Friday, February 14, 2020

Preserving History - Making History

My last post for La Bloga highlighted the efforts of Colorado Springs residents to preserve and present the story of an almost-forgotten neighborhood (see my post entitled Raices to learn more about Una Familia Grande: The Conejos Neighborhood Project.) Keeping with that train of thought, here are a few more ongoing projects that aim to not only preserve history that could easily be lost, but also to create more history by showcasing important events that have relevance to the present and lessons to be applied.


Francisco Maestas et al vs. George H. Shone et al

The following summary is taken from an article on the Alamosa News website, posted May 10, 2019.

The nation’s earliest and longest-unheralded victory in the war against educational segregation took place in the San Luis Valley between 1912 and 1914 and the big winners were Alamosa’s children.

In 1914, The Denver Catholic Register called the decision “historic,” noting that it “was the first time in the history of America that a court fight was made over an attempt to segregate Mexicans in school.” The suit grew from grassroots concern for equal education of Alamosa’s children.

Lying unnoticed from 1914 to 2016 and labeled Francisco Maestas et al vs. George H. Shone et al, the suit dates back to 1912 when Alamosa was still part of Conejos County. Ten-year-old Miguel Antonio Maestas was forced to walk seven blocks from his home on the north end of Ross Avenue to the “Mexican” school building at the intersection of Ninth and Ross and some children had to walk even farther.

On Sept. 2, 1913, Francisco Maestas went to the Superintendent of Schools and asked to enroll his son. The request was refused and Maestas was told he had to enroll his son in the “Mexican School.” Land for the school was purchased in 1909 for a building to serve only “Mexicans” and was documented as such. The school board ordered all “Mexican” children to attend the school, no matter how far they had to walk.

Maestas filed suit and was soon joined by fellow Hispanics, who contributed whatever they could, along with the Sociedad Protectiva de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) and the Catholic Church.

Despite the fact that the area had long been part of the United States and the persons involved were born here, the reference was repeatedly made to “Mexican” children versus “American” families. It was assumed that “Mexican” children could not be educated in English and the school board maintained it was doing them a favor, giving them their own school.

After a lengthy trial, District Court Judge Charles Holbrook, a southerner, determined that the plaintiffs had made a sufficient case for admittance of the students and issued an order to the school board and superintendent to admit the children to the public school most convenient to their homes. Holbrook stated that “in the opinion of the court … the only way to destroy this feeling of discontent and bitterness which has recently grown up, is to allow all children so prepared, to attend the school nearest them.”

That ruling stood and still stands.

A committee has been formed to erect a monument to the landmark Maestas v. Shone case, and a fundrasing event is planned for March 14, 2019.  Here's the flyer for the event:


Boulder County Latino History:  Telling Our Stories

The unique history of Boulder County Latinos has been the focus for the Boulder County Latino History Project. This group has had several events over the past few years and was a driving force in the publication of Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980, a two-volume set written by Marjorie K. McIntosh. In conjunction with Colorado Families of Color, the group's latest event is Telling Our Stories. Here's all the information you need to support this important project.


Juanita Dominguez

[from the History Colorado website]
A woman of culture and compassion, Juanita Dominguez contributed much to the Chicano Movement of the 1970s. She wrote Yo Soy Chicano — the movement song that accompanied so many activities and occasions throughout the Southwest—and published numerous articles about her community. Poet and educator Flor Lovato will expand on Juanita Dominguez’s contributions both prior to and during the movement.

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 | 1:00PM — 2:00PM

History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway, Denver, CO, 80203


Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction. His latest is The Golden Havana Night (Arte Público Press.)

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