Call for Papers: American Studies Journal special issue honoring the 70th anniversary of Mendez v. Westminster (1947)


American Studies Journal special issue honoring the 70th anniversary of Mendez v. Westminster (1947)

Mendez v. Westminister (1947) desegregated California schools and was decided in the California federal courts. Gonzalo Mendez along with other Mexican American parents sued on behalf of their children challenging the status of separate Mexican schools in Orange County. The verdict in favor of the plaintiffs was the first ruling in the country against segregation. It also served as a precursor to the more famous Brown v. Board of Education (1954) court case and used many of the social science arguments against segregation that would were later used in Brown. Two months after the ruling California governor Earl Warren (who would later serve as Supreme Court Chief Justice during Brown) signed a bill ending California segregation.

In this special issue the co-editors, Dr. Norma E. Cantú and Dr. Valerie Mendoza, propose to explore the legacy of Mendez by examining Latinx social justice issues historically and in current situations by gathering traditional scholarly essays and the stories of community members–those “on the ground” living these social justice issues. We also welcome approaches to the topic through the arts (visual, poetry, and short fiction, etc.).

For Mexican-origin peoples the post 1947 period marks the coming of age of second-generation immigrants, many of whom served in the military during WWII and nearly all of whom found their “American-ness” questioned. It also marks the bracero era. For those of Puerto Rican heritage, this era marks the beginnings of mass migration to the mainland, and this is a period of significant US involvement in the domestic affairs of Central American nations, which leads to late twentieth century migrations.

For this issue the co-editors envision social justice broadly. Articles may cover immigration, civil rights, and multi-racial space from US or Latin American perspectives. This could include the following:

  • Immigration and immigrants: policy and personal stories
  • Segregation
  • Incarceration
  • Language
  • Education
  • Afro-Latinos
  • Puerto Rico’s economic crisis
  • Latinx labor rights
  • Wage theft

Guidelines for Scholarly Papers: No more than 25 pages double spaced, Times-New Roman size 12 Font, including notes and bibliography. Follow the guidelines for submission found at:

We invite submissions from scholars, visual artists, and creative writers. Along with your finished piece, attach a brief two- page cv to Dr. Valerie M. Mendoza at Review of submissions will begin September 1, 2016.



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