1973 – Victor Jara is killed

Poet, playwright, singer, songwriter and teacher, Chilean Victor Jara is best known for his theatre direction and political activism. He was a prominent figure in the Nueva Canción Chilena, an artists’ movement that led to a creative renaissance in Chile.

However, shortly after the US government-backed revolution that ousted Salvador Allende’s government in 1973, he was arrested by forces loyal to Pinochet. After being tortured and shot as close range with machine guns. His body was dumped in a shanty town outside Santiago.

The circumstances of his death and the content of his artistic works helped to make Victor Jara a martyr to the cause in independence in South America and around the world.

Referenced in:

Washington Bullets – The Clash
Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto – Sweet Honey in the Rock

1965 – The Watts Riots begin

On August 11, 1965, a random traffic stop in Watts, a depressed area of Los Angeles with a largely negro population was the spark that set the racial tensions in the area on fire.

Lee Minikus, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer, pulled over Marquette Frye, whom Minikus believed was drunk. But then Minikus made a tragic error of judgement – he refused to let Frye’s sober brother drive the car home, instead radioing for it too be impounded.

As tempers frayed, and the crowd of onlookers grew, someone threw a rock at the police – and that was all it took to start the avalanche. When the riot was finally ended, 6 days later, 34 people had been killed, more than a thousand injured, and nearly four thousand arrested. It was the worst riot in LA history until the Rodney King trial verdict in 1992.

Referenced in:
One More Time – The Clash
Trouble Every Day – Frank Zappa
In The Heat Of The Summer – Phil Ochs
She Is Always Seventeen – Harry Chapin