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The Knotted Line

Evan Bissell, Author

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1954: One Nation Under...

1954: Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declares that separate facilities are inherently unequal, and therefore illegal.   

Actions for Self-Determination:
  • 1946: Thomas Estrada, William Guzman, Gonzalo Mendez, Frank Palomino, and Lorenzo Ramirez, all Mexican-American fathers, win Westminster v. Mendez, a case that challenged the practice of school segregation. They claim that their children, along with 5,000 other children of "Mexican" ancestry, are victims of unconstitutional discrimination by being forced to attend separate "schools for Mexicans" in Orange County.  The case sends ripples through the state when judges repealed the remaining segregationist provisions in the California statutes. 
  • 1947: Jackie Robinson breaks “the color line” in professional baseball and is named rookie of the year. 
  • 1968: Chican@ high school students walk out of schools to protest prejudice and school conditions.
  • 2011: 13-year-old Jada Williams writes an essay comparing her public school experience to that of the experience of Frederick Douglass. Her parents eventually withdraw her from her school, citing teacher pressure.
Discussion Questions:
  • The history of segregation is usually taught as a black/white issue. Why do you think this is often the case? What would it mean if the Mendez case was seen as central to the history of segregation as Brown v. Board of Ed?
  • What are other examples of culture opening the door for legal change? Consider moments in TV, art, movies. 
  • Compare your school to that of another in your district. Do they stand up to the Brown v. Board of Ed ruling?
Additional Resources:
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Discussion of "1954: One Nation Under..."

Under the influence

One Nation Under The Influence

Posted on 11 November 2012, 9:17 pm by Yoni  |  Permalink

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