L.A. Watts Times newspapers and ephemera

Finding aid prepared by Karie Jenkins with assistance from Julie Graham, March 2014; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé after initial encoding by Julie Graham.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1575
(310) 825-4988
©2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Title: L.A. Watts Times newspapers and ephemera
Collection number: 2122
Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 13.8 linear ft. (33 flat boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1987-2010
Abstract: The Watts Times was founded in 1965 following the Watts Riots. In 1976, Charles Cook purchased the publication and changed the name to L.A. Watts Times. The collection consists of original L.A. Watts Times newspapers, a small amount of awards, and a very small amount of ephemera.
Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Creator: L.A.Watts Times.

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], L.A. Watts Times Newspapers and Ephemera (Collection 2122). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Danny Bakewell, Chairman of Bakewell Media, 2012.


The Watts Times was founded in 1965 following the Watts Riots and eventually became the premiere African American publication in Los Angeles. In 1976, the newspaper was purchased by Charles Cook, an African American activist and former leader of the Congress of Racial Equality. As an effort to include news about Los Angeles’ entire African American community, Cook changed the publication’s name to L.A. Watts Times. Cook was credited for transforming the L.A. Watts Times from being a tabloid circulated in Watts to becoming a financially stable weekly publication distributed in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Carson, Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.
After Charles Cook’s death in 1998, his daughter Melanie Polk became publisher of L.A. Watts Times. In June 2010, Polk sold the publication to Danny Bakewell, publisher of Los Angeles Sentinel and owner of Bakewell Media

Scope and Content

The collection consists of issues of original L.A. Watts Times newspapers along with a small amount of awards and ephemera. The bulk of the newspapers are loose publications; a small portion are hard bound together by year. Many of the awards, honors, and commendations are from the California State Government and City of Los Angeles and they acknowledge the L.A. Watts Times as well as publishers Charles and Beverly Cook and Melanie Polk.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is not arranged.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7397589 

Subjects and Indexing Terms

African Americans--California--Los Angeles--Newspapers
Watts (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Newspapers.

Container List

Box 1

L.A. Watts Times. 1987 Mar-May, July-Dec; 1988 Jan-July, Sept-Oct.

Box 2

L.A. Watts Times. 1988 Nov-1989 Sept.

Box 3

L.A. Watts Times. 1990 Jan-1991 Dec.

Box 4

L.A. Watts Times. 1992 Jan-1993 Mar.

Box 5

L.A. Watts Times. 1993 Apr-Dec.

Box 6

L.A. Watts Times. 1994 Jan-1994 Sept.

Box 7

L.A. Watts Times. 1994 Oct-1995 July.

Box 8

L.A. Watts Times. 1995 Aug-1996 Apr.

Box 9

L.A. Watts Times. 1996 May, June, Aug-Dec; 1997 Jan-May.

Scope and Content

All of July 1996, November 14 of 1996, January 30 of 1997, February 6 and 13 of 1997, and March 6 and 13 of 1997 are not included.
Box 10

L.A. Watts Times. 1997 June-1998 Apr.

Scope and Content

June 12 and November 6 of 1997 are not included.
Box 11

L.A. Watts Times. 1998 May-1999 Jan.

Box 12

L.A. Watts Times. 1999 Feb-1999 Nov.

Box 13

L.A. Watts Times. 1999 Dec-2000 Aug.

Scope and Content

December 16, 1999 and August 17, 2000 not included.
Box 14

L.A. Watts Times. 2000 Sept-2001 May.

Box 15

L.A. Watts Times. 2001 June-2002 Apr.

Scope and Content

May 23, 2002 is not included.
Box 16

L.A. Watts Times. 2002 May-2003 Mar.

Scope and Content

December 12, 2002 is not included.
Box 17

L.A. Watts Times. 2003 Apr-2004 Apr.

Box 18

L.A. Watts Times. 2004 May-2005 Apr.

Box 19

L.A. Watts Times. 2005 May-2006 Apr.

Box 20

L.A. Watts Times. 2006 May-2007 Apr.

Box 21

L.A. Watts Times. 2007 May-2008 May.

Box 22

L.A. Watts Times. 2008 June-2009 Apr.

Scope and Content

March 19, 2009 is not included.
Box 23

L.A. Watts Times. 2009 May-2010 Mar.

Scope and Content

June 11 and 18, and October 22 of 2009 are not included.
Box 24

L.A. Watts Times. 2010 Apr-Jul.

Box 25

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 1996.

Box 26

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 1998.

Box 27

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 1999.

Box 28

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 2000.

Box 29

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 2001.

Box 30

L.A. Watts Times (Bound). 2002.

Box 31-32

Awards and Honors. 1991-1995, 2006, 2007.

General note

Hanging placks.
Box 33

Awards, Honors, Commendations, Resolutions (2 folders). 1991, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006.

General note

Many from California State Government and City of Los Angeles. Some local awards for Beverly Cook and Melanie Polk.
Box 33, Folder 

Los Angeles Watts Times 25th Anniversary - ephemera, commendations, letters of congratulations. 2001.

Box 33, Folder 

City of Los Angeles in Tribute for Charles Cook (7 copies). 1998.

Box 33, Folder 

Beverly Cook - awards. 1993.

Box 33, Folder 

Melanie Polk - awards. 2000, 2001, 2006.

Box 33, Folder 

L.A. Watts Times sign (for newspaper dispenser vending machine). Undated.

Box 33, Folder 

L.A. Watts Times Newspaper press kit. 1999.

Box 33, Folder 

Photograph of Yvonne Burke, Black History Grand Marshal accepting flowers from L.A. Watts Times' Robert Reed Burns. Undated.