Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez, who successfully ran an agricultural business, are American civil rights activists. In 1940, the Mendez family resided in the city of Westminster where at the time the school district mandated schools in Orange County to be segregated campuses for Hispanics and Whites. The Mendez children were denied enrollment to White schools due to the color of their skin and Hispanic surname. In 1945, Mr. Mendez and four other Mexican-American fathers filed a lawsuit in the federal court of Los Angeles against four Orange County school districts on behalf of nearly 5,000 Hispanic-American school children. It would take two years for their victory, but was later affirmed in 1947 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Mendez and the others. The Mendez v. Westminster case set an important precedent for ending segregation in the United States as it paved the way for the Brown v. Board of Education case.