It’s unfortunate that so many history lessons we could’ve learned from the very people who were living and/or a part of instrumental periods of our history aren’t known until after they are gone.
Although, we’ve been privy to the statistics of the Watts Riots of 1965, where for “six turbulent days that left 34 dead, thousands injured and millions of dollars in property damaged or destroyed,” but many of us, never really heard an extensive interview with Rena Price, who along with her sons, became the poster child for the inception of the infamous riots. But now Rena Price has passed on of natural causes at the age of 97, and her story passes with her.
According to the Los Angeles Times, after her son, Marquette Frye, was stopped by police August 11, 1965, for driving erratically down a street in South Los Angeles in his neighborhood, his mother heard of the disturbance and came running to defend her son during a racially charged era where many sons had been lost to their mothers at the hands of police (not much has changed). The report states that Frye and his brother Ronald were cooperating with police, but he had failed sobriety tests and somehow one officer decided to hit Frye in the head with a baton which set his mother off and she charged one of the officers.
Her arrest combined with the attack and arrest of her son and stepson, ignited the riots that she was not aware of until her daughter came to get her released from jail the next day. Her son Wendell Price, revealed in an interview last week that they were all “hassled” due to the events whenever the name “Frye” came up. Marquette preceded his mother in death after struggling with alcoholism, multiple arrests, spotty employment, and the loss of his infant son who had heart problems. He died from pneumonia in 1986, at the age of 41.
Rest in peace…finally.
Read more here.