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
Special Features
Online Poll
Zoot Suit Culture
The Press and the Riot
1940's Los Angeles

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

spacer above content
1940's Los Angeles

Open '1940's Los Angeles'In the summer of 1943, Los Angeles erupted in violence. The city, a major training and transit point for military personnel, saw itself on the front lines of the war in the Pacific. Sailors, soldiers, and marines in the area read in the L.A. press about the war overseas, and the war against Mexican "pachuco" gangs at home.

More and more, people believed Mexican American youths were predisposed to criminality. These notions were encouraged by sensationalistic news reports and an overaggressive police department. At the time, many Mexican American teens were challenging the unwritten codes of prejudice. Those who wore the zoot suit-- an outrageous, attention-grabbing fashion -- knew they were placing themselves in the public eye. What they learned from the Zoot Suit Riots, however, was that self-expression can come with a heavy price.

1940's Los Angeles (56k)
A Flash plugin is required. Download the free Flash plugin from Macromedia's Web site.

Text-only version

View an animated census map showing the Hispanic population of Los Angeles County over time, courtesy of Professor Philip J. Ethington of the University of Southern California.

Please tell us what you think about "1940's Los Angeles".

Site Navigation

Special Features: Online Poll | Zoot Suit Culture | The Press and the Riot
1940's Los Angeles

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