Image: A “zute” suit cartoon from the California Eagle, Aug. 21, 1941.
In case you’re wondering, I tracked down the Navy’s 1943 report on the Zoot Suit Riots but I can’t get out to the National Archives in Riverside until September. So stay tuned.
“Zoot Suit” and History, Part 1| Part 2 |
Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
In the meantime, I made the wonderful discovery that the California Eagle, a weekly newspaper for African Americans published by Charlotta Bass (more about her another time) has been digitized and uploaded to Archive.org. The Eagle and its rival the Los Angeles Sentinel provide a stark counterpoint to the mainstream, white newspapers of the era. The Eagle is full of stories about discrimination that offer a sobering view of the 1940s.
For example, do you think the white newspapers covered the NAACP’s August 1941 protest over this brand of stove polish? Guess again.
On the jump, President Roosevelt’s June 15, 1941, statement against discrimination in hiring by federal defense contractors, and an Aug. 14, 1941, follow-up in the California Eagle.
Roosevelt said: “No nation combating the increasing threat of totalitarianism can afford arbitrarily to exclude large segments of its population from its defense industries. Even more important is it for us to strengthen our unity and morale by refuting at home the very theories which we are fighting abroad.”