Mendez vs. Westminster School District

2014

Throughout 2014, the NJCHS sponsored an exhibit about the landmark desegregation caseMendez et al v. Westminster School District et al In the 1940s, five Mexican-American families brought suit against four Orange County, California school districts for segregating their children from other students. The Exhibit traces the impact of their suit, including the Ninth Circuit's order affirming the lower court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. The Mendez case later served as a major precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The award-winning traveling exhibit, entitled “A Class Action: The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California,” was seen by more than 500 school children in San Diego and Portland. The exhibit also traveled to San Francisco, where it was the subject of a program featuring Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder, as well as Gonzalo Mendez, Jr., and Beverly Gallegos, who related how their parents brought the original lawsuit in 1946. Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Murguia, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, also spoke about the significance of Mendez v. Westminster to her personally and to the nation.

Watch the program video

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