Consuelo Herrera, teacher and worker for Mexican-American rights, was born in 1904 in San Marcos to Valentine and Josefa Durán Duron Herrera. Her mother worked as a seamstress and her father as a teacher in Mexico. She attended Palm Elementary and John T. Allen Junior High and graduated from Austin High, Austin, in 1923. After being denied a teaching position in Austin, she moved to Bay City, where she taught for two years; she then taught in Taft for a year. In 1927 she was hired to teach in Austin after the City Council of Parent-Teacher Associations persuaded Superintendent Arthur N. McCallum, Sr. She taught at Comal School, a segregated four-room house school, where Hispanic children attended first and second grade. In 1937 Consuelo Herrera received her permanent elementary certificate and began teaching at the newly-constructed Zavala School. In 1943 she married Patricio J. Mendez; they had no children. She and her husband, an attorney, were founders and presidents of the Zavala Parent-Teacher Association. In 1956 she joined Brooke Elementary School, where she and her husband also became active in the PTA. She translated the state PTA newsletter into Spanish and wrote articles for it as well. After many years of attending college, she graduated in 1956 from the University of Texas, where she majored in education and minored in Spanish.
She was president of the Ladies League of United Latin American Citizens #202 and state chairwoman in 1961. She and her husband worked with LULAC from the 1940s through the 1960s on political campaigns and fund-raising for scholarships for Mexican Americans. They worked to get voters to the polls for more than sixteen years. In 1951 her husband Patricio ran for city council. Consuelo supported the gubernatorial candidacy of Governor Allan Shivers and testified in an Austin school desegregation case. She retired in 1972, after forty-five years of teaching. She was a member of the National Education Association, the Austin Association of Teachers, the Texas State Teachers Association, and the Association for Childhood Education. She was honored by LULAC in 1961, the PTA in 1962, the Austin City Council of PTAs in 1981, and the Mexican American Business and Professional Women's Association in 1984. The Austin Independent School District named Mendez Middle School in her honor in September 1987. She died in Austin on March 9, 1985.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Cynthia E. Orozco,
“Mendez, Consuelo Herrera,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 05, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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