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Robert Richardson, "'Burn, Baby, Burn' Slogan Used as Firebugs Put Area to Torch." Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1965.

At 81st St. and Avalon Blvd. a looted liquor store was burning, but there was no crowd. At 76h St. and Central Ave., the White Front Store was pillaged and burning out of control, but still no crowd.

At Manchester Ave. and Central Ave., I found a crowd burning a hotdog stand and a taco place. Teen-agers stood around yelling, "Burn, baby, burn."

I was being shot at again, and it was time to go. Two fire trucks came by with sirens going and I took off right behind them, west on Manchester and north on Broadway.

We passed a furniture store burning out of control and arrived at 48th St. and Broadway. Two furniture stores and a clothing store were burning. They had been cleaned out of everything movable. There were 16 fire trucks on the scene.

I had a flat tire now. One tire had been shot out, and the spare I put on was wiped out by broken glass.

I had to do all of my telephoning from street-corner booths in gas stations. You have no idea how naked you can feel in an exposed, lighted telephone booth.

But I was hep by that time. Whenever a group of Negroes approached to look me over I knew what to do.

You open the door, stick your head out, and shout, "Burn, baby, burn." Then you are safe.

Selected from the Library of America anthology.  See  Reporting  Civil  Rights:  American Journalism 1963-1973.