Hernandez v. Texas: Latinos and the Fourteenth Amendment

When we think about 1954 and the Supreme Court, we’re likely to think of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which led to the demise of state-mandated segregation in schools and, ultimately, our society. Two weeks before Brown, however, the Court did something nearly as momentous. In a case called Hernandez v. Texas, the Court recognized that Latinos were subject to discrimination based on their ethnicity. The Court concluded that, although Latinos were considered “white” under Jim Crow regimes, they were covered by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. It was a path-breaking decision, in part, because of the Amendment’s history. Adopted during the Reconstruction era, the Fourteenth Amendment was purposefully written to counteract Dred Scott, an early Supreme Court ruling that denied citizenship and Constitutional rights to slaves and their descendants, to African Americans. In this ruling, the Court summarily rejected claims that discrimination could or should be defined solely in black-white terms.
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http://www.tolerance.org/lesson/latinos-and-fourteenth-amendment-primary-document-activity Disclaimer: this does not appear to be a resource that we own or control.

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Southern Poverty Law Center
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