"While the exact origin of the loose-fitting “zoot suit,” worn by Mexican-American and African-American youths in the 1940s, is obscure, its most important roots were among Mexican-American youths, or pachucos. In the context of World War II, this defiant gesture of group identity put the Mexican-American zoot suiters into direct conflict with another youth group—white servicemen stationed on the West Coast. Wartime rationing regulations effectively banned zoot suits because they ostensibly wasted fabric, so a combination of patriotism and racism impelled white soldiers to denounce Mexican-American wearers of the zoot suit as slackers and hoodlums. In June 1943, apparently provoked by stories that Mexican Americans had beaten up a group of Anglo sailors, servicemen on leave began to attack Mexican-American neighborhoods in Los Angeles. These anti-Mexican riots often featured the ritualistic stripping of the zoot suiters. Despite the brutality of these incidents, most press coverage was sympathetic to the servicemen. One exception was this description by Al Waxman, editor of the Eastside Journal, an East Los Angeles community newspaper. " GMU History Matters
Book Sources: Sleepy Lagoon Murder & Zoot Suit Riots
A selection of books/e-books available in Trible Library.
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"Surveys the political events, social trends, and racial attitudes that contributed to a week-long outbreak of violence in Los Angeles in 1943 by white servicemen and civilians against young Mexican-American 'zoot suiters.' Includes a narrative overview, biographies, primary sources, chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index"--Provided by publisher