When the United States annexed a third of Mexico’s territory after the Mexican War, nearly 77,000 Mexicans became U.S. citizens. For generations, these citizens were troubled by prejudice that led to acts of discrimination and segregation. There were restrictions of many civil rights. Signs reading “No Mexicans Allowed” were found everywhere.
In Texas, prejudice and acts of discrimination reached such extreme proportions that Mexican Americans began organizing to defend themselves. There were three main organizations: The Order of the Sons of America, The Knights of America, and The League of Latin American Citizens.
Mexican Americans were not allowed to learn English. They were unable to vote. Sometimes, their Anglo bosses paid their voting taxes and told them for whom to vote.
Many Mexican American families worked in fields, farms, and ranches, and their children never went to school. Many were denied jobs because they were considered lazy, dirty, poorly educated, and thieves.
The children had to attend segregated schools known as “Mexican Schools.” These schools were staffed with the worst teachers and the buildings were in terrible condition.
This discrimination led many Mexican Americans to build strong traditions of self-determination. In 1921, courageous men and women in Texas organized to ensure that juries reflected the makeup of the population. In 1929, a number of Mexican rights organizations met in Corpus Christi, Texas, and merged into a single group, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Source: LULAC History - All for One and One for All
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