Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots records
Date: 1965 August-December
Collection Number: BANC MSS 74/115c
California. Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots
Number of containers: 28 cartons, 4 boxes, 3 cardfile boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 2 oversize folders
Linear feet: 40
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
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.
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:
[Identification of item], Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots records, BANC MSS 74/115c, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
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
Watts Riot, Los Angeles, Calif., 1965
California--Politics and government
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Race relations
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.
Processed by Bancroft Library staff in 2012.
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
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).