Season 14, Episode 8 Zoot Suit Riots

First Aired: February 10, 2002

“Zoot Suit Riots” recalls a week of violence that rocked Los Angeles in June 1943, pitting Mexican-Americans against Anglos, many of them servicemen. Hector Elizondo narrates the hour, which uses atmospheric re-creations and interviews with historians and people who lived through it to chart a year of steadily rising tension leading up to the riots. One key event: an August 1942 altercation in which a young Mexican-American man died. The defendants were also Mexican-American, but the circus trial at which they were convicted inflamed prejudices and on June 3, 1943, says Elizondo, “the city exploded.”

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  • Premiered: October 4, 1988
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: This much-honored PBS documentary series explores American history, one topic or person at a time. Its Peabody Award winners include profiles of FDR and Malcolm X, and such diverse topics as Nixon's 1972 trip to China, the controversy surrounding `Citizen… (more)

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