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The Zoot Suit Riots - Essay Example

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The Zoot Suit riots were a tragedy in Los Angeles that happened because of the prejudice of the media and the police at the time. There were many deaths and causalities but no one was held for the crimes. These riots happened between 1942 and 1943 a time when the world was at War. …
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In a sense, the Sleepy Lagoon Murders were part of what contributed to the zoot suit riots although they happened a year before the riots started. Sleepy Lagoon was a hangout place for Mexican youth. By day it was a place to swim and by night it was a lovers lane. It was one of the few places that Mexican American youth could go without having a hassle from prejudice. On August 1, 1942 two Mexican youth were sitting in the car talking and they were viciously attacked by what appeared to be a rival gang. The male, Hank Leyvas and his girlfriend were badly beaten. Hank went back to find the youth with reinforcements and attached other youths that were attending a birthday party nearby; José Díaz was one of those attending. Díaz was killed in the "rumble" and a call to action went out from the Los Angeles Police Department. In the process Leyvas and 21 other Mexican youth were convicted of the murder through the Los Angeles tabloid journals and Leyvas was sentenced to life in San Quentin. A few months later the zoot suit riots broke out and this would be one of the worse problems in Los Angeles history.
In order to understand the zoot suit riots, it is important to understand a little about the zoot suit culture. Zoot suits were a popular dress that African Americans wore during the jazz era. It was a flashy outfit and it was a bit outrageous. It had broad shoulders, a narrow waist and balloon pants. It was a way of expression that let people of color be seen in places that society said they were supposed to be invisible. The Mexican American youth picked up the culture and ran with it. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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