In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this week I discuss Hernandez v. Texas (1954). It was actually the first civil rights case decided by the Warren court; it was decided two weeks before Brown v. Board of Education. Pedro Hernandez, an American of Mexican descent was tried and convicted of murder by an all-white, non-Hispanic jury. At that time Mexicans were considered "white," but they were subjected to Jim Crow rule like Black Americans. His attorneys appealed his case to the Supreme Court. They argued that the systematic exclusion of Mexican Americans from the jury violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. His attorney Gus Garcia contended that Mexicans were "a class apart" from blacks and whites.
**CORRECTION**: In the video, I stated that the plaintiffs did not see themselves as white. However, a more precise word would've been "Anglo," which is often conflated/used interchangeably with the word "white." Hernandez sought to distinguish Mexicans from the often conflated understanding of the word 'white' (ie white=Anglo), thereby creating a class a part, or a class of"other white."