Wednesday, August 2, 2017

75 Yrs. Ago In Local Ugliness

On this day in 1942, Jose Diaz is murdered, and his body is found at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir, near Los Angeles, California. Two days later, police began to round up and arrest 22 men of Mexican descent in the Los Angeles area for conspiring to kill Diaz. Despite a lack of evidence, the 22 men were eventually prosecuted for beating Diaz to death. The trial and subsequent convictions characterized a period of racial prejudice and injustice in Los Angeles during World War II.

Media coverage surrounding the trial was particularly troubling. The Los Angeles Examiner [A Hearst paper. Surprise! — M.B.] referred to young Mexican Americans as “hoodlums.” A captain from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office told a grand jury that Mexicans had a “biological tendency” to be violent since they were descendants of Indian tribes who practiced human sacrifice. He went on to say that they had a “total disregard for human life” and an inbred “desire to use a knife or some lethal weapon. In other words, [a Mexican’s] desire is to kill, or at least, let blood.”
It got worse.

If the Wiki is to be trusted (Probably not; compare & contrast: Where was "Sleepy Lagoon", Commerce, or Bell? Map here.) Sleepy Lagoon was named after this Harry James Fox Trot.

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