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Thu Aug 31, 2017, 11:22 AM

Mexicos pachucos keep zoot suits, defiance alive

Mexico’s ‘pachucos’ keep zoot suits, defiance alive

Decked out in baggy suits, their watch chains swinging to the mambo as feathers bop atop their wide-brimmed hats, Mexico’s “pachucos” are keeping alive the tradition of the zoot suit — and the defiance it represents.

Born in Mexican immigrant communities in the United States in the 1930s, pachuco culture started out as the gangsta style of its time — complete with criminal associations, baggy pants and bling.

It was a time of deep prejudice in the American south and west, where restaurants often posted signs reading “No dogs, negroes or Mexicans.”

In a show of defiance of the dominant white culture, young Mexicans joined urban blacks in sporting the zoot suit — long jackets, baggy pants tapering to a peg at the ankles, Oxford shoes, dangling watch fobs and splaying hats.


Editorials and other articles:

~ ~ ~

Combing the Zoot Suit Riots and the Murder At Sleepy Lagoon

By Brandon Diaz
March 09, 2016

Combing the Zoot Suit Riots and the Murder At Sleepy LagoonBy Brandon Diaz
March 09, 2016

It was 1940s Los Angeles. Orange groves hung strings of citrus just miles to the south. Houses were popping up in the San Fernando Valley to the east. A jaunt to the Pacific lay just a few miles west. Young couples swooned over one-another, necking on those beaches, sipping bottled Cokes and puffing Lucky Strikes under blistering Southern Cali suns.

Los Angeles was in a boom.

Its greater metro area had a population larger than that of 37 states. Some 2.8 million Angelenos planted their flags and seeded their roots. There were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Armenians, Italians, Blacks, and Mexican-Americans weaving into the sprawl, all amongst one another. The depression was over, and industries offered jobs, good-paying jobs. The stability felt tactile. Some sense of the promise of America being delivered. Actual prosperity a few turns of a wrench away.

But with cultural richness blossoming, one specific tragedy would pour floodlights over over the city, illuminating a bigoted mirk that crawled the social undercurrent of 1940s LA:


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