1940s The Zoot Suit

Discussion in 'History of Style : A Remembrance of Things Past' started by clay, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. clay

    clay New Member

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    From Wikipedia:
    The Zoot Suit Riot of '43

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    Nowadays when we hear the phrase "Zoot Suit Riot" we undoubtedly think of big band swing music and flashy dancing, but there is a little more to it than that. What indeed was this Zoot Suit riot? Who played the roles, and what was happening in LA in 1943?

    Background:
    The 1940's was a period in American history filled with social unrest and racial violence. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States, left paranoid and prejudiced, declared war so to speak, on Japanese Americans. A country that prides itself on freedom and opportunity took it upon itself to incarcerate over 100,000 Japanese people, regardless of whether or not they were American citizens. By the middle of 1942, completely innocent people many of whom had never been to Japan were thrown into American concentration camps. An event not glamorized in our elementary and high school text books. The west coast became an area of high racial tension, which was ultimately felt throughout the country (Brown 448). It wasn't until 1988 that the United States finally gave an official apology to these American people.
    Tension continued to escalate as the decade rolled on. Los Angeles 1943, was no different, it was here that racial resentment grew between Mexican-Americans and whites in California. At this time LA was experiencing an agriculture labor shortage, and requested that around 200,000 Mexican laborers be sent to work in California. Now, much more so than today, Zoot Suits were in style, it was cool to have a zoot suit. They were worn typically by the Mexican American youth in California, and it would be pretty common to find groups of these kids hanging out in their "zoot suit" gangs, and like the greasers of the fifties, they too were seen as a threat to the culture, not only for being foreign, but for going against norm.
    As almost a response to an article written describing an event where a group of Mexicans beat up American soldiers, riots broke out. That was the last draw; now people had a reason to uleash their feelings of resentment and hatred they had for so long held back. "Thousands of marines, sailors, soldiers, and civilians imposed a reign of terror on Mexican-American neighborhoods..." (Brown, 455). In the riots that followed, between these pechuccios, the zooters, and the whites, the American soldiers beat up the zooters, destroyed their suits, the symbol of their status, and cut their long hair(Smith lecture). It wasn't until the government saw the riots as a possible threat to their image, as seen by the Mexican ambassador, that it declared LA "off-limits to navy personel" (Freeman, 455)
    When the LAPD showed up to stop the riot, most of the zooters were arrested, and in light of the situation, the City Council made the wearing of a Zoot Suit a misdemeanor. The soldiers were praised for their actions, and the riots and hatred that had found an outlet in LA moved on and was felt by much of the rest of the country as well (Brown, 455).

    -Al Waxman describes a city in turmoil.
    "Four boys came out of a pool hall. They were wearing zoot-suits that have become a symbol of a fighting flag. Police ordered them into arrest cars. One refused. He asked: "Why am I being arrested?" The police officer answered with three swift blows of the night-stick across the boy's head and he went down...he was one legged with a wooden limb. Maybe the officer didn't know he was attacking a cripple...Farther down the street the men stopped a streetcar, forcing the motorman to open the door and proceeded to inspect the clothing of the male passengers, "We're looking for zoot suits to burn," they shouted" (Brown, 455)


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    Brown, Joshuwa ed. Who Built America?Working people and the nation's economy, politics, culture, and society New York. 1992
    Smith, Dr. Suzanne, History 122 lecture, Mar 31,1999 :blink: :blink:
     
    #1 clay, Jun 10, 2004
    Last edited by moderator ksnodgress: Jul 15, 2008
  2. clay

    clay New Member

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    Pics of Zoot Suits: B)
     

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  3. clay

    clay New Member

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    Pics of Zoot Suits: :innocent:
     

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  4. clay

    clay New Member

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    This photo the guy actually credited with inventing the " Lindy Hop" or Swing dancing as everyone knows it today
    and guess what? I forgot his name. My bad, will post it later. :shock:
     

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  5. clay

    clay New Member

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    Cab Calloway!! :woot:
     

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  6. clay

    clay New Member

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    Cab Calloway!! :woot:
     

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  7. clay

    clay New Member

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    Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Swing dancing all the samething. This style of dress was definatly associated with it in different forms. The most extreme was the Zoot Suit.
     

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  8. Hanne

    Hanne Storm & Sommer

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  9. Hanne

    Hanne Storm & Sommer

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    The Zoot-Suit and Style Warfare
    by Stuart Cosgrove



    From History Workshop Journal. Vol. 18 (Autumn 1984) pp. 77-91.
    by permission of Oxford University Press. INTRODUCTION: THE SILENT NOISE OF SINISTER CLOWNS

    For the full story please visit : http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/cosgrove.html
     
  10. fourboltmain

    fourboltmain More Old Skool Than You

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    Oh please, not again...

    EDIT: Wait, History of Style, where the hell have I been? I thought this was in Trends.
     
    #10 fourboltmain, Jul 15, 2008
    Last edited by moderator dirtyboots: Jul 15, 2008
  11. Hanne

    Hanne Storm & Sommer

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    zoot yy.jpg
    11 Sep 1942 --- Jazz Band Leader, Lionel Hampton, draws an alteration markings on the jacket of his trumpeter. The jacket will be altered into a Zoot Suit, which became popular in the early 1940s. The style of suit was originally called a "sharpie", but the name Zoot Suit lasted because of a popular song. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

    BE086450.jpg
    05 Sep 1942, Washington, DC, USA --- 9/5/1942-Washington, DC- Real hep cats are these Zoot Suit-clad dancers on the ballroom floor of the Washington Hotel. It is doubtful if the garments lend any grace or agility to the jitterbugs who wear them, but even if they did, the needle nuts and gandy dancers may have to do with out them for the duration, because the WBP thinks the Zoot Suits unpatriotic, since they require more cloth than the ordinary suit. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

    zoot BE086625.jpg
    1943 --- Teens Dressed in Zoot Suits --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

    found on Picasa - more pictures here
     
  12. Hanne

    Hanne Storm & Sommer

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    lol fourboltmain :lol:.. your memory is not half bad.. this thread is a copied/reworked thread from Personal Style

    View attachment 386548
    ca. 1943 --- 1943: ZOOT SUITS... : Zoot by any other name- a patriot just the same. Photograph. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

    Undated:

    View attachment 386549 View attachment 386550

    View attachment 386551 View attachment 386552

    found on Picasa - more pictures here
     

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  13. BerlinRocks

    BerlinRocks New Member

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    ^thanks a lot ...
    i like those . these are so funny ...
    and i can put an image/reference on those large pants we're currently seeing ....
     

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