SLEEPY LAGOON DEFENSE COMMITTEE
When on January 13, 1943, the defendants in the Sleepy Lagoon case were convicted, Radio Berlin and Radio Tokio shortwaved the news of the conviction to Latin America and implied that nowhere in the USA was there to be found a friend of the Mexican or Mexican American.
For over a year the activities of the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, supported by people all over the country, of every race and color, of every national origin of different political beliefs — have refuted that charge.
Among the signed and delivered petitions to Attorney General Kenny on the Sleepy Lagoon case is further proof of that support. Just reading the names from a few of the petitions will give you the idea. They are pure American — indicative of every national descent. Andrade, Molina, Ortiz and Rivera; Goldberg, Feldman, and Kaminsky; Thompson, Wilson and Horton; McDuff, Sullivan, Fitzgerald!
From the Transport Workers Union in New Orleans, from a college professor, from a group of men in Naval training, from soldiers convalescing in a midwestern hospital, from a group of Negro youth, from Japanese-Americans at Manzanar — come signatures to the petition which reads in part:
We, the undersigned, interested in the maintenance of our democratic institutions and the eradication of race prejudice hereby petition you, the Attorney General . . . . . personally to take charge of and thoroughly investigate this case in order that your office shall not be used as an instrumentality for the support of convictions based upon race prejudice."
Oral arguments in the appeal action will be heard before the Second District Court of Appeal May 15th. Ben Margolis will argue the case for the defense.
Among the sponsors of the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, which is headed by Carey McWilliams (author of Brothers Under the Skin) are: Charlotta A. Bass, Editor of the California Eagle; Reverend Manuel M. Canseco; Philip M. Connelly, Secretary of the Los Angeles Industrial Union Council, CIO; Professor Frank Davis, U.C.L.A.; John Warren Day, Dean, Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas; Luis Diaz Flores, General Manager, La Opinion; Rita Hayworth; Professor Harry Hoijer, U.C.L.A.; Congressman Vito Marcantonio; Gabriel Navarro; J. David Orozco; Michael Quill, Councilman, New York City; Mrs. Will Rogers, Jr.; Dr. Camilo Servin; Rafael Trujillo; Orson Welles.