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First Avenue Bridge mural in Los Angeles depicts the first female Mexican American union leader, Dolores Huerta.

Topics on the Page

Mendez v. Westminister
Latinos and Civil Rights History
Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta
  • Movement to Create a Cesar Chavez National Holiday
Delano Grape Strike and Boycott, 1965-1970

Invisible No More: The Latino Struggle for Civil Rights, National Education Association

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Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 11.31.41 AM.pngMendez v. Westminster (1946)

In third grade, Sylvia Mendez was denied admission to a White-only elementary school in Los Angeles.

Her family brought suit and the eventual **Mendez v. Westminster** court decisions desegregated schools in California, years before the Brown v. Board of Education case.

NPR Audio about Mendez v. Westminster
Cesar Chavez, June 1972
Cesar Chavez, June 1972

Background: Mendez v. Westminster Re-Enactment

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.29.04 AM.pngSeparate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation. Duncan Tonatinuh, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014
  • A picture book history of the famous Mendez v. Westminster case

Latinos and Civil Rights


Hispanics: The Forgotten Class in Civil Rights History from LBJ Presidential Library

In 1938, 12,000 pecan shellers (mostly Mexican- American women) in San Antonio Texas started a three-month strike to protest horrible working conditions and low wages. The strike was led by Emma Tenayuca.
1938 Pecan Shellers Strike Link to article and photos
Link to video about Emma Tenayuca who lead the Pecan Shellers Strike
Article about Emma Tenayuca with pictures
Link to Document Based Question about the Pecan Sheller Strike (includes many primary source documents, photos and interview excerpts)

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 4.39.15 PM.pngCesar Chavez and the Cesar Chavez National Holiday

An American Hero: Biography of Cesar E. Chavez, California Department of Education

Go here to learn about the movement to Create a Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday
  • It is a state holiday in California
  • Optional holiday in Colorado and Texas
  • Celebrations in Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska and New Mexico

primary_sources.PNGSenator Barack Obams's Statement for a Cesar Chavez National Holiday (March 2008)

Dolores Huerta, 1975
Dolores Huerta, 1975

Dolores Huerta

Quill_and_ink.pngBiography from the National Women's History Museum

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Image: National Museum of American History

Delano Grape Strike and Boycott, 1965-1970

The Grape Strike and Boycott, from United Farm Workers

Legacy of the Delano Grape Strike, 50 Years Later, San Francisco Chronicle (September 16, 2015)

Against All Odds: Cesar Chavez & the Delano Grape Strike, Cesar Chavez Foundation

Delano Grap Strike and Boycott, 1965 from Records of Rights, National Archives