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Finding Aid to the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots Records, 1965 August-December
BANC MSS 74/115 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots records
    Date (inclusive): 1965 August-December
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 74/115 c
    Extent: 28 cartons, 4 boxes, 3 cardfile boxes, 3 oversize boxes and 2 oversize folders; 40 linear feet 2 digital objects (2 images)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Records of the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, a body created by California Governor Edmund G. Brown on August 24, 1965 to conduct a thorough investigation of that summer's riots in Los Angeles.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots records, BANC MSS 74/115 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of selected items are available.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    California. Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots--Archives
    Governmental investigations
    Riots--California--Los Angeles
    Watts Riot, Los Angeles, Calif., 1965
    California--Politics and government
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--Race relations
    Depositions--California--Los Angeles
    Maps--California--Los Angeles
    Photographs--California--Los Angeles
    Transcripts--California--Los Angeles

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Office of the Governor of California in July, 1973.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    These papers have been kept essentially in the order in which they were maintained by the Commission, though the archivist did group the materials into three major series for clarity. These series are 1. Indexes and Timeline; 2. Commission Topical Files; and 3. Commission Administrative and Legal Files. The original filing scheme can be seen in the parenthetical information appended to the title of each subseries and folder. The Commission designated major subject areas with numerals and subheadings with letters. For example, the main subject "Property Damage by fires, force, and looting" is assigned the number 9 and the subheading "Damage to public property" is assigned the letter b to create a alpha-numerical code of 9-b. The Commission kept two detailed indexes to these records. The first, an alphabetical name index, consists of 3" x 5" cards which list the number and letter code of the documents in the collection containing information about given individuals and organizations. The second, a detailed subject index, consists also of 3" x 5" cards, which describe each document included in the numerical subject designation and includes cross references to other documents in the collection on the particular subject.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Bancroft Library staff in 2012.

    Biography/Organization History

    On August 24, 1965 Governor Edmund G. Brown charged the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots to establish "an accurate chronology and description of the riots and attempt to draw any lessons which may be learned from a retrospective study of these events." The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Commission were John A. McCone (former head of the Central Intelligence Agency) and Warren M. Christopher respectively. Members included Judge Earl S. Broady, Asa V. Call, Reverend Charles S. Cassasa, Reverend James Edward Jones, Dr. Sherman M. Mellinkoff, and Mrs. Robert G. Neumann. The Commission's report, titled Violence in the City -- An End or a Beginning?, was issued on December 2, 1965. The Commission concluded that the riots had roots in serious and deeply engrained social problems, including poverty, inequality, unemployment, racial discrimination, and police brutality.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of three series of records: 1. Indexes and Timeline; 2. Commission Topical Files; and 3. Commission Administrative Files. The first series, Indexes and Timeline, includes an alphabetical name index and a detailed subject index (see note on arrangement for additional information and instructions on how to use the index) and an hourly timeline of the riots (in two cardfile boxes). The second series, Commission Topical Files, consists of files on a range of topics created in the course of the Commission's investigations. The third series, Commission Adminstrative and Legal Files, consists of correspondence, files on media coverage, office files. Also included in this series are staff and consultant reports; transcripts of testimony; depositions; reports of interviews; correspondence; exhibits; and statistical data and other documentary material gathered by or prepared for the Commission. The final report of the Commission is included in Subseries 3.16. Photographs in the collection include a series of black and white prints documenting riot property damage (in Subseries 2.9), some prints from the Los Angeles Times (in Subseries 3.9), and some images of police raids of the Veteran's Club and a Muslim temple in Los Angeles (both in Subseries 3.20).