As the nation strives for answers and ways forward in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, it can sometimes be helpful to look back.
Two recent grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor have enabled the USC Libraries to make available critical resources for understanding the origins and circumstances of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles. These include powerful sermons by the Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray as pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church of Los Angeles and 217,000 pages of records from two commissions—the Los Angeles Webster Commission and the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department—established to better understand this moment in our city’s history.
Thanks to NEH support, these resources are now available online in the USC Digital Library as well as Calisphere and the Digital Public Library of America. As part of the USC Libraries’ partnership with KCET-TV and PBS SoCal on digital content for the Lost L.A. television series, KCET recently published four articles that utilize these historical materials to explore the legacy of 1992 for today—and forward, as we try to make meaningful and substantial changes to our society: