The Times podcast: Saving segregated ‘Mexican’ schools

A photo of Lorenzo Ramirez next to his court testimony.
Lorenzo Ramirez is shown next to his court testimony. He and other families in Orange County sued to desegregate so-called Mexican schools in the 1947 Mendez, et al. vs. Westminster case.
(Screenshot by Gabriel San Román)

For the record:

1:37 p.m. Feb. 18, 2022This episode has been updated. An earlier version included audio of Jessi Silva describing an integrated school she attended in addition to the Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas. That school was in California, not Marfa.

Marfa, Texas, is known internationally for its arts scene. But on the south side of the city, there’s this old school. It’s a school where teachers once paddled Latino students for speaking Spanish. Now, some of those same students — grandparents and retirees in their 80s — are working to save the long-shuttered segregated Blackwell School and make it a national historic site to teach the history of segregated schools for Latinos in the United States.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Houston bureau chief Molly Hennessy-Fiske

More reading:


Saving the school where kids were paddled for speaking Spanish

Lorenzo Ramirez, late plaintiff in famed school desegregation case, honored by Orange

Mendez vs. segregation: 70 years later, famed case ‘isn’t just about Mexicans. It’s about everybody coming together’

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers Melissa Kaplan, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.