Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican-American Rights by Philippa Strum has just been added to the library’s collection. The book tells the story of the first school segregation case to be successfully challenged in federal court.
In 1945, five Mexican-American families in California filed a lawsuit in U. S. District Court on behalf of 5,000 children who had been excluded from attending whites-only schools. The court ruled that such segregation was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The school district appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court ruling. The case made California the first state to end school segregation and helped pave the way for Brown v. Board of Education.