“It’s like the Devil was here,” said Lionell Chisolm, 32, as he watched one of the 1,200-plus fires that engulfed Los Angeles in a pall of smoke in a day and two nights of mayhem. — NY Daily News, May 1, 1992.
Chisolm was describing the thousands of fires that raged over five days in a period of civil unrest known as the 1992 LA Riots. But the devil takes different forms. There were all of the injustices that sparked uprising in the first place, and all of the destruction, frustration, grief, and anger that came before, during, and after.
Below is a map guide to the major events and places that shaped the rebellion 28 years ago. South Los Angeles unequivocally bore the brunt of the damage. But in many ways, some smaller than others, the events that unfolded touched much of LA.
Tons of great journalism has been done on this subject, and we pulled from many of those stories and documentaries to build this map, including:
- Charting the Hours of Chaos [Los Angeles Times]
- The L.A. 53 [LA Weekly]
- Mapping the Riot Damage to Korean-run Businesses [KoreAm]
- When the Blue Line retreated, L.A. riot went out of control [Washington Post]
- The Lost Tapes [Smithsonian Channel]