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Lemon Grove incident - Essay Example

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The paper revolves around the Lemon Grove Incident. It refers to the experience the Mexican American community had with the all-Anglo Lemon Grove Grammar school in Lemon Grove, a rural area in San Diego County in the state of California, between 1930 and 1931. …
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"Lemon Grove incident"

The paper discusses the importance of the Lemon Grove Incident. The incident is significant in American history as it marked the very first boycott of a school for segregation. It is also significant as it led to the very first known landmark judgement in American Judicial history involving segregation in schools. On July 23rd 1930, the school board decided to build a separate structure, referring to in as the Americanization school, for children of Mexican heritage. The parents of these children were not even consulted or notified. On January 5th , 1931, the principal of the school, Jerome Green, turned away children of Mexican heritage at the schoolhouse door. He was acting under the instructions of the school’s trustees. He instead, directed the children to the new school, a wooden structure, located in the Mexican Barria, the Mexican area of Lemon Grove. Only three students went to the new school and the rest returned home. The parents refused to send their children again to the school, unless they were allowed into the main schoolhouse. 2 The school stood by its decision which led to its boycott by all children of Mexican origin. The press referred to this as “The Mexican Student Strike”, when, in reality, it was the parents who rallied around because they were not in favour of segregation and therefore, decided to take legal recourse. The parents filed a law suit, a written mandate, against the Lemon Grove School Board, claiming that the school’s action was aimed at racially segregating Mexican students. Analysis of the case With assistance from the attorneys, the parents filed a Writ of Mandate, which described the Board’s action to segregate their children, as an explicit attempt to racially discriminate against them, in the Superior Court of California, San Diego. They petitioned that 95% of their children who were discriminated against, were born in the United States, and therefore, were entitled to rights and privileges afforded to all its citizens. The parents also appealed for a quick resolution to the matter to avoid any embarrassment and to establish the legal right of children of Mexican origin under the California law, to attend public schools on the basis of equality with all Americans. The Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District never quite expected the parents of the Mexican children to collectively challenge their decision by going to court. They claimed that the introduction of a separate school, the Americanization school, would help the Mexican children receive special personal attention, which in turn, will not only improve their academic performance, but also their knowledge of the English language, while preventing them from feeling inferior to their white peers who 3 were considered to be academically smarter and superior. In reality, the board’s hidden agenda was to segregate the Mexican American children. Judge Claude Chambers of the Superior Court of San Diego, an eminent, respected citizen in his own right and revered as a man of rational views, and constitutional repute and integrity, started hearing the case on February 24th , 1931. The attorney for the Plaintiff, Fred Noon, lined up 10 witnesses to challenge the Board’s position, that the Mexican children were academically backward and deserved special and undivided attention. During interrogation, judge Chambers systematically unveiled the injustice of the differential treatment doled Read More
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