In 1968, Corpus Christi resident Jose Cisneros and twenty-five other parents filed a federal suit against the Corpus Christi Independent School District arguing that Mexican Americans were a minority group that was receiving discriminatory treatment and being illegally segregated in the school district. The case was so named because Jose Cisneros appeared first in alphabetical order on the list of plaintiffs. In 1970, presiding Judge Woodrow Seal found that the school district indeed had a dual segregated system.
Coming in the period of history known as the Chicano Movement, Cisneros et al v. Corpus Christi et al was a landmark case as the decision recognized Mexican Americans as an identifiable minority group that was subjected to discrimination and segregation. As such, the case added a new group into the process of national desegregation. The court ruling resulted in new policies being implemented in the local school district in 1975. It also had repercussions on desegregation efforts by Mexican Americans in other locales.
The Cisneros Collection consists of twelve cubic feet of public documents from the court case including the court reporter's transcripts of the proceedings, records of appeals, numerous exhibits, and other items. The collection was donated to Special Collections & Archives through the efforts of A&M-Corpus Christi Education Professor Arturo Medina. The Cisneros Collection represents a voluminous record of an important legal event in post World War II Mexican American history.
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