Mendez family stamped into history

“The U.S. Post Office will officially unveil the Mendez v. Westminster commemorative stamp on Friday at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate in Santa Ana. Scheduled to attend are Mendez family members and Thurgood Marshall Jr., the son of the Supreme Court Justice. The event is open to the public. It begins at 10 a.m. at the school’s gymnasium, 2000 N. Bristol St,” according to today’s O.C. Register.

Congratulations to the Mendez family! The U.S. Postal Service tells us the full story of the Mendez family in a press release:

A World War II-era legal case in which a group of civic-minded parents in California successfully sued to end segregation based on national origin in their schools, the Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al. court case will be remembered on a U.S. postage stamp during its 60th anniversary.

As immigrants who came to the United States when they were children, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez dreamed the American dream. He was born in Mexico and she was from Puerto Rico, but they met and married in California. So it came as an insult when, in 1943, the elementary school in Westminster, a farm community south of Los Angeles where Gonzalo and Felicitas made their home, closed its doors to their three children.

Segregated public schools were common at that time. In California and throughout the Southwest, children of Mexican descent attended specially designated

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