Mexican American Racial Segregation

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Segregation has always been a problem. Attitudes regarding racial separation probably arrived in Texas during the 1820s and obviously accompanied views toward the "peculiar institution,” slavery. Anglo-Americans begin extending segregation to Mexican Americans after the Texas Revaluation as a social custom. Tejanos formed a suspect class during and after the revolution, and that fact led to a general aversion of them. After the Civil War, segregation went hand-in-hand with the violence often employed as a method of group control. For both minority groups, segregation existed in schools, churches, and most public places, including residential districts. By the latter years of the nineteenth century, institutionalized segregation flourished legally in places with a visible black population, and was extended informally to Tejanos. Most Texas towns and cities had a "Negro quarter" and a "Mexican quarter."

Although the law specified until 1890 that black schools were to have equal access to the common school fund, they often did not. In the early twentieth century, black and Mexican schools faced lamentable conditions endemic in an antiquated educational system, and educational reforms of the Progressive era did not improve matters. During the 1920s, black schoolchildren were more likely to miss school than white students, black teachers received less pay and training than their white counterparts, and teaching accommodations ordinarily amounted to one-room buildings generally under the tutelage of a single teacher. The same circumstances applied to Hispanic students, who were segregated because some whites thought them "dirty" and because some white employers desired an uneducated, inexpensive labor pool. Whatever schools existed often suffered from inadequate financing, poor educational facilities, and racist curriculum. Shunned by white society, minorities formed their own PTAs and school organizations, and in the case of the black campuses, their own sports and...
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