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Trouble in Europe-1940-45 Many historians feel that the Second War was just a continuation of the First One. The US was ultimately involved after Japan,

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Presentation on theme: "Trouble in Europe-1940-45 Many historians feel that the Second War was just a continuation of the First One. The US was ultimately involved after Japan,"— Presentation transcript:


2 Trouble in Europe-1940-45 Many historians feel that the Second War was just a continuation of the First One. The US was ultimately involved after Japan, who was part of the Axis Powers, bombed Pear Harbor in Hawaii. Over 10 million men and women served in the War.

3 Latinos in WWII About 500,000 Mexican Americans served in the War. In Los Angeles, Mexicans composed an estimated 1/10 th of the population, yet accounted for 1/5 th of the war casualties (Acuna, 2007:198).

4 Medals of Honor Twelve Mexican Americans won Medals of Honor during World War II, proportionately more than any other ethnic group. Guy Gabaldon serving in the western Pacific, captured hundreds of Japanese prisoners.

5 Guy Gabaldon His Navy Cross citation reads, Working alone in the front lines, he daringly entered enemy caves, pillboxes, buildings and jungle brush, frequently in the face of hostile fire, and succeeded not only obtaining vital military information but in capturing well over 1,000 civilian and troops. He learned to speak Japanese when he moved in to live with a Japanese American family in East Los Angeles. At 17, he joined the Marines.

6 Guy Gabaldon The Navy upgraded his Silver Star to a Navy Cross after the film Hell to Eternity (1960), which documented Guys war experiences. The movie however, did not mention that Gabaldon was a Mexican American and not a blue-eyed blond like the movie actor.

7 Hell to Eternity

8 Anna Torres Vasquez Mexican Women also joined the Womens Army Auxiliary Corps as well as the Navy Womens Service and Womens Air Force Service pilots units. Women went oversees as nurses and exercised other options that the War opened for them. For example, Anna Torres Vasquez of East Chicago, Indiana, volunteered for the WAAC, serving as an air-traffic controller at a Florida flight school.

9 Other Women During WWII

10 Rosie Riveters (Rositas)

11 Felix Longoria After the War, Mexican Americans were still subjected to segregation and barred from public facilities in schools, theaters, swimming pools, restaurants, and housing tracts. Mexican Americans organized the American GI Forum in response to the refusal of a funeral director in Three Rivers, Texas to bury Felix Longoria, a soldier killed in the Pacific. Longorias remains were finally buried at Arlington Cemetery with full honors after Congressman LB Johnson intervened (Rosales, 1997;100).

12 The American GI Forum The Forum broke with LULAC tradition of not involving itself in direct electoral politics. It encouraged its members to vote and endorse candidates. The GI Forum motto was; Education is our freedom, and our freedom should be everybodys business. This new aggressiveness of Mexican Americans in Texas and elsewhere signaled a new intensity of involvement in civil rights (Acuna 2007;213)

13 Discrimination In Los Angeles during wartime, segregation was still common, and many recreational facilities excluded Mexicans. They could not use swimming pools in East Los Angeles and in other Southland communities. Often Mexicans and blacks could swim only on Wednesdays- the day the County drained the water. In movie houses in places like San Fernando, Mexicans sat in the balcony.

14 Pachucos! A minority of Mexican youth joined gangs in their neighborhoods like White Fence, Alpine Street, El Hoyo /Maravilla and Happy Valley among others. These youngsters often adopted the pachuco style of dressing. Although there were many other black and white gangs at the time, the media, particularly the Los Angeles Times, chose to focus on these Mexican youngsters and portrayed them as careless hoodlums.

15 Sleepy Lagoon Case On August 1, 1942 members of the 38 th Street Club were involved in a fight with rival gang members. When they went back to get reinforcements, they ended up crashing a nearby party. At the party, a fight ensued. Next morning a guest ended up dead and members of the 38 th Street Gang were blamed. In the days that followed, 22 members were rounded up and jailed. The police and prosecutors violated many of their rights and did not have sufficient evidence to point to their involvement. But still, they claimed that Mexicans were inherently criminal and violent.

16 Sleepy Lagoon Case Thanks to the Citizens Committee for Latin American Youth, the decision was reversed in 1944 but not after the County prosecutors and media painted the Mexican American ethnic group as bloodthirsty and unruly.

17 Zoot Suit Riots, 1943 In the Spring and Summer of 1943, several incidents led to the so called Zoot Suit Riots in Southern California. According to Rodolfo Acuna, Events climaxed on the evening of June 7, when thousands of soldiers, sailors, and civilians surged down Main Street and Broadway in search of pachucos. The mob crashed into bars and broke the legs off stools, using them as clubs.

18 Zoot Suit Riots The press reported 500 zoot suiters ready for battle. By that time, Filipinos and blacks had also become targets. Mexicans, beaten and their clothes ripped off, were left bleeding in the streets. The mob surged into movie theaters, turning on the lights, marching down the aisles, and pulling zoot-suit clad youngsters out of their seats. Police arrested more than 600 Mexican youths without cause and labeled the arrests preventive action (Acuna, 2007;204).

19 Zoot Suit Riots

20 Luis Valdez- Zoot Suit



23 Early Chicano Activism ch.43 1.What is chuco? 2.Comment on the Ayres Report. 3.Who helped to organize the defense of the Sleepy Lagoon case? 4.Whats your opinion on the quote, zoot-suit equals hoodlum? 5.What were the recommendations of Earl Warrens committee? From Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna

24 Luis Valdez A playwright, actor, and director born in Delano, California in 1940. He has used theater as a vehicle for political activism and making pointed social statements through his art. Founder of El Teatro Campesino who also wrote Zoo Suit in 1977 and produced La Bamba in 1987.

25 Luis Valdez Valdez became increasingly involved in the Chicano movement as it gained strength throughout Southwest and California. He particularly championed the the cause of the underpaid, overworked migrant farm laborers. In 1965, he joined Cesar Chavez movement and formed the Teatro Campesino as a way to educate and spread the message of the farm worker. They would often perform one-act plays on the flatbed of trucks in open fields, community centers, and church halls.

26 El Teatro Campesino

27 Mexican Worker Eventhough the War raged on and many Mexicans joined the ranks of the armed forces, many still faced discrimination at home. In California, Mexicans numbered about 457,900 out of a total population of 6,907,387; Los Angeles had 315,000 Mexicans.

28 Mexicans in Los Angeles As of the summer of 1942, only 5,000 Mexicans worked in the basic industries of that city. Further, Los Angeles County employed about 16,000 workers, only 400 of whom were Mexican. The war had certainly not broken down racial barriers. The same account reported that the Los Angeles Police Department employed 22 Mexican American officers out of a force of 2,547 (Acuna 2007:208)

29 The Bracero Program 1942- The Emergency Labor Program was established between US and Mexico. The contract stipulated that Mexican workers would not displace domestic workers, exempted braceros from military service, and obligated the US government to prevent discrimination against these Mexican workers. The contract also regulated transportation, housing, and wages of the braceros.

30 The Bracero Program Under this agreement, over 300,000 braceros were imported into the US from 1942 and 1947. Not all braceros worked on farms; by August 1945, 67,704 braceros had jobs with US railroads. About 50,000 braceros were sent to work in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (Acuna,2007:217-8).

31 Education -Mendez v. Westminster School District, 1946 declared the segregation of Mexican children in schools unconstitutional. There was considerable cooperation between LULAC and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the 1940s and 1950s.

32 Gonzalo & Felicitas Mendez Sylvia Mendez (born 1936) Mendez grew up during a time when most southern and southwestern schools were segregated. In the case of California, Hispanics were not allowed to attend schools that were designated for Whites only and were sent to the so-called Mexican schools. Mendez was denied enrollment to a Whites only school, an event which prompted her parents to take action and together organized various sectors of the Hispanic community who filed a lawsuit in the local federal court. The success of their action, would eventually bring to an end the era of segregated education.

33 Mendez v. Westminster

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