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Watts, Los Angeles, California

From Academic Kids

Watts is a district of South Central Los Angeles, California. The neighborhood is bounded by 108th Street, Century Boulevard and 107th Street on the north; Wilmington and Croesus Avenue on the east; Imperial Highway on the south and Compton Avenue and Central Avenue on the west. It is served by the 103rd Street/Kenneth Hahn station on the Blue Line and the Imperial/Wilmington/Rosa Parks station on the Blue and Green Lines of the Los Angeles Metro system.

Watts was originally an independent suburb of lower class workers, named after Pasadena real estate broker C. H. Watts. It was annexed by Los Angeles in 1926. The neighborhood has in the past been home to a large African-American community. In recent years, high levels of Latino immigration have changed the area's demographics.

Watts has come to be renowned for many reasons, some of which have led to the neighborhood's infamy. An economically depressed area, many associate the neighborhood with the negative connotations of crime, violence and class disparity. The city-wide riots of August 11, 1965 that originated in Watts still resonate in the public consciousness. Dubbed the Watts Riots, this spate of violence lasted six days.

Neighborhood leaders have begun a strategy to overcome Watts' reputation as a violence-prone and impoverished area. Special promotion has been given to the museums and art galleries opened in the area surrounding Watts Towers. This hybrid sculptural/architectural landmark has come to recent fame, attracting a tide of artists and related professionals to the area. The arrival of these new immigrants may signal the beginnings of gentrification.

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