Curriculum

In 1943, racial tension between white Marines and sailors and Mexican-American youths erupted into a series of riots in Los Angeles. This violence was known as  the "Zoot Suit Riots," named for the fashion then popular among young Mexican Americans.  In this lesson, students discuss conflicting newspaper articles to answer the question: What caused the Zoot Suit Riots?

Image: Photo of sailors, soldiers, and marines with wooden clubs during the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943. From the Library of Congress.

Comments:

This lesson provides a look at racial troubles on the homefront during World War II and stimulates historical thinking. The two sources were approachable for my 10th grade students and sparked quality discussion about their usefulness. Suggested background effectively prepped students for the lesson. I used this in combination with clips from PBS American Experience documentary.
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