Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez

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by mitch067
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
Historical biographies

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Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez

Influence on Latino Americans

Lasting Impact


Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez

Teacher Resources


Early 1940s - Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez enrolled their three children in an all white school in Westminster and were denied enrollment1945 - Filed a class action law suit against the Orange County schools because it violated the 14th amendment1946 - Unconstitutional to segregate schools 1947 - CA governor Earl Warren ended segregation in CA schools

2009 - Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High Schools in Boyle Heights CA2011 - Daughter Sylvia Mendez received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

- ended segregation in CA schools- allowed Latino students equal access to the same opportunities and facilities as their white conterparts- equal social equality- led to successful challenges in Arizona and Texas as well- set the stage for the Brown vs. Board of Education case 8 eights later- one of the origins of desegragation for all in the United StatesFelicitas and Gonzolo Mendez were the first in CA to stand up for their children's educational rights as Mexican Americans.They took a stand for their children along with all other Mexican children that were not being given equal rights and protection of law stated in the 14th ammendment. After winning their federal court case, they changed the lives of Latino children because schools were then desegregated and social equality for all was on the rise. If these two people did not take a stand in the 1940s who knows where Latino children would be today.

The following link is a great teacher resource, it is aimed for grades 3 -12 and includes background information, a video, and discussion questions that go along with the video. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/osi04.soc.ush.civil.mendez/mendez-v-westminster-desegregating-californias-schools/#support-materialsA childrens book that discusses the issue of segregation is Slyvia and Aki. Sylvia is the daughter of Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez. The two young girls are both facing different types of discrimination, one is a Japanese American and the other a Mexican American. This book is good for intermediate grades such as 3rd - 5th.

In Pursuit of Equality - Separate Is Not Equal. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2015.http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/2-battleground/pursuit-equality-2.htmlJunior Library Guild. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2015.https://www.juniorlibraryguild.com/books/view.dT/9781582463971Mendez et. al v. Westminster et. al's Impact on Social Policy and Mexican-American Community Organization in Mid-Century Orange County | Wallace | Voces Novae: Chapman University Historical Review. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2015.http://journals.chapman.edu/ojs/index.php/VocesNovae/article/view/630/834Moreno, J. (1999). The elusive quest for equality: 150 years of Chicano/Chicana education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review.