Mendez v. Westminster

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by janeek
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Social Studies
American History

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Mendez v. Westminster

What Happened:- During the 1940s in California, every community with a large amount of Mexican Americans (and other Hispanic Americans) had segregated schools. Districts with a smaller Mexican American population had a "Mexican" room, but most districts had a designated "Mexican" school.- Gonzalo Mendez, whose daughter attended a "Mexican" school in the Orange County District, along with the majority of his Mexican American community were unhappy with the quality of education their children were receiving. -Mendez and a group of Mexican American WWII veterans believed that since they were able to fight and die alongside Anglo Americans, then their children should be able to attend school with the Anglo American children.-On March 5, 1945, five fathers, including Mendez filed a lawsuit against four Orange county school districts, claiming that the segregated schools their children were forced to attend were unequipped and inferior compared to the Anglo schools in the districts.-On February 18, 1946, federal district court judge Paul McCormick ruled in favor of Mendez. He stated that segregated education was damaging to Mexican American children psychologically and socially.

Segregation has no place in the education system. Richard Dawkins

WHERE & WHEN:On March 5, 1945Orange County, CAMendez and four other fathers of students tried to enroll in Orange County school districts. Their children were being segregated because they were Mexican

Mendez v. Westminster

WHO: Gonzalo Mendez, a farmer living in Westminster, CA, with his wife and children.

Why & How:Even though this case occurred seven years before Brown v. Board of Education, many Americans don't know about it. The case made California the first state in America to have a ruling against segregation in schools, which overturned the "separate but equal" system that Plessy v. Ferguson deemed constitutional.


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