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.