Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rollover text informationAmerican Experience
Zoot Suit Riots
The Film and More
Film Description
Primary Sources
Further Reading

Special Features
People and Events
Teacher's Guide
Visite nuestro sitio de web en Español

spacer above content
Primary Sources: Letter from Manuel Reyes to Alice McGrath

Manuel Reyes
Box 69597
San Quentin, Calif
April 28, 1943

Dear Alice,

Received your letter, and was glad to receive the appeall news, and to hear from you. I also received the book, from New York, and was glad to know that there is prejudices against the Mexicans, and how the police treated us, when we were arrested just because we are Mexican's, but being born a Mexican is something we had no control over, but we are proud no matter what people think, we are proud to be Mexican-American boys. I joing the Navy, in July of last year, they didn't turn me down because I was a Mexican, because we are needed to fight this war. I was told to return back to the Navy Station, to take my pleage, but unfairly I was arrested for this crime, with I didn't have anything to do with or know of. When we were arrested we were treated like if we were German spies, or Japs, they didn't figure we are American, just like everybody else that is born in this country. Well, anyway, if I didn't get to joing the Navy to do my part in this war, I am still doing my part for my country, behind these walls. I am buying Defense stamps, and going to volunteer, to do some war work. Well I also receive the " People's World." It's a good idea you have. Well I am getting along straight, and volunteer to work in the jute mill, for three week's, the warden asked for 400 men to work in the mill for three weeks and volunteer, they are going to move the jute mill to Folsom, and want us to finish making the jute we have on hands. Then we are going to do some war work. Well how is every little thing out there? Did you have a good Easter Sunday? Well as for me, I did, I went to Church, and received Holy Communion. (...) Saturday we went to see a show, "The Navy Comes Through," and the New's, it was alright. I am listening to my earphones, I am listening to Tommy Dorsey. Well, I am running out of words so I'll close. One question, before I do so! Are we going to get the "People's World" and the "Fraternal Outlook," when they come out again? We would appreciated it if we would. Give my regards to the Committee.

I remain yours truly
Manuel Reyes

Don't forget to send me your picture, I'll be waitting for it.

Site Navigation

The Film & More: Film Description | Transcript | Primary Sources | Further Reading

Zoot Suit Riots Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Gallery | People and Events | Teacher's Guide

Web Credits

© New content 1999-2002 PBS Online / WGBH