The Man Who Set Off The Biggest White and Mexican Race Riots in California – José Díaz

Only one photo was ever taken of José Díaz. It was in 1942 and he was 22 years old. A week later he was killed. The Los Angeles police department blamed his death on gang violence and arrested 600 Mexican Americans who were believed to be gang members. These arrests and the media coverage that followed set off one of the biggest reported cases of racial attacks and racial violence in California’s history – and became known as the Zoot Suit Riots.


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