‘white paranoia’ spook hunters

White Gangscorporations_lincoln_quote

Prior to the 1940s, there were many Black and Latino clubs and clicks, but very few outright gangs. This was also true of the white population of Los Angeles. However, this changed in the 1940s. In the 1940s, the Black population doubled as people came to work building ships and weapons for the military during World War II. At the time, Blacks and Latinos were restricted in where they could live. Blacks had to live along Central Ave. and Latinos lived mostly in East LA. As the population increased, some whites feared that Blacks and Latinos would start living outside of these restricted areas. Huntington Park, Bell, South Gate, Inglewood, Compton, Gardena, and West LA all had organized white gangs that would seek out Blacks and Latinos and harass them or beat them up. The largest of these gangs were the Spook Hunters. “Spook” is a derogatory term used toward Black people. During the 1940s, the Ku Klux Klan also emerged in LA. The first Black and Latino gangs were in response to these white gangs. The gangs acted as protection for Black and Latino neighborhoods.  Incidents such as the Zoot Suit Riots, in which white marines attacked Latino zoot suiters, led to a higher degree of organization in the gangs of both Blacks and Latinos.

The Spook Hunters would often cross Alameda traveling west to violently attack black youths from the area.

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