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Los Angeles Riot Photo Album, 1992

Photograph album, approx. 5 x 6.5 in., black leather. Front with applied lettering "Los Angeles Riot Photo Album AAA." Interior with 60 pages that hold two 4 x 6 images each. Robert Johnson: [Los Angeles], 1992. Images stamped on versos.

Each page has a typed label denoting location: first with Florence & Normandie Ave. L.A. (April 29th, 1992); subsequent labels: Florence & Normandie Ave. (15); 1347 W. Florence Ave. (1); Kansas & Florence Ave. (1); Vermont Ave. & Florence Ave. (1); 47th St. & Broadway (3); 620 So. Broadway (2); 51st & Broadway (3); On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bl. Near Normandie Ave. (1); Hoover St. & Manchester (1); Vernon Ave. & Vermont Ave. (1); 52nd St. & Broadway (1); 52nd Pl. & Broadway (1); Slauson Ave. & Broadway (3); Florence Ave. & Broadway (1); On Manchester near Broadway (1); 120th St. & Avalon (3); 54th St. & Normandie (1); 60th St. & Normandie Ave. (1); On Vermont Ave. near 3rd. St. (1); Washington Bl. & Vermont (1); Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Vermont (10); 51st St. & Broadway (1); Normandie & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bl. (1); La Brea & Rodeo Rd. (13); 54th St. & Vermont (3); Slauson & Vermont (4); 200 W. Manchester (1); 5843 So. Vermont Ave. (1); 6th St. & Western Ave. (1); 5th St. & Western (1); Venice Bl. & Western Ave. (5); On Western Ave. near Washington Bl. (3); 27th St. & Western Ave. (6); 39th St. & Western Ave. (2); 48th St. & Western Ave. (2); Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Western (1); 49th St. & Western Ave. (2); (50th Pl. & Western Ave. (1); Gage Ave. & Western Ave. (3); 83rd St. & Western (5); On Crenshaw Ave. near Coliseum (5); Slauson Ave. & Crenshaw Ave. (4); On Imperial Hwy. near Crenshaw Ave. (1); Pico Bl. & La Brea (1); On La Brea near Rodeo Rd. (1).

The images capture the effects of the rioting in the wake of the Rodney King building. The photographer captures several buildings on fire or distant smoke, structures reduced to rubble, destroyed cars, and broken windows. Includes before and after images of 120th St & Avalon, showing the original building and the now-charred remains. Heavily armed Military Police are captured talking to reporters and getting photographed. One image shows a bedsheet is painted: "Hey Bush / Reparation / Freedom / Justice & / Equality is / What We Need / Not Handouts." Another is painted with a figure kneeling and holding their head in despair with the phrase, "Stop the Violence / All Men Were Created Equal." Inside front cover with image of blazing building; inside rear cover is a photo of billboard with "We Can Get Along" / Rodney King.

On April 29, 1992, four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of excessive use of force in the beating of Rodney King (1965-2012). King's arrest and violent beating had been filmed and widely broadcast, and the acquittal was widely viewed as a miscarriage of justice and sparked riots across Los Angeles. A year earlier, Black teenager Latasha Harlins was fatally shot by a Korean-American shopkeeper, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Despite the jury recommending the maximum sentence of 16 years in prison, the judge reduced his sentence to 5 years probation, community service, and a $500 fine. The acquittal lit a metaphorical powder keg of growing mistrust of the justice system and the existing racial inequalities.

The riots, concentrated in South Central Los Angeles with much of the first day's activities on Normandie, pictures of which are included here. The violence lasted for 5 days and necessitated the deployment of the California National Guard, the United States military, and other federal law enforcement agencies. All told, the property damage was estimated at over $1 billion. The human toll counted 63 people dead, almost 2400 injured, and over 12,000 arrested.

Condition:

Tape on front and rear boards, especially inside.

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$5,625
12/03/2020

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