Almanac: August » Almanac: August 02

Almanac: August
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1847

William A. Leidesdorff launches the first steam boat in San Francisco Bay. [Source: HistoryNet.com.]

1942

José Gallardo Díaz was discovered unconscious and dying on a road near a swimming hole (known as the Sleepy Lagoon) in Commerce. The incident was used as a pretense to arrest seventeen Mexican youths for murder, even though the exact cause of death remains a mystery. (He was drunk from a party the previous night, and suffered a blow to the base of his skull that might have been from a car crash, or from a fall.) Held without bail, the youths were tried with insufficient evidence. On January 13, 1943, nine of the youths were convicted of a murder that may never have happened. The remainder were convicted of lesser charges. In October 1944, the California State Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the convictions and the youths were freed. [Sources: California: An Island on the Land by Carey McWilliams, and Wikipedia.]