It’s done. The three panel exhibit on the school segregation of Topeka’s Mexican community is done. The exhibit follows a timeline beginning with a very basic overview of Mexican immigration into Kansas and concludes with the beginning of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The opportunity to tell the stories of these children and a community that rose together … Read more
There’s a ranger on the site whose last name is Standingwater.
There was a small bird on the ground this quiet morning.
There was a life taken in Louisiana–
no wait Minnesota this week–
no wait last week last year last century.
These men were black.
Why does it seem like … Read more
They left their country as people, they arrived as laborers.
I can hear my mother say, “Who’s gonna clean their homes? Who’s gonna work the fields? Los americanos don’t want to do that.”
In the process of drafting my final essay I have run into a disturbing theme about United States immigration that explains some of the history behind Latino … Read more
People don’t come to Kansas for the land—they come for the sky.
Kansas is flat. Very flat. Consequently you can see the end of storms approaching even when its pouring in Topeka. I was thinking about the expansive sky the other day when I was writing about the migration of Latinos to Topeka, because the living conditions were horrible and … Read more
This week, while reading the court transcript of the Mendez v. Westminster the importance of studying the segregation in Topeka became more apparent. The separate schooling of Mexican American students in Southern California started as an effort to teach English to parents that could not speak English; the idea was that the children would learn English at school and go … Read more
This week’s research and work has made me realize that the Latino narrative has been consistently erased in a nation that values its past. From the Civil Rights movement, to the desegregation of education, to reproductive rights, there are perspectives that effect the Latino community that are not represented in the bigger picture. As I continue my work on Mendez … Read more
This week’s research demonstrated the development of a concept that quickly spread throughout education in America and Topeka. The movement to “Americanize” children and their families was an effort to cleanse immigrant communities of their non-American habits (although this affected other communities, for our purposes I chose to focus on the migrant Mexican community.) Americanization included teaching children and families … Read more
My name is Fernando Rojas and I’m a rising sophomore at Yale University. I’m spending 10 weeks in Topeka, Kansas researching Mendez v. Westminster. I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to work on the case that ended school segregation for Mexican-American students in Santa Ana, California. Even though Mendez v. Westminster can be traced to the arguments in Brown v. … Read more
“Being Mexican is a state of soul—not one of mind, not one of citizenship. Neither eagle or serpent, but both. And like the ocean, neither animal respects borders.”—Gloria Anzaldúa
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez (Source: Sylvia Mendez)
The story of Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez is a story that has been obscured in the records of history. A story … Read more