ZOOT-SUIT RIOTS TIMELINE
June 3, 1943 – Thursday
A group of thirty-five Mexican American boys were having a meeting at the Central Police Station. They were discussing their neighborhood problems and the possibility of forming a club. During the meeting a report came in stating that a group of sailors was roaming the Alpine area looking for zoot-suiters in revenge for beatings they and others had sustained. When the meeting ended, the boys were taken back to their neighborhoods in squad cars to prevent incident. Thirty-five sailors attacked the boys who were taken to the Alpine district soon after they were dropped off. Two boys were badly beaten. Sailors had also entered the Carmen Theater on Carmen and Figueroa Streets and beaten a boy there.
That same evening, a gang of Mexican-American Youths attacked eleven sailors on the 1700th block of North Main Street (Domer, 72-73).
June 4, 1943 – Friday
Sailors enlarged their forces to about 200 men and formed a caravan of about twenty cars and taxis to hunt Mexican American youth dressed in zoot-suits. The traveled through downtown Los Angeles and the eastside of the city, out to the suburbs as far as Belvedere Gardens. Sheriff's deputies had received riot warning and were waiting in the area with seven squad cars and additional men. The sailors left the area without incident. They returned to Alpine and Figueroa Streets where the police and Shore Patrol were waiting. Seventeen sailors were apprehended and turned over to the naval officers without charges. The other sailors were dispersed. This group of sailor was seeking revenge for the beatings of some sailors and the alleged rape of sailors' wives by Mexican American gangs. Before the dispersion of the group, the sailors managed to beat four isolated youths dressed in zoot-suits at different points of their journey. All four boys were hospitalized (Domer. 74-76).
June 5, 1943 – Saturday
Soldiers and Marines join the sailors in their attacks on zoot-suiters. Servicemen walked arms linked through downtown Los Angeles, stopping anyone wearing a zoot-suit, and ordering them to put away their suit or suffer the consequences the next night. Police made little attempt to stop the servicemen. Twenty-seven Mexican American boys were arrested and jailed that evening "on suspicion."
On that same evening, sailors entered a bar on the eastside and ordered two Mexican customers wearing zoot-suits to remove their clothes. One was beaten as well as stripped when he refused to comply. The other obeyed the commands of the sailors and his cloths were destroyed. Similar events occurred throughout the city. Police did little to stop the sailors. (McWilliam, 222)
June 6, 1943 – Sunday
Six cars with Sailors drove down Brooklyn Avenue. At Ramona Boulevard, they stopped and beat up eight teenage Mexicans. They severely damaged a bar on Indiana Street when they failed to find zoot-suiters in the establishment. The police arrested eleven boys who were beaten on Carmlita Street, six more were arrested one block down the road, seven at Ford Boulevard, six at Gifford Street and through the Mexican eastside housing. Forty-four Mexican boys were arrested by morning. Civilians also partook in the riots (McWilliams, 223).
June 7, 1943 - Monday
Five thousand people filled the downtown area near Main Street. Large numbers of civilian were also among the rioters. Some were there simply for the excitement, others to aid in the hunt for and beating of zoot-suiters. Those were dressed in these suits were stripped and there cloths were destroyed, often by fire. Street cars were halted and searched for zoot-suiters. But they were no longer the only targets of the sailors and civilians. Blacks and Filipinos were also attacked. One black man, a defense worker in his work clothes was severely beaten. Another black man lost an eye when seventy-five servicemen attacked him (Domer, 83-84) Servicemen searching for zoot-suiters invaded Meralta Theater on First and St. Louis. Again, police did little to stop the servicemen, although thousands of reserve officers had been called on duty.
At midnight, the military authorities declared the downtown area of Los Angeles "out of bounds" for military personnel. Arrival of the Military Police and Shore Patrol ended the riots (McWilliams, 225)