by refixico

Rena Frye Price, 1916 -2013, was a Black Seminole/Seminole Freedmen of the Dosar Barkus Band of the Oklahoma Nation of Seminole Indians. This is, a public revelation of little importance to the world today. However, Ms. Frye-Price’s name and the name of her son ,Marquette, received colossal news attention in August of 1965. They were scapegoated, by many, as the Mother and Son duo who , it was said, ignited the : “Watts Rebellion”.

I, too, am a  Black Seminole, and newly discovered family member of these unfortunate people, I prefer to say ,that the Watts Rebellion FOLLOWED their arrest. For those who never knew or can’t remember, Marquette Frye and Rena’s step son, Ronald Price, were stopped by the Ca. Highway Patrol for suspicion of D.U.I. , Marquette was behind the wheel . Mothers usually love and protect their children, even those who are non-compliant adults. Unconditional love operates even when their grown children are exhibiting inappropriate behavior.

There was a history of this type of activity from Marquette and since Rena , needed her car, to survive , she had issued him a warning ( as was reported by a credible family source). Rena’s warning reportedly was ,quote: “If you get in trouble, again driving my car, I’m coming after you” unquote. This is believable,  and one reason, why this diminuitive Black Seminole Woman raced up to the scene. Another reason was, her other step son ,Ronald, so, the Mc Cone Report says, had been informed by the California Highway Patrol Officers, that once Marquette was taken to Jail ( since he had already, failed the Sobriety Test), that Ronald, could not  drive his step mother’s, 1955  Buick to the house a short distance away. Losing her car ,would certainly motivate her to come quickly. It was, her only means of transportation, to housekeeping  jobs in affluent homes where people could pay for her services.

Again, the Mc Cone Report, says that once Rena came on the scene, that she began scolding Marquette, who, according to the report, Marquette’s, resisting arrest scenario began with him issuing an ultimate ( a crowd had gathered by then). “You will have to kill me before I go to jail”. So far, this sounds like Saturday night all across America. When the officers went into action , so did ,Rena and Ronald and all three were subdued and transported off to jail.

The emotional climate of the community and the hot Summer Weather, populated the street with an abundance of fed-up occupants, who were tired of , no jobs, bad transportation, scarce medical services, inadequate schools, in your face Policing,  an indifferent Mayor Sam Yorty, an a agressive, no-nonsense Chief Parker of the L.A.P.D.. Rena Frye Price and her sons did not create the economic and sociological circumstances that caused the community to erupt.

The truth is, that the occupants of this area , who revolted against authority (remember, most people living in the area did not revolt) felt that they had nothing to lose, and to the contrary, they felt that they had a score to settle with society. In their hearts and minds they also vowed: “If our oppressors, make trouble for us we are coming after them”.

Black Seminole, Rena Frye Price and her family did not start the ,”Watts Rebellion” ! However,the uprising followed a Police stop gone wrong, in a tinder box neighborhood, and the rest is history.

"Through Warm Tears of Gratitude”

Phil ”Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s: “indiVisible”: African-Native American Lives in the Americas and Private Sector Partner for the DOI/NPS/National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom.