Calif. Lawmakers Scramble to Change Curriculum to Recognize Case that Presaged Brown

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How many students know that a 1946 California court case on segregation actually set a precedent for the widely heralded Brown v. Board of Education?

The case of Mendez v. Westminster is one of the great triumphs in California legal history - five Latino parents challenged a white private school in court for admission and won, leading to desegregation of all schools in the state.

"All Californians should be proud that we were the first state in the nation to desegregate," said Assemblywoman Mary Salas, D-Chula Vista.

Still, their tale is completely left out of textbooks in California's public school system. Salas would like the story to be told in history classes across the state. Her bill, AB531, would require that Orange County case and its role in desegregation of both California and the nation be included in the next revision and adoption of history-social science courses. The bill has cleared both legislative chambers and awaits a final concurrence vote in the Assembly.

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James W Loewen - 7/30/2008

Westminster, when it tried to segregate Mexican Americans in school, was probably a sundown town -- a community that flatly refused to allow black residents at all.
This too is part of the story....