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Op-Ed: How well do you know your L.A. history? Take our 1960s quiz

UCLA philosophy professor Angela Davis was fired in 1969 by the UC Board of Regents because of her membership in the Communist Party. She was also the inspiration for songs by which rock and rollers?
(Associated Press)

Last week the Beach Boys, an iconic symbol of 1960s California, announced that the band may reunite for a 60th anniversary tour. But surf culture was just one small slice of L.A. life during that tumultuous era. Herewith, a quiz to test your knowledge of the city back then.

1. “Tanya” was
A. Gidget’s best friend
B. a Rolling Stones song
C. the nom de guerre of Patty Hearst in the Symbionese Liberation Army
D. a legendary backup singer for Ike and Tina

2. The FBI believed that Weather Underground members were hiding out
A. at the Spahn ranch
B. in Jane Fonda’s guesthouse
C. at the Chateau Marmont
D. on Ocean Front Walk in Venice

3. The L.A. Free Press published which of the following?
A. Jean Paul Sartre
B. Susan Sontag
C. Charles Manson
D. all of the above

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4. Which of the following songs is NOT about Angela Davis?
A. The Rolling Stones’ “Angie”
B. John and Yoko’s “Angela”
C. Bob Dylan’s “George Jackson”
D. The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Black Angel”

5. Eldridge Cleaver, the Peace and Freedom candidate for president in California in 1968, was ruled ineligible to run because
A. he was a felon.
B. he was Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party.
C. he was too young to be president.
D. he was living in exile in Algiers.

6. In its early days, KPFK broadcast which of the following?
A. Alan Watts teaching “Beat Zen”
B. William Faulkner reading “As I Lay Dying”
C. Dorothy Healey’s “Communist Commentary”
D. All of the above

7. “Burn Baby Burn” was
A. a James Brown hit
B. the tagline of the Magnificent Montague on KGFJ soul radio
C. the informal motto of the LAPD during the Watts uprising
D. the slogan of Barbeques Galore on Pico

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8. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire started out as
A. a KPFK fund-raiser
B. an LAPD recruitment event
C. Part of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential bid
D. A free rock concert on Venice Beach

9. Wattstax was
A. A dance craze after the Watts Rebellion
B. A city tax on businesses after the Watts Uprising
C. A 1973 concert at the Coliseum that was the largest black gathering in American history
D. A record label launched in the aftermath of the Watts Riots

10. “Death to the Fascist Insect” was
A. a gardening show on KPFK
B. a Frank Zappa song
C. the motto of the Symbionese Liberation Army
D. the tagline of Western Exterminators

11. Which of the following were targets of terrorist attacks by anti-Castro Cubans in L.A.?
A. The Socialist Workers Party headquarters in Boyle Heights
B. The L.A. Free Press office in Hollywood
C. The Ash Grove music club on Melrose
D. All of the above

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12. The biggest mass felony prosecution of black student activists in U.S. history was the 1,730 felony charges against 24 students at
A. UCLA
B. Valley State (now Cal State Northridge)
C. USC
D. Biola University

13. The most famous L.A. artist in the ‘60s was
A. Andy Warhol
B. Sister Corita
C. Judy Chicago
D. David Hockney

14. In March of 1968, a mass walkout of Chicano students was scheduled to take place at local high schools. Students at which Los Angeles high school jumped the gun, with 2,700 walking out en masse the day before?
A. Beverly Hills High School
B. Belmont High School
C. Palisades High School
D. Garfield High School

15. Which of the following headlines about the Watts Uprising did NOT appear on the L.A. Times front page?
A. “’Get Whitey!’ Scream Blood-Hungry Mobs”
B. “Anarchy Must End”
C. “Racial Unrest Laid to Negro Family Failure”
D. “The Negroes Have Voted”

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ANSWERS: (1) C (2) D (3) D (4) A (5) C (6) D (7) B (8) A (9) C (10) C (11) D (12) B (13) B (14) D (15) D—that was in the L.A. Free Press.

Jon Wiener is professor of history emeritus at UC Irvine and the author, with Mike Davis, of “Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties.”


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