The mission of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research is to document the history of Southern California and the Los Angeles metropolitan region through oral history interviews. It holds a significant online collection of the post-World War II Chicana and Chicano experience.
The interviews in this series document the ideological transformation of the Chicana and Chicano generation in Los Angeles. Dissatisfied with their position in US society, Chicana and Chicano activists built a civil rights movement from the ground up. Interviewees were selected based on their experience as members or leaders of Chicana and Chicano Movement organizations from 1962 to 1978. Collectively the oral histories document a variety of social justice struggles that include, but are not limited to, educational improvement, union advocacy, voting and political rights, gender equality, and anti-war activism.
This interview is part of the oral history series titled Community Service Organization. The Community Service Organization, commonly known as the CSO, was founded in 1947 as a civil rights advocacy group that boasted a multi-ethnic membership. Individuals selected for this series resided in Los Angeles during the 1940s and joined the Community Service Organization during its formative years. The combined narratives of these interviews highlight war-time community life and outline historical precursors to the Chicano Movement.
The purpose of this series is to document the social justice activism of the Mexican American generation and to explore family and community life in war-time Los Angeles. Individuals selected for this series resided in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s and began their civic participation prior to 1960. Represented groups include a wide range of activists, including labor, political, and educational activists. Their combined experience underscores war-time community life and outlines the historical precursors to the Chicano Movement.
Background from the Finding Aid for the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records, 1942-1945.
The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (first known as the Citizens' Committee for the Defense of Mexican American Youth) was organized in October 1942 in response to the indictment of 22 young men for murder; all defendants but one were Mexican American; 12 defendants were convicted of first degree murder by Superior Court of Los Angeles County; Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee raised funds for the appeal of the case and roused public opinion through education and publicity programs; judgments and decisions of the lower court were reversed by the District Court of Appeal of the state of California, 2nd Appellate District, October 4, 1944.In August 1942, 22 defendants, all Mexican Americans but one, were indicted by the grand jury of Los Angeles county for the murder of José Diaz, whose death occurred at a party on the Williams ranch in the city of Los Angeles near a little pond called the Sleepy Lagoon. 12 were convicted of first degree murder by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County; the case was appealed to the District Court of Appeal of the state of California, 2nd Appellate District, where the judgments and decisions of the lower court were reversed (October 4, 1944).