WATTS GOES, Open City (1968)
Pop Bottles and Bullets
The following is a transcription from a tape made in Watts two hours after the Man fired into helpless black crowds in the vicinity of the Watts Summer Festival—Sunday evening at about 11 pm. It is called Pop Bottles and Bullets because the black peoples’ weapons against their attackers were garbage, pop bottles and rocks, while the Man was armed with shotguns, carbines, and in some reported cases—machine guns.
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A Black Panther Funeral
Went to an IRA funeral Saturday. Except that instead of trenchcoats, this Sinn Fein was wearing black leather jackets. And all the Irishmen were black. It was the Panthers’ farewell to Tommy Lewis. Tommy, 18, was killed by police Monday in a shootout at a ghetto gas station. Killed with him were his Panther brothers Steve Bartholomew and Robert Lawrence.
The obscure streets of Watts were deserted Monday night, 24 hours after the outburst of shooting at Will Rogers Park following the Watts Festival. “It’s usually not this quiet down here,” says the driver. Ninety-Second Street, 103rd Street, 116th Street—the same names as Harlem, but in Harlem the streets are bright and loud and the people are piled up on one another. Watts is spread out in the darkness like a vast broken filament.