For decades, since before the Watts Rebellion of 1965 to current day, Watts has always remained vital as locals have found ways to generate economic opportunities and to provide families and youth with a positive civic life. Whether it's the Eastside Riders encouraging residents of all ages to lead healthier, more active lifestyles with their biking community, or local family resource centers that provide much needed support, or heftier re-development initiatives that aim to re-shape the image and infrastructure of Watts, residents and organizations are currently building a new swell of change.

As part of California State University Dominguez Hills' "Watts Then and Now" exhibit, documentary photographer and CSUDH faculty Ellie Zenhari catches glimpses of Watts' vibrant spirit that is reflected in its people and built environment. "The photographs highlight the complexity and multi-layered nature of Watts' communities and neighborhoods," states Zenhari, who took these photos during an extensive series of visits to Watts. As such, her photos reveal both the challenges of a community in great need of resources as well as the energy of the individuals that have made Watts their home and work daily to expand possibilities for growth and change.

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The photographs will be exhibited from August 11, 2015 to January 28, 2016 at the
University Library Cultural Art Center at CSU Dominguez Hills. A mirror exhibition of Zenhari's photos will be on display at the"¨ Watts Labor Community Action Center.

The photo essay below is the third installment of a three-part photo series that remembers the Watts Rebellion of 1965 in its 50th anniversary through CSUDH's exhibition of photos and unique archival objects from their special collection. See the first and second installment

Young boy at a Senior Center waiting for his grandfather.
Young boy at a Senior Center waiting for his grandfather.
Big brother and his siblings enjoy an afternoon at the Watt's summer fair and car show.
Big brother and his siblings enjoy an afternoon at the Watt's summer fair and car show.
A vibrant culture can be found in the people of Watts and its built environment.
A vibrant culture can be found in the people of Watts and its built environment.
East Siders Bike Club - Co-founders Ervin 'EJ' Bromell and John Jones III. Their shop, a bike co-op is scheduled to open in September and will provide bike education and affordable bike for locals.
East Siders Bike Club - Co-founders Ervin 'EJ' Bromell and John Jones III. Their shop, a bike co-op is scheduled to open in September and will provide bike education and affordable bike for locals.
Woman rides in style.
Woman rides in style.
Watts residents often rely on local organization for access to health care, counseling, academic and family support. Many of these organizations are run by residents with a deep commitment to their community.
Watts residents often rely on local organization for access to health care, counseling, academic and family support. Many of these organizations are run by residents with a deep commitment to their community.
wattsgreenstorefront
Though Watts has been a predominantly Black community for well over half a century, like much of South L.A. it is also currently experiencing significant demographic shifts as Latino residents make this area of Los Angeles home. These changes can be seen in storefronts and other businesses that also cater to Latinos.
Hangout for a local motorcycle club.
Hangout for a local motorcycle club.
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