The Long Story
Francisco Maestas et al. v. George H. Shone et al.: Mexican American Resistance to
School Segregation in the Hispano Homeland, 1912–1914
Ruben Donato, Gonzalo Guzmán & Jarrod Hanson
To cite this article: Ruben Donato, Gonzalo Guzmán & Jarrod Hanson (2017) Francisco Maestas et al. v. George H. Shone et al. : Mexican American Resistance to School Segregation in the Hispano Homeland, 1912–1914,
Journal of Latinos and Education, 16:1, 3-17, DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2016.1179190
The authors in this article argue that the Francisco Maestas et al vs. George H. Shone et al (1914) case is one of the earliest Mexican American challenges to school segregation in the United States. Unidentified for over a century, the lawsuit took place in southern Colorado, a region of the nation where Mexican Americans have deep historical roots. This case was unique because the racial background and linguistic needs of Mexican American children were contested. First, plaintiffs (Mexican Americans) argued their children were racially distinct as Mexicans and used the Colorado Constitution to challenge segregation because the state prohibited public schools from classifying and distinguishing children based on color and race. Defendants (school board members and the superintendent) countered that Mexican American children were Caucasian and claimed they were no different from other White children in the school district. Second, school district officials maintained that non-English speaking Mexican American children were placed in a separate school in order to serve their linguistic needs. The district court judge discovered that school officials had created a policy that sent all Mexican American children to the separate school. To the extent that many Mexican American children were English speaking, the district court judge ruled in favor of Francisco Maestas on the grounds that school officials could not prevent English-speaking Mexican American children from attending schools of their choice in general and schools that were closer to their homes in particular.