Zoot Suit Riots
The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of riots on June 3–8, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, United States, involving American servicemen stationed in Southern California and young Latino and Mexican American city residents. It was one of the dozen wartime industrial cities that suffered race-related riots in the summer of 1943, along with Mobile, Alabama; Beaumont, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and New York City.
American servicemen and white Angelenos attacked and stripped children, teenagers, and youths who wore zoot suits, ostensibly because they considered the outfits, which were made from large amounts of fabric, to be unpatriotic during World War II. Rationing of fabrics and certain foods was required at the time for the war effort. While most of the violence was directed toward Mexican American youth; African American and Filipino American youths who were wearing zoot suits were also attacked.
The Zoot Suit Riots were related to fears and hostilities aroused by the coverage of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial, following the killing of a young Latino man in what was then an unincorporated commercial area near Los Angeles. The riot appeared to trigger similar attacks that year against Latinos in Chicago, San Diego, Oakland, Evansville, Philadelphia, and New York City. The defiance of zoot suiters became inspirational for Chicanos during the Chicano Movement.