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Segregation in Del Rio ISD

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Courtney McKeever

on 4 December 2015

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Transcript of Segregation in Del Rio ISD

This is a letter to trustees in charge of CISD #2 about the rezoning of Del Rio ISD.
Who are the people this letter is addressed to?
What did this letter do?
How did the recipients feel?
If Del Rio ISD took control of the schools in San Felipe CSD, what would change?
What did this change?

Caption: “Don Santos” or Santos Garza. Pictured is his general store.
What is he doing?
What is tied to the horse?
What time period was this photo taken in?
What can you tell about him from this picture?
What is in the background?

Source 1: https://www.cah.utexas.edu/ssspot/lesson_plans/lesson_10.php
Source 2: http://mendezwestminstercase.blogspot.com/
Source 3: http://www.laits.utexas.edu/onda_latina/program?sernum=000515936&term=
Source 4: The Castaneda Papers, UT Rare Book Public Library, Folder 81
Source 5: http://vvchc.net/marker/Garza%20narrative.html
Source 6: https://casetext.com/case/indep-sch-dist-v-lowe
Source 7: http://vvchc.net/marker/Garza%20narrative.html
Source 8: https://casetext.com/case/indep-sch-dist-v-salvatierra
Source 9: The Castaneda Papers, UT Rare Book Public Library, Folder 81
Source 10: The Castaneda Papers, UT Rare Book Public Library, Folder 81

Val Verde County in Del Rio, Texas had seven school districts. The two we will focus on are Del Rio Independent School District and Common School District (CSD) #2 (San Felipe).

Fun Fact: Common school districts were local districts. These began to disappear in the early twentieth century when schools became more regional and moved towards the professional control that independent school districts had. Many common school districts just joined the independent school district near them.

The Del Rio independent district did not consider the Hispanic/Mexican population of San Felipe as part of their community and excluded them. Despite being discouraged by the Del Rio community, the Mexican-Americans of San Felipe CSD built two schools and had about five-hundred students, with the seventh grade being the highest grade. If students wanted to go to school beyond seventh grade, they had to go to Del Rio ISD. However, Del Rio ISD denied Mexican Americans from their schools.

A commonly seen sign in southern states where there was clear segregation of not just blacks, but Mexicans and other races as well.
How did this affect different races?
How did this make the “Spanish or Mexicans” feel?
Why was this sign made?
Where do you think this is? Why?
Do some words seem bolded or bigger than others? Why would this be?

This is a photo taken in 1923 of a class at Sycamore School in Orange County, California. This was the
“Mexican” School and was nicknamed “Barn”.
How does this compare to your school?
Who is in this picture?
How do they feel?
Even though this wasn’t in Texas, why is this important?

(start at :25 and end at 5:45)

Audio of a Chicano, Gonzalo Barrientos, talking about growing up in south Texas with segregation
Why is this important?
How is Texas different now than described in the audio?
How does he feel about his childhood?
How old was he when he experienced segregation?
What does Chicano mean?

In 1928, Del Rio I.S.D. added a large part of the San Felipe/CSD #2 territory including all of the San Felipe part of town and both schools. The Del Rio I.S.D. grew by 23.5 square miles, leaving only the less populated and less valuable property of the county to CSD #2. The addition would allow DRISD to gain more tax money to pay off their debt and pay for more facilities. It would cause CSD #2 to lose a lot of money because they would now receive even less funding for their schools.
The San Felipe neighborhood opposed the addition and this was led by Santos Garza and others. Santos Garza was a Mexican-American and a community leader in San Felipe. He built community centers and was especially helpful in education. He served on the County School Board and was a leader for San Felipe during the Del Rio case in 1928.

Garza was one of the men that were in charge of the CSD #2 district. Garza and Del Rio ISD went to court on November 7, 1928. The judge ruled in favor of San Felipe and reversed the addition. This way, the citizens of San Felipe did not have to pay Del Rio’s debt and the San Felipe CSD would not lose money.

Read Paragraphs 3 and 4 starting with “On the 29th day” and “Such order was made”.

Caption: This is the court case in November 7, 1928. Del Rio ISD attempted to annex the area of Common ISD #2 (San Felipe) without their consent. They took it to court.

Annex- to attach or add, especially to something larger
Intended-purposed or intentional
Consent-to approve or allow
Election- a public vote to make a decision
Majority-the greater or larger number

Who does this affect?
Who had a say in the annex
How did this make the citizens of San Felipe feel?
Who had control/power in this situation?
Why did Del Rio ISD do this?

After San Felipe won the court case, Garza and other important members of the community wanted to make an independent school district for San Felipe. This would prevent future annexations and give the San Felipe community greater control over its schools. Garza presented a petition to the County School Trustees and was approved July 27, 1929 creating the San Felipe Independent School District.
Because the San Felipe did not have a high school, that was their top priority. The new high school building was completed on December 13, 1930. This finally made the district complete with grades from elementary to high school.
Caption: The first graduating class of San Felipe high school in San Felipe ISD
Who are they?
What are they doing?
Why is this significant?
Is this similar or different from your high school?
How do you think that they feel?
Although San Felipe was able to make their own school district, this still did not stop segregation against Mexican-Americans in Texas and Del Rio ISD. So in 1930, the first case where Texas courts reviewed the segregation of Mexican-American children in education was Del Rio vs Salvatierra. Salvatierra filed a suit charging that students of Mexican decent were being segregated in schools of Del Rio ISD based on their race. At the time, law required “separate but equal” schools for Whites and African-Americans, but not Mexican Americans.

Del Rio ISD argued that a separate school was beneficial to all students because of Mexican American poor English skills and poor attendance due to working on farms. The court found that schools could not segregate based on ethnicity, but they could group students based on their individual needs. So the schools would stay segregated.
(Read paragraphs 2-3)
Caption: The first case in which Texas courts reviewed the actions of local school districts regarding the education of children of Mexican descent was tried in Del Rio in 1930.

What is different about the construction of the “West End” and the other schools?
Who does this affect?
How do the children of the “West End” school feel?
Why did Del Rio district do this?
Why did Salvatierra fight it?
Caption: A letter written to the Department of Education about new schools being built.

Who was this letter from?
When was this letter written?
What is the purpose of this letter?
What does this show about racism in education?
How did various racial groups feel about this letter?

Although this did not solve the problem entirely, it did keep schools from denying children solely because of their ethnicity. There were still a few cases where this happened and the super-intendant had to get involved.
Caption: This is a letter from Carlos Castaneda about a student who was denied an education due to his race.

Who is this letter to?
When was this letter written?
What was the purpose of this letter?
How does this compare to letters today?
Was this the only case like this?

In California in 1946, the judge ruled that segregating Mexican-American children violated the Constitution in the Mendez v Westminster case. This prompted Mexican-American civil rights groups in Texas to take action. In 1948, LULAC, Minerva Delgado, and other parents of Mexican-American children filed a law suit against the District of Texas challenging the segregation of their children school districts. This is known as 
Delgado, et. al. v. Bastrop Independent School District, et. al

Delgado argued that school districts had “prohibited, barred, and excluded” Mexican American children from attending public school with “other white school children” and that this was in violation U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The court ruled in favor of Delgado and desegregated schools.
However, this was just the beginning and activist had to continue fighting for rights. This is important because we do not always hear about the Mexican-American segregation and how long it took for every race to have rights.

Segregation in Del Rio Independent School District
1. Background
2. Photo: Segregation sign
3. Photo: "Mexican" School
4. Audio: Growing Up Chicano
5. Narrative
6. Letter: Rezoning Del Rio ISD
7. Narrative
8. Photo: Santos Garza
9. Narrative
10. Court Case: Del Rio ISD v Lowe
11. Narrative
12. Photo: San Felipe High School
13. Narrative
14. Court Case: Del Rio ISD v Salvatierra
15. Letter: Building New Schools
16. Narrative
17. Letter: Student Denied Education
18. Narrative/Conclusion
Full transcript