Mapping LA’s Notorious Zoot Suit Riots

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73 years ago the city of Los Angeles was in the midst of some of the city’s worst racial violence as American servicemen clashed with predominantly Mexican-American youth in what is today known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The violence broke out on June 3 and lasted nearly a week as law enforcement, military personnel, and city officials struggled to respond and gain control over the situation. Though no lives were lost, many were injured and theĀ LAPD largely ignored widespread and targeted violence against the city’s Latino population. Sailors on leave focused most attacks on young men wearing baggy “zoot suits,” a symbol of cultural pride during a time of racial tension and heavy segregation. The oversized suits also flew in the face of wartime fabric restrictions, which offended many of the servicemen during a period of patriotic zeal. Below are some of the most crucial sites relating to this dark time in the city’s history.

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