Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Public History and
2011 Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
In celebration of Law Day 2007, and in the spirit of this year's theme, "Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy," the Indiana Supreme Court Legal History Series will host a free school program featuring Sandra Robbie--the Emmy Award-winning writer/producer of "Mendez v. Westminster: Para Todos Los Niños (For All the Children)."
Before there was Brown v. Board of Education, there was Mendez v. Westminster. Years before the U.S. Supreme Court decided the better-known case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Mendez family moved to Orange County, California, where their children were denied access to their local all-white public schools. The Mendez family fought the discriminatory policy of the local school authorities and won! Shortly thereafter, Governor Earl Warren ordered the end of segregation in California's schools. Seven years later, as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Warren authored the opinion in Brown v. Board of Education that declared all separate schools inherently unequal, and in Brown II, he ordered America's public schools to desegregate "with all deliberate speed."
The school program, featuring Ms. Robbie, will help students understand the reasons for segregation and how students have the power to implement change in a democratic society. The event will include 2 small group activities, viewing an excerpt from the documentary and talking about how it was made, and discussion of types of segregation still in schools today.
The CLE will feature excerpts from the documentary, remarks by Ms. Robbie about her work in creating the film, and an audience discussion about the continuing efforts to provide equal educational opportunities to all school children. Indianapolis area attorney Marisol Sanchez, a co-founder and member of the ISBA Latino Affairs Committee and an associate at Bose McKinney & Evans, will facilitate the CLE session.
Sandra Robbie is a Latina resident of the same community where the Mendez children lived and went to school. Ms. Robbie has worked tirelessly to bring this story to the public's attention. As an intern at a local PBS affiliate, Robbie researched, wrote, and produced a documentary focusing on Mendez for which she received an Emmy Award in 2002.