Zoot Suit Riots

Thursday, June 10, 1943Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.53.33 AM

This was not a fashion statement. It began as a protest by Los Angelenos of Mexican descent against racial profiling by the police dating back to 1942. If this sounds all too familiar, it is. The trouble began when sailors and marines stationed in Los Angeles attacked Mexican and Latino youth, recognizable by their zoot suits, whom they accused of harassing women. The police seemed to have sided with the sailors and marines. Rioting spread to other cities where populations were becoming more diverse due to wartime movement of factory workers and other civilians to big cities. The impact of the riot was also felt beyond US borders as Mexico prepared to make a formal protest of discrimination. The zoot suit itself – high-waisted and wide-legged with pegged cuffs and a long jacket — was an outward symbol of a youth culture. Another sensational story: American soldiers taking control of Attu found Japanese soldiers had used grenades to detonate their entire families.


This entry was posted in Chicago during WW II, Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, Today in WWII, Uncategorized, World War II and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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