Watts Writers Workshop
The Watts Writers Workshop was a creative writing group initiated by screenwriter Budd Schulberg in the wake of the devastating 1965 Watts Riots in South Central Los Angeles (now South Los Angeles). The group was composed primarily of young African Americans in Watts and the surrounding neighborhoods. The group expanded its facilities and activities over the next several years with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Government files later revealed that the Workshop had been the target of covert operations by the FBI. Well-known writers to emerge from the Workshop include Quincy Troupe, Johnie Scott, Eric Priestley, Ojenke, Herbert Simmons, and Wanda Coleman, as well as the poetry group Watts Prophets.
Along with Budd Schulberg, the following were the original co-founders of the Writers Workshop: Ernest Mayhand, Leumas Sirrah, James Thomas Jackson, Birdell Chew Moore, Sonora McKeller, Jimmy Sherman, Johnie Scott, Guadelupe de Saavedra, Harley Mims, Eric Priestlery, Alvin Saxon Jr. (Ojenke), Ryan Vallejo Kennedy, and Blossom Powe. Early on, the Workshop expanded to include a theatrical component and one of the founders was the actor Yaphet Kotto. Kotto dedicated his time, earnings, and safety by going to Watts right after the riot to teach and support.The workshop continued to expand,In 1972, Television personality, Sue Baker organized the teaching of a street dance called Campbellocking, within the workshops theatrical department, forming one of the first street dance groups called "Creative Generation" which was composed of several of the local street dancers who became popular on the television dance show "Soul Train"
Harry Dolan was the director of the Watts Writers Workshop in 1975 when the workshop was burned down by FBI informant Darthard Perry. He had taken his own hard earned money and kept the workshop going after federal funding had been cut. The money Perry earned was given to him by the FBI in payments of $800 per week.
- Lynskey, Dorian. 33 Revolutions Per Minute (New York: HarperCollins, 2010)
- Rapoport, Roger (1977). "Meet America’s Meanest Dirty Trickster: The Man the FBI Used to Destroy the Black Movement in Los Angeles." Mother Jones, April 1977, pp. 19-23, 59-61.
- Widener, Daniel (2003). "Something Else: Creative Community and Black Liberation in Postwar Los Angeles." Ph.D. dissertation. New York: New York University.
- Budd Schulberg, editor, "From the Ashes: Voices of Watts," New American Library, 1965.
|This article about an organization in the United States is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|