We're thrilled you want to share and print this story.
Please take 30 seconds to fill out a survey form, then click back on your browser and click on “Continue to Printing” to print this page. Continue to a Quick Survey
Donations of any size are needed and appreciated. Your contribution serves TEACHERS and STUDENTS in 197 countries that access our website 24/7 and keeps THE MY HERO PROJECT celebrating and sharing THE BEST OF HUMANITY. $3 covers one hour of our web hosting costs.
Thank you for printing this story! If you've found MY HERO to be a valuable resource, please donate today. We need your support now more than ever to stay online! Donations of any size help us continue to provide our resources to millions of students around the world. $3 covers one hour of our web hosting costs. Continue to Donate
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
Remembering a 9-year-old’s pioneering step
by Clara Germani Senior editor @claragermani, CSM
from United States
The Mendez Historic Freedom Trail and Monument in Westminster, California, set to open this fall, commemorates the successful 1940s legal battle that determined separate schools for Mexican American children were unconstitutional. Courtesy of Oscar Johnson
Concerning discrimination against Mexican Americans, Mendez v. Westminster was cited as precedent in more well-known Brown v. Board of Education
October 10, 2022
Before there was Brown v. Board of Education, there was Mendez v. Westminster.
This Orange County suburb is one of those postwar drive-by burgs that are an unremarkable blur at freeway speed.
However, the quiet stratifications of Westminster history are quite remarkable: Indigenous culture overlaid by vast 19th-century Mexican land-grant ranchos, then the fragrant citrus boom of the early 20th century. And – since the 1970s – it’s become one of the biggest concentrations of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States, known as Little Saigon.
But in the 1940s, a group of Mexican American families here waged a pioneering battle against the sorting of children by ethnicity – Anglo-American children to one school, Mexican American to another. The reason, a local official testified, was “Mexican children have to be Americanized ... taught cleanliness of mind, mannerisms, dress.” Bracing inspiration for forced segregation.
Grade schooler Sylvia Mendez, who today in her 80s is still on the civil rights speaking circuit, was barred from a school close to the land her father ranched and sent to a “Mexican school.”
The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.