Mexican-American rights enjoyed a major boost from a tragic event in Texas in 1951.
PBS aired a fine documentary, "A Class Apart" on the topic as one of their "American Experience" series.
The written introduction on the website begins:
"From a small-town Texas murder emerged a landmark civil rights case. The little-known story of the Mexican American lawyers who took Hernandez v. Texas to the Supreme Court, challenging Jim Crow-style discrimination.
In 1951 in the town of Edna, Texas, a field hand named Pedro Hernández murdered his employer after exchanging words at a gritty cantina. From this seemingly unremarkable small-town murder emerged a landmark civil rights case that would forever change the lives and legal standing of tens of millions of Americans. A team of unknown Mexican American lawyers took the case, Hernandez v. Texas, all the way to the Supreme Court, where they successfully challenged Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican Americans.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents A Class Apart from the award-winning producers Carlos Sandoval (Farmingville), and Peter Miller (Sacco and Vanzetti, The Internationale). The one-hour film dramatically interweaves the story of its central characters— activists and lawyers, returning veterans and ordinary citizens, murderer, and victim — within the broader story of a civil rights movement that is still very much alive today."
Read more, see the video at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/class/
Next air date Feb 23, 8:00 Central.