Friday, September 15, 2006

Colored Men and Hombres Aqui

Under the category of History I'm Embarassed Not to Know: Here's an interesting looking compendium of essays and documents about the first US Supreme Court case argued by Mexican American attorneys: Colored Men and Hombres Aqui: Hernandez v. Texas and the Emergence of Mexican-American Lawyering.

The book includes ten academic papers delivered at a 2004 conference at the University of Houston on the landmark civil rights case, Hernandez v. Texas, 347 US 475 (1954), which first established that Mexican Americans were a discrete group under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The book also contains "source materials, trial briefs, and a chronology of the case." According to the publisher's description:
There had been earlier efforts to diversify juries, reaching back at least to the trial of Gregorio Cortez in 1901 and continuing with efforts by the legendary Oscar Zeta Acosta in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Even as recently as 2005 there has been clear evidence that Latino participation in the Texas jury system is still substantially unrepresentative of the growing population. But in a brief and shining moment in 1954, Mexican-American lawyers prevailed in a system that accorded their community no legal status and no respect. Through sheer tenacity, brilliance, and some luck, they showed that it is possible to tilt against windmills and slay the dragon.
The story "has not been given the prominence it deserves," say the editors, "in part because it lives in the shadow of the more compelling Brown v. Board case" decided later the same year.

Via Bender's Immigration Bulletin.


800 pound gorilla said...

The "just us" system in the United States is inherently flawed. It is highly dependent on money. If you are rich, the chances of accountability are very low and the chances of wrongful convictions are virtually nonexistent. If you are poor the chances to be held accountable for criminal behavior is high and the chances of wrongful conviction are astronomically high - especially if you live next door to career criminals.

There is little incentive for people of color to participate in such an inherently unjust system. This is especially true when the lapdog media represents their choices as Democrat versus Republican or friendly evil versus hostile evil. There are many "nonviable" alternatives but the Libertarian and Green parties tend to be offshoots of highly educated anglo american voters of principle with few connections to the barrios and ghettos of this country.
The most likely choices seem to be between the Constitutional party [conservative] and Socialist [liberal - but decidedly more small government than either major party]. Of course, it is possible that many will check into the two parties of principle and direct the greens and libertarians to addressing the concerns of the barrios and ghettos. Those concerns are better addressed with the smaller government alternatives of the greens and libertarians - especially with their anti war views. Both the War on Terror and Drugs are extremely harmful for both ghetto and barrio dwellers.

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