Virtual Event
Monday, August 24 at 7:00pm

PROTEST IN L.A., FROM THE '60S TO TODAY
JON WIENER &
BRENDA STEVENSON

SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE


Los Angeles in the sixties was a hotbed of political and social upheaval. The city was a launchpad for Black Power--where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation. The city was home to the Chicano Blowouts and Chicano Moratorium, as well as being the birthplace of "Asian American" as a political identity. It was a locus of the antiwar movement, gay liberation movement, and women's movement, and, of course, the capital of California counterculture.

 

Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide the first comprehensive movement history of L.A. in the sixties, drawing on extensive archival research and dozens of interviews with principal figures, as well as the authors' storied personal histories as activists. Following on from Davis's award winning L.A. history, City of Quartz, Set the Night on Fire is a historical tour de force, delivered in scintillating and fiercely beautiful prose.

THE CONTESTED MURDER OF LATASHA HARLINS

Helicopters patrolled low over the city, filming blocks of burning cars and buildings, mobs breaking into storefronts, and the vicious beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. For a week in April 1992, Los Angeles transformed into a cityscape of rage, purportedly due to the exoneration of four policemen who had beaten Rodney King. It should be no surprise that such intense anger erupted from something deeper than a single incident.

In The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins, Brenda Stevenson tells the dramatic story of an earlier trial, a turning point on the road to the 1992 riot. On March 16, 1991, fifteen-year-old Latasha Harlins, an African American who lived locally, entered the Empire Liquor Market at 9172 South Figueroa Street in South Central Los Angeles. Behind the counter was a Korean woman named Soon Ja Du. Latasha walked to the refrigerator cases in the back, took a bottle of orange juice, put it in her backpack, and approached the cash register with two dollar bills in her hand-the price of the juice. Moments later she was face-down on the floor with a bullet hole in the back of her head, shot dead by Du. Joyce Karlin, a Jewish Superior Court judge appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, presided over the resulting manslaughter trial. A jury convicted Du, but Karlin sentenced her only to probation, community service, and a $500 fine. The author meticulously reconstructs these events and their aftermath, showing how they set the stage for the explosion in 1992.

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Jon Wiener is a longtime Contributing Editor at the Nation and host and producer of Start Making Sense, the magazine's weekly podcast. He is an Emeritus Professor of U.S. history at UC Irvine, and his books include Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files and How We Forgot the Cold War: A Historical Journey across America. He lives in Los Angeles.

SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE

JON WIENER

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Brenda E. Stevenson is an internationally recognized scholar of race, slavery, gender, family and racial conflict. Her research has been supported by, among others, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center and the American Academy in Berlin.

THE CONTESTED MURDER OF LATASHA HARLINS

BRENDA STEVENSON

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