As we began answering the question, "Whose American Dream?" we led a lively activity about the Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles from 1943. The day's lesson included reading two contradictory documents over what caused the Zoot Suit Riots and then discussing the sources in relation to an article about the preceding Sleepy Lagoon Murder, an incident that many see as a spark to the riots. To add to the debate, we did not want to provide too much information on one side or another to our students, however we did want to contextualize the riots in an objective way to provide our students with background. By starting with a lighthearted entrance ticket about the zoot suits before entering into the heavier material, we were able to engage our students in this time that many of them were not familiar with previously.
To view the PowerPoint by which we led a direct teacher presentation on the Zoot Suit Riots, please select the following link: Zoot Suit Riots.pptx