Zoot Suit Riots: Bombing On Pearl Harbor

1574 Words7 Pages
“Zoot Suit Riots” Life in the early 1940’s was filled with the effects of the bombing on Pearl Harbor. World War II had just begun and many homes were without their fathers, brothers, and uncles. This led to a growing national rise in juvenile delinquency as mothers, aunts, and older sisters had to fill the gaps in the workforce left by their male counterparts. In Los Angeles a group of young people who seemed to embrace the big band, jazz culture, much to the dismay of the white middle-class at the time, was known as the zoot-suiters. This group was a group of young people of color who did not want to conform to the restrictions of segregation. This group of youth who wore zoot suits were being labeled as “delinquents” by the media…show more content…
“In the urban jazz culture of Harlem, the word "zoot" meant something exaggerated, either in style, sound, or performance. The style of dress was an extravagant style, out of proportion to the norm, and it later came to be known as the zoot suit.” (Castro, Rafaela. "Zoot Suit”) The zoot suit consisted of very baggy, high-waisted pants that were pegged around the ankles. The pants were worn with a long jacket that came to below the knee. The jacket had wide shoulder pads that gave the wearer a broad look. A long chain dangled from the belt, and the outfit was trimmed with thick-soled shoes and a wide-brimmed hat. Other theories about the origin of the zoot suit were “it was imitated from the suit worn by Clark Cable in the movie Gone with the Wind. In fact, some people called them "Gone with the Wind suits,” others say that a big band leader and clothier, Harold C. Fox from Chicago, designed the first zoot suit. He said he copied the fashions of ghetto-dwelling teenagers, and in 1941 made such suits for musicians who wanted an "eye-poppin' style."” (Castro, Rafaela. "Zoot Suit”) In either case the zoot suit was a fashionable outfit that was worn by famous people in films and magazines, even cartoons referenced the zoot…show more content…
A dozen sailors and soldiers were walking on a downtown street and spotted a group of young Mexican American women on the opposite side of the street. The sailors and soldiers changed direction and headed their way. A group of young men in zoot suits stood between the military men and the young women. As the two groups passed each other, Sailor Joe Dacy Coleman, fearing he was about to be attacked, grabbed the arm of one of the zoot-suited young men. Coleman's move proved to be a big mistake. Coleman was almost immediately struck on the head from behind and fell to the ground, unconscious. Other young civilians pounced on the sailors with rocks, bottles and fists. After the ferocious attack, the sailors managed to escape and carry Coleman to the safety of the Naval Armory. Soon after, sailors organized a retaliatory strike against

More about Zoot Suit Riots: Bombing On Pearl Harbor

Open Document