Mendez vs Westminster Essay

Since I was born in a time where things were very peaceful within the States, I don’t really know much about segregation and other civil issues. But from this article, it seems that most people did not really know that Mexican segregation was the norm back in the 1900’s.

The segregation of Mexicans was almost as bad as the segregation of African Americans back in the 1900’s, they had given them 1 day to use the public swimming pool and had separate restaurants, separate housing and public facilities to use, but worst of all, they had segregated them in classrooms so that they could no be with the Americans in the same classrooms.

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The whole Mexican problem came up from the boom of the citrus industry in California and because of the civil unrest in Mexico. Southern California eventually segregated agrarian society based on the citrus industry. Mexican American labor eventually became the same as African American labor with cotton. This segregation stayed until World War II when a group of common workers with an uncommon American spirit decided to fight against this unjust system.

They fought not for their rights but for their children’s non-segregated and equal lives since many of these workers were parents.

In Orange County, one of the many segregated counties, a tenant farmer in Westminster, Gonzalo Mendez, along with a group of Mexican American World War II veterans asked a fundamental question about their communities, if we’re good enough to fight and die alongside Anglos, why are our children not good enough to attend the same schools as their children? I believe that if the adult Mexican Americans are good enough to fight alongside Americans in their World War, they deserve at the least, fair treatment for them and their children.

In 1945, the farmer and his wife filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles against four Orange county school districts, Westminster, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and El Modena seeking an injunction that would have their schools become integrated. Two years after this lawsuit went into court, it had passed with the help of community organizers and a great amount of personal time and money expended school segregation in California was no more. Then the 9th Circuit U.S. court appeals in San Francisco ruled on April 14, 1947 that school districts could not segregate on the basis of national origin, that is that authorities could not make children go to separate, even if equal, schools simply because they were of Mexican descent.

This is how the “Mexican Problem” was dealt with in California. Thanks to this, all the other non-American(Asian-American) races that were currently in California were also desegregated.

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