Author: Luis Valdez
Publisher: Arte Publico Press
Release Date: 2014-05-14
Genre: Electronic books
The landmark Chicano play is available for the first time in Spanish. This bilingual edition combines the original English-language version with the first-ever Spanish translation of the critically acclaimed play by Luis Valdez, a work that cracked open the depiction of Chicanos on the stage, challenging viewers to revisit a troubled moment in our nation's history. From the moment the myth-infused character El Pachuco, burst onto the stage, literally, cutting his way through the drop curtain with a switchblade, Luis Valdez spurred a revolution in Chicano theater. Focusing on the events surrounding the Sleepy Lagoon Murder Trial of 1942 and the ensuing Zuit Soot Riots that turned Los Angeles into a bloody war zone, this is a gritty and vivid depiction of the horrifying violence and racism suffered by young Mexican Americans on the home front during World War II. Valdez's cadre of young urban characters struggle with the stereotypes and generalizations of America's dominant culture, the questions of assimilation and patriotism, and a desire to rebel against the mainstream pressures that threaten to wipe them out. Experimenting with brash forms of narration, pop culture of the war era, and complex characterizations, this quintessential exploration of the Mexican-American experience in the United States during the 1940's was the first, and only, Chicano play to open on Broadway.
Author: Roger A. Bruns
Release Date: 2014-02-28
The Zoot Suit Riots in 1943 and the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder trial of the preceding year represent a turning point in the cultural identity and historical experience of Mexican Americans in the United States. This engaging study of these regrettable events provides context for understanding the continuing battles in the 21st century over immigration policy and race relations. • Connects the racially and socioeconomically motivated events of the World War II-era 1940s to the Chicano movement of the 1970s and the current battles over immigration legislation, allowing readers to see the recurring theme in American history • Exposes the distortions of a yellow journalistic press in its coverage and treatment of the Sleepy Lagoon trial and Zoot Suit Riots, providing documentation of how white America's perception of Mexican Americans has been fashioned over many years by the mainstream media • Documents how the zoot-suit and Pachuco cultures of Mexican American youths of the 1940s—an expression of their identity and an attempt to establish their place in the larger American culture—were a key reason behind the violent culture clashes • Includes previously unpublished primary documents from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Franklin Roosevelt Library
Author: Kathy Peiss
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Release Date: 2011-05-23
ZOOT SUIT (n.): the ultimate in clothes. The only totally and truly American civilian suit. —Cab Calloway, The Hepster's Dictionary, 1944 Before the fashion statements of hippies, punks, or hip-hop, there was the zoot suit, a striking urban look of the World War II era that captivated the imagination. Created by poor African American men and obscure tailors, the "drape shape" was embraced by Mexican American pachucos, working-class youth, entertainers, and swing dancers, yet condemned by the U.S. government as wasteful and unpatriotic in a time of war. The fashion became notorious when it appeared to trigger violence and disorder in Los Angeles in 1943—events forever known as the "zoot suit riot." In its wake, social scientists, psychiatrists, journalists, and politicians all tried to explain the riddle of the zoot suit, transforming it into a multifaceted symbol: to some, a sign of social deviance and psychological disturbance, to others, a gesture of resistance against racial prejudice and discrimination. As controversy swirled at home, young men in other places—French zazous, South African tsotsi, Trinidadian saga boys, and Russian stiliagi—made the American zoot suit their own. In Zoot Suit, historian Kathy Peiss explores this extreme fashion and its mysterious career during World War II and after, as it spread from Harlem across the United States and around the world. She traces the unfolding history of this style and its importance to the youth who adopted it as their uniform, and at the same time considers the way public figures, experts, political activists, and historians have interpreted it. This outré style was a turning point in the way we understand the meaning of clothing as an expression of social conditions and power relations. Zoot Suit offers a new perspective on youth culture and the politics of style, tracing the seam between fashion and social action.
Author: Susan Thananopavarn
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Release Date: 2018-03-19
LatinAsian Cartographies examines how Latina/o and Asian American writers provide important counter-narratives to the stories of racial encroachment that have come to characterize twenty-first century dominant discourses on race. Susan Thananopavarn contends that the Asian American and Latina/o presence in the United States, although often considered marginal in discourses of American history and nationhood, is in fact crucial to understanding how national identity has been constructed historically and continues to be constructed in the present day. Thananopavarn creates a new “LatinAsian” view of the United States that emphasizes previously suppressed aspects of national history, including imperialism, domestic racism during World War II, Cold War operations in Latin America and Asia, and the politics of borders in an age of globalization. LatinAsian Cartographies ultimately reimagines national narratives in a way that transforms dominant ideas of what it means to be American.
Author: Mauricio Mazón
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Release Date: 2010-07-05
Genre: Social Science
Los Angeles, the summer of 1943. For ten days in June, Anglo servicemen and civilians clashed in the streets of the city with young Mexican Americans whose fingertip coats and pegged, draped trousers announced their rebellion. At their height, the riots involved several thousand men and women, fighting with fists, rocks, sticks, and sometimes knives. In the end none were killed, few were seriously injured, and property damage was slight and yet, even today, the zoot-suit riots are remembered and hold emotional and symbolic significance for Mexican Americans and Anglos alike. The causes of the rioting were complex, as Mazón demonstrates in this illuminating analysis of their psychodynamics. Based in part on previously undisclosed FBI and military records, this engrossing study goes beyond sensational headlines and biased memories to provide an understanding of the zoot-suit riots in the context of both Mexican American and Anglo social history.
Author: Catherine S. Ramírez
Publisher: Duke University Press
Release Date: 2010-07-01
Genre: Social Science
The Mexican American woman zoot suiter, or pachuca, often wore a V-neck sweater or a long, broad-shouldered coat, a knee-length pleated skirt, fishnet stockings or bobby socks, platform heels or saddle shoes, dark lipstick, and a bouffant. Or she donned the same style of zoot suit that her male counterparts wore. With their striking attire, pachucos and pachucas represented a new generation of Mexican American youth, which arrived on the public scene in the 1940s. Yet while pachucos have often been the subject of literature, visual art, and scholarship, The Woman in the Zoot Suit is the first book focused on pachucas. Two events in wartime Los Angeles thrust young Mexican American zoot suiters into the media spotlight. In the Sleepy Lagoon incident, a man was murdered during a mass brawl in August 1942. Twenty-two young men, all but one of Mexican descent, were tried and convicted of the crime. In the Zoot Suit Riots of June 1943, white servicemen attacked young zoot suiters, particularly Mexican Americans, throughout Los Angeles. The Chicano movement of the 1960s–1980s cast these events as key moments in the political awakening of Mexican Americans and pachucos as exemplars of Chicano identity, resistance, and style. While pachucas and other Mexican American women figured in the two incidents, they were barely acknowledged in later Chicano movement narratives. Catherine S. Ramírez draws on interviews she conducted with Mexican American women who came of age in Los Angeles in the late 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s as she recovers the neglected stories of pachucas. Investigating their relative absence in scholarly and artistic works, she argues that both wartime U.S. culture and the Chicano movement rejected pachucas because they threatened traditional gender roles. Ramírez reveals how pachucas challenged dominant notions of Mexican American and Chicano identity, how feminists have reinterpreted la pachuca, and how attention to an overlooked figure can disclose much about history making, nationalism, and resistant identities.
"Surveys the political events, social trends, and racial attitudes that contributed to a week-long outbreak of violence in Los Angeles in 1943 by white servicemen and civilians against young Mexican-American 'zoot suiters.' Includes a narrative overview,biographies, primary sources, chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index"--Provided by publisher.
Author: Richard T. Schaefer
Release Date: 2008-03-20
Genre: Social Science
This three volume reference set offers a comprehensive look at the roles race and ethnicity play in society and in our daily lives. General readers, students, and scholars alike will appreciate the informative coverage of intergroup relations in the United States and the comparative examination of race and ethnicity worldwide. These volumes offer a foundation to understanding as well as researching racial and ethnic diversity from a multidisciplinary perspective. Over a hundred racial and ethnic groups are described, with additional thematic essays offering insight into broad topics that cut across group boundaries and which impact on society. The encyclopedia has alphabetically arranged author-signed essays with references to guide further reading. Numerous cross-references aid the reader to explore beyond specific entries, reflecting the interdependent nature of race and ethnicity operating in society. The text is supplemented by photographs, tables, figures and custom-designed maps to provide an engaging visual look at race and ethnicity. An easy-to-use statistical appendix offers the latest data with carefully selected historical comparisons to aid study and research in the area
Author: Eduardo Obregón Pagán
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2004-07-21
Genre: Social Science
The notorious 1942 "Sleepy Lagoon" murder trial in Los Angeles concluded with the conviction of seventeen young Mexican American men for the alleged gang slaying of fellow youth Jose Diaz. Just five months later, the so-called Zoot Suit Riot erupted, as white soldiers in the city attacked minority youths and burned their distinctive zoot suits. Eduardo Obregon Pagan here provides the first comprehensive social history of both the trial and the riot and argues that they resulted from a volatile mix of racial and social tensions that had long been simmering. In reconstructing the lives of the murder victim and those accused of the crime, Pagan contends that neither the convictions (which were based on little hard evidence) nor the ensuing riot arose simply from anti-Mexican sentiment. He demonstrates instead that a variety of pre-existing stresses, including demographic pressures, anxiety about nascent youth culture, and the war effort all contributed to the social tension and the eruption of violence. Moreover, he recovers a multidimensional picture of Los Angeles during World War II that incorporates the complex intersections of music, fashion, violence, race relations, and neighborhood activism. Drawing upon overlooked evidence, Pagan concludes by reconstructing the murder scene and proposes a compelling theory about what really happened the night of the murder.
Author: Luis Alvarez
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2008-06-02
Flamboyant zoot suit culture, with its ties to fashion, jazz and swing music, jitterbug and Lindy Hop dancing, unique patterns of speech, and even risqué experimentation with gender and sexuality, captivated the country's youth in the 1940s. The Power of the Zoot is the first book to give national consideration to this famous phenomenon. Providing a new history of youth culture based on rare, in-depth interviews with former zoot-suiters, Luis Alvarez explores race, region, and the politics of culture in urban America during World War II. He argues that Mexican American and African American youths, along with many nisei and white youths, used popular culture to oppose accepted modes of youthful behavior, the dominance of white middle-class norms, and expectations from within their own communities.
Author: Margarita Engle
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2018-05-08
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
From the Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle comes a searing novel in verse about the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. Thousands of young Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are teenagers, scared, longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls are happy to dance with the sailors—until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder. Suddenly the young white sailors are attacking these girls’ brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence—when in reality these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin. In soaring images and powerful poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle could tell it.
Author: Elizabeth R. Escobedo
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2013-03-21
Genre: Social Science
During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of need and to pursue their own desires. But even after the war, as Escobedo shows, Mexican American women had to continue challenging workplace inequities and confronting family and communal resistance to their broadening public presence. Highlighting seldom heard voices of the "Greatest Generation," Escobedo examines these contradictions within Mexican families and their communities, exploring the impact of youth culture, outside employment, and family relations on the lives of women whose home-front experiences and everyday life choices would fundamentally alter the history of a generation.