“Walking slowly, their legs swinging from ballooned cuffs fitting snug about their ankles, their coats long and hip tight, their shoulders to broad to be those of western men the youth walked” . During the World War II period when the youth donned the zoot-suits they had come to symbolize in essence a mass ideol...
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...couldn’t breathe. They danced and wailed for the music to be played again. They danced until they were panting and stumbling of to the sidelines, until they were so exhausted that they were dripping with sweat2.
This was the influence of the zoot-suit. It caused madness and it caused joy. It made people within the African-American community forget just for one moment that they existed in a nation with oppression. It is in everyday practices and ritual such as these that the zoot-suit made history. It merged identity, ethnicity, race, society, political affiliations and music. But most of all it began a chain reaction that would have startling effects on following generations. For individuals such as Malcolm Little, the suit wasn’t a costume or an attire it was a symbol of meaning that gave the Black culture a reason to fight. A reason to rebel. A reason to be free.
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