Professor Don Romesburg, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Sonoma State University, stumbled upon a passing mention to a multi-day riot in 1953 at the Los Guilucos School for Girls (a juvenile justice facility in the local area), and an initial report indicated the riot was related to interracial and sexual issues between the girls. This event became a national media sensation, led to the resignation of the detention center’s director, prompted an official report, and provoked the reassignment of numerous girls to other institutions. It has never been the topic of a significant historical study. Students in the Youth: Gender Perspectives course will search out materials related to the riots from archives and special collections in several Northern California locations. An ideal class project--an investigative mystery involving gender, race, class, sexuality, and age!
SSU librarians, Paula Hammett and Lynn Prime will work with the class to explain how archives work and how to find and access relevant materials. This research guide, along with one on Archival Research, was created to facilitate students' work.
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[Petticlerc, Denne. Girls Riot at Los Guilucos, Fortnight (June 1953): 9-12] "Girls like high-bred horses jammed into a corral, recreational facilities at a low ebb, energetic teenagers listless and unruly--then in a sudden flash, the riot came." [photo caption]