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Zoot Suit Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 56 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Zoot Suit.
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Historical Context

The Sleeply Lagoon Murder and the Zoot Suit Riots

Valdez's play is loosely based on the events of a 1942 murder, which came to be known as the "Sleepy Lagoon Murder." On August 1, 1942, a man named Jose Diaz (renamed Jose Williams in the play) was found by the side of a road, bleeding and unconscious. He later died of head trauma; he had been drunk at the time of his attack. Although his wounds could have been inflicted by an automobile, it was determined that he had been the victim of a gang fight that had occurred nearby. Public outcry, fanned by the headlines of the newspapers, resulted in a roundup of hundreds of Mexican Americans. Henry Leyvas (Henry Reyna in the play) and twenty-one of his friends, who had participated in the fight, were arrested and charged with the murder of Diaz. The young Chicanos sported "zoot suits...

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This section contains 668 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Zoot Suit Study Guide
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Zoot Suit from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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