In the landmark desegregation case, Mendez, et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County, et al. (usually referred to as Mendez v. Westminster), de jure segregation in California ended and became an example for other decisions such as the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al. (usually referred to as Brown v. Board of Education), in which the Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.
Mendez was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Sylvia Mendez.
Prepare a 4–5-minute presentation that includes a summary of Sylvia Mendez’s accomplishments, specific types of civic engagement mentioned in the handout, and the impact of Mendez v. Westminster on democracy in the United States.
Also, share your thoughts on whether you think Sylvia Mendez and/or two other civically engaged Americans of your choosing should be included in all U.S. high school history textbooks.
et al.—abbreviation of et alia, meaning “and others”
de jure—based on laws or actions of the state
Presidential Medal of Freedom—the U.S.’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors
Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, “Mendez vs. Segregation: 70 Years Later, Famed Case ‘Isn’t Just about Mexicans. It’s about Everybody Coming Together,’” Los Angeles Times, 17 April 2016, http://www.latimes.com/socal/weekend/news/tn-wknd-et-0417-sylvia-mendez-70-anniversary-20160417-story.html [31 July 2020].