Zoot Suit Riots begin in Los Angeles

Zoot Suit Riots begin in Los Angeles

On June 3, 1943, a group of American sailors marched through downtown Los Angeles, carrying clubs and other makeshift weapons and attacking anyone wearing a “zoot suit” – baggy wool pants, oversized coats and the pork hats favored by many young men of color at the time.

Over the next week, the so-called Zoot Suit riots spread throughout the city, including the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of East Los Angeles and the largely black Watts neighborhood. The riots marked the culmination of tremendous racial tensions in Los Angeles, in the context of the Second World War.

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