Sometimes people look back on a time, remembering the good and overlooking the bad.
While the nation pulled together to fight World War II there were some ugly events that showed America was still on the journey to the goal in the United States Declaration of Independence,”that all men are created equal…”
According to the PBS website American Experience, at the time Los Angels was a volatile stew of cultures. Mexicans fleeing revolution, landless dustbowl refugees, African-Americans departing the south in search of better jobs and more freedom, Japanese undergoing forced relocation, and the pressure of an influx of thousands of servicemen blowing off steam on leave.
Tensions were particularly high in segregated enclaves where out of town drunk servicemen were sometimes beaten when they failed to respect local culture.
Tensions rose between the communities and the Los Angeles authorities began to crack down on Zoot-suited young men who swaggered to the beat of jazz music.
Perhaps the style alone was enough to ignite anger for some. In an era of forced wartime austerity a proper zoot suit required double the usual quantity of fabric.
Sailors and Zootsuiters faced off in a series of fights as summer began to heat up in June 1943.
The police, many World War I veterans, were reluctant to arrest servicemen.
At one point a cartoonist dressed Axis leaders Tojo, Hitler and Mussolini in zootsuits.
Later a citizen panel would blame racism for the cause, the mayor pointed at white Southerners and juvenile delinquents.
UPDATE: The cartoonist was named Dorman H. Smith, he worked for the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Read more about him here.
- New Governor Earl Warren, rationing World War II week by week
- William Kullgren charged with sedition, World War II week by week
- Avila Beach land acquired, World War II week by week
- Prisoner of War, Rationing and Kasserine Pass, World War II week by week
- Dance regulations wanted in San Luis Obispo, World War II week by week