“…I respectfully appeal to you requesting that you take all those measures that you may deem convenient to bring about the cessation of all such acts in violation of law and order which have caused intense alarm among my nationals…”
Alfredo Elias Calles, the Mexican Consul in Los Angeles, sent this telegram to Rear Admiral D.W. Bagley, Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District on June 9, 1943. He was especially concerned with the apparent targeting of Mexican nationals by American “sailors soldiers marines and civilians.” Those clashes are better known as the Zoot Suit Riots.
Here is the text of Bagley’s reply later that day:
I deeply regret that individual incidents of hoodlumism in Los Angeles have been interpreted as acts specifically involving nationals of either Mexico or the United States. For the very explicit reasoning of your telegram, I already have acted to cope with the deplorable situation and will continue to act within my prerogatives until matters are adjusted to our mutual satisfaction. I am deeply appreciative of your telegram because of its sincere intent to deny any individual or group an opportunity to disrupt the amiable relations treasured by our respective peoples. The frankness of your telegram assures me that you and I are sympathetic to each other’s position in a situation which should have been classified as simple rowdyism and handled accordingly at its inception. My already great admiration for Mexico, its people and its officials has been increased through understanding of the sincere motive of your telegram.
Explore the 70th Anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots through the records of the U.S. Navy. This telegram, and the Commandant’s response can be found in the Commandant’s records at the National Archives at Riverside (RG 181).
“Hundreds of service men prowling downtown Los Angeles mostly on foot — disorderly — apparently on prowl for Mexicans”
The reports of continued chaos continued to come in to the Commanders throughout the Eleventh Naval District. Reports of groups of “servicemen prowling downtown Los Angeles,” in groups of “10 to 150 men…carrying hammock clues, belts, knives and tire irons,” were disturbing to the Navy commanders. The riots were disruptive to the war effort and made maintaining good relations with Angelinos difficult as well.
Though in many press reports, the “zoot suiters” were seen as the instigators of the violence, the Navy’s records show a clear concern with the behavior of Naval personnel towards the Mexican community in Los Angeles.
Explore the 70th Anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots through the records of the U.S. Navy. This report to the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District is from records at the National Archives at Riverside (RG 181).
May 9, 1942: These California farm families are preparing to evacuate to internment camps, as documented by photographer Dorothea Lange.
Centerville, California. Farm families of Japanese ancestry awaiting the evacuation buses which will take them to the Tanforan Assembly center along with 595 others evacuated from this district under Civilian Exclusion Order Number 34. 05/09/1942
Dorothea Lange, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. You can find our past posts on Japanese American Internment & Relocation under the #Japanese American Internment tag.
Kaiser shipyards, Richmond, California. Miss Eastine Cowner, a former waitress, is helping in her job as a scaler to construct the Liberty Ship SS George Washington Carver launched on May 7, 1943.
From the series: Negro Activities in Industry, Government, and the Armed Forces from the Records of the Office of War Information.
“Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. Construction of this War Relocation Authority center has commenced. Approximately 10,000 evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed here for the duration.” 4/23/1942
Clem Albers, photographer. From the Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority.
Happy Earth Day! How can the National Archives be a greener place? How about using goats?
Last year, 900 goats grazed on the grounds of the Reagan Presidential Library.
An annual brush clearing is an important part of fire abatement because the Library is located in a fire-prone area. The Library took on 400 goats in 2011 to clear 13 acres of brush around the property. In 2012, 900 goats covered 40 acres.
A portable fence was used to move the goats around and keep them safe. A shepherd also lived on the property for the entire month to watch over the goats so that they were safe from coyotes or bobcats.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog.
Take Action for Earth Day!
ROADSIDE LITTER CLEAN-UP. 04/1972
Already did your part for Earth Day? Celebrate by checking out “Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project” now on exhibit at the National Archives.
How are you taking action for Earth Day?
Plan of Alcatraz Prison Towers at the Dock and Power House, 1940
Fifty years ago today, the Federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay closed on March 21, 1963. Acquired by the Department of Justice in 1933, the federal prison opened in 1934. Over the course of its years in operation, the prison hosted such infamous figures as Al Capone, Robert Stroud (aka The Birdman), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Rafael Cancel Miranda. These plans for prison towers at the dock and power house were part of the overall modernization of the prison facilities undertaken in 1940.
Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? Make sure to take Fido to get his teeth checked!
To help you to remember this important designation for the month of February, we give you Rounder the dolphin. Rounder is pictured here with a veterinarian—Rounder needed a partial dental plate! The images were taken between 1965 and 1967.
These pictures are held in a series of Historical Photograph Files of the Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments at the Eleventh Naval District. Pacific Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, CA.
Make Way for Enterprise!
The Space Shuttle Enterprise passes through a hillside that has been cut to clear its wingspan. The orbiter is en route to Space Launch Complex Six aboard its specially-designed 76-wheel transporter, 02/01/1985
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first first full scale prototype. It was built without a functional heatshield or engines and therefore could not achieve spaceflight. A few weeks later the Enterprise was retired and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Enterprise was on display at the Steven F. Edvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport until April 27, 2012 when it was ferried to New York City to become part of the exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
(Coming off the anniversary of the most tragic week in Space Shuttle history, it seemed something lighter was called for.)
July 10, 1913 the temperature in Death Valley, California hit a steamy 134 °F. It is the highest temperature recorded in the United States.
Looking across desert toward mountains, “Death Valley National Monument,” California from the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, 1941 - 1942