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
The Press and the Riot

Nazis Spur Zoot Riots
Los Angeles Daily News
June 9, 1943

...Sailors state that in fighting zoot suiters and other gangsters in Los Angeles they have only been avenging injuries inflicted on themselves and their wives in this area. A number of servicemen have been badly beaten by zoot suiters, and cases of attacks on wives of navy men have been reported.

...[A] telegram from the sailors said:

"We make this plea in hopes that all fighting Americans are not in service, that there are some left to protect the families of ours. Our intent in taking justice in our own hands was not an attempt to instill mob rule but the only desire to insure our wives and families safe passage in the streets.

"As none of the creators of the outrages on your wives and ours have been brought to justice or the streets made clean we felt that something had to be done.

"Our past activities, we realize, were not within the law, but we are sure they met the honest approval of the people.

"The so-called zoot suiters may now have free reign throughout our city of Los Angeles to do what they may with the wives of servicemen and civilians as they make their way home from swing and graveyard shifts in war plants.

"The Los Angeles city limits are out of bounds to we servicemen. We are not permitted to enter the city.

"Has Los Angeles fallen to the zoot suiters?

"We are anxious to know. How about telling the folks at home for us?"

previous | return to press index | next

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