Monday, August 31, 2015

A Symposium on Mendez v. Westminster

We've noted the publication of Philippa Strum's book on Mendez v. Westminster and an exhibit on the litigation in the federal courthouse in San Diego.  Now the transcript of the introductory secession of a symposium on the case is up on SSRN.  It is Mendez v. Westminster: A Living History, Michigan State Law Review 2014: 401-27, with contributions from Judge Frederick P. Aguirre, Kristi L. Bowman, Gonzalo Mendez, Sylvia Mendez, Sandra Robbie, and Philippa Strum:
School desegregation is not just a "black and white" issue, and in fact it never has been. In 1931, a county court in Lemon Grove, California ordered a school district to stop segregating its white and Latino students. Fifteen years later in 1946, a court reached the same result in Mendez v. Westminster, becoming the first federal court to order the desegregation of schools. In this piece, Gonzalo Mendez and Sylvia Mendez (both now retired) recall their experiences as the children whose parents initiated the groundbreaking Mendez litigation, and the way in which their parents remembered the litigation. Sandra Robbie, who wrote and produced the Emmy-award winning documentary about the case, discusses its historical context. Frederick Aguirre, now a judge, reflects on the legal and personal significance of the decision. Philippa Strum, author of a book about the case, considers the unique challenges and rewards of writing about school desegregation cases. Kristi Bowman facilitates these various reflections and weaves them together.