Sylvia Mendez: Pioneer in the School Desegregation Movement

Constitution Day & Hispanic Heritage Event
Sylvia Méndez, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, will speak about her life as an American civil rights activist. When Ms. Mendez was eight years old, her parents organized with four other Mexican-American families and filed a law suit in federal court against four Orange County school districts. Her family’s case, Mendez v. Westminster, paved the way in 1947 for the famous Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education which led to desegregation of schools across the country eight years later.

Their story demonstrates how a small group of citizens can and have changed the course of history. Their actions led to desegregation across the United States, but the current inequalities in the American education system, referred to as de facto segregation, remind us that we cannot take past successes for granted. We must continue to work for equal access to, and achievement in our schools.

NPR is a media sponsor for this event.