Korean Demonstration

May 2, 1992

The Koreans who operated small grocery stores, liquor stores and Laundromats in the black community were hard-hit by the destruction. Hundreds of their small businesses were deliberately burned down by angry blacks who saw the more prosperous Koreans as exploiters.

The already strained relations between African-Americans and Koreans had recently been exacerbated when Korean grocer Ja Du shot Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old black girl, in a dispute over a bottle of orange juice. Du was fined $500 for the murder. The simmering anger over this injustice contributed to the explosion of violence that erupted after the Rodney King verdict.

On Saturday, even before order in the city was completely restored, the Korean community held a march in Koreatown to call attention to their plight. Despite the fact their businesses were targets of arsonists and looters, many carried signs demanding justice for Rodney King.