Progress can be a touchy subject for black people who came of age in South Los Angeles during the era of the Watts riots.
The uprising that started 50 years ago Tuesday exposed rampant disadvantage and raging anger — and spawned a host of programs that were supposed to remedy both.
But once the fear and sympathy of outsiders faded, the remedies evaporated. Over the next few decades, optimism was snuffed out by murderous street gangs and the scourge of crack cocaine.
"Are our grandchildren doing better? I don't think so," said 87-year-old Woodrow Reed, who moved to Watts in 1943 from a farm in Arkansas. He was a teen, penniless and discriminated against, but did...