By Eduardo Obregon Pagan
The infamous 1942 "Sleepy Lagoon" homicide trial in la concluded with the conviction of seventeen younger Mexican American males for the alleged gang slaying of fellow adolescence Jose Diaz. simply 5 months later, the so-called Zoot swimsuit insurrection erupted, as white squaddies within the urban attacked minority youths and burned their specific zoot fits. Eduardo Obregn Pagan right here presents the 1st entire social historical past of either the trial and the rebel and argues that they resulted from a risky mixture of racial and social tensions that had lengthy been simmering. In reconstructing the lives of the homicide sufferer and people accused of the crime, Pagan contends that neither the convictions (which have been in line with little difficult proof) nor the consequent rebellion arose easily from anti-Mexican sentiment. He demonstrates as an alternative number of pre-existing stresses, together with demographic pressures, anxiousness approximately nascent formative years tradition, and the battle attempt all contributed to the social stress and the eruption of violence. in addition, he recovers a multidimensional photo of la in the course of international struggle II that includes the complicated intersections of song, style, violence, race kinfolk, and local activism. Drawing upon ignored proof, Pagan concludes by means of reconstructing the homicide scene and proposes a compelling thought approximately what fairly occurred the evening of the homicide.
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Additional resources for Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A.
Griﬃth’s Birth of a Nation were wildly popular. 20 The national discourse on race and identity continued to draw from a host of perceptions, assumptions, fantasies, fears, and half-truths about the meaning of bloodlines. Perhaps not surprisingly, the belief that anatomy was destiny was a powerful argument that explained and justiﬁed the status quo of privilege in America. 21 The horrors of mechanized, global war so terriﬁed Americans in the wake of World War I that the nation turned inward—and on immigrants, too.
Widespread nativist sentiment made organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan popular, national, and respectable. With the blessings of the White House, the American Protective Agency conducted Americanization classes throughout the land for fear that ethnic loyalties had led to American involvement in the First World War and that cultural diversity would lead to national disunity at home. This approach was believed to be a more benign response to cultural diﬀerences among immigrants because it looked more to conditioning and education as the cause of behavioral diﬀerence rather than breeding.
Although military men were only temporarily assigned to the Los Angeles area before moving elsewhere, the presence of a large and transient population of young white males training for combat added further complications to an urban environment undergoing rapid expansion. Popular Responses Since the turn of the century, white Californians reacted in related ways to the burgeoning population of nonwhite Mexicans. Nativism ran strong among whites in southern California, to the extent that many Angelenos openly supported the Ku Klux Klan.