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News Update

Senate votes to preserve segregated ‘Mexican’ school site

The site of a former school that was segregated for Mexican American students will now become a historic site, after the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass legislation co-sponsored by California Sen. Alex Padilla.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas, is one of many segregated schools that educated Mexican American children across the Southwest. More than 4,000 children were educated there between 1909 and 1965, when it closed.

Segregated schools for Black students are designated national historic sites, which make them part of the national park system, but that is not true for segregated schools for Latino students.

Former students of the Blackwell School fought to preserve the school and turn it into a museum to educate others about segregation and how they were paddled by teachers for speaking Spanish.

Padilla celebrated the vote Thursday. “Understanding our nation’s history of segregation and discrimination in places like the Blackwell School … is integral to building a more inclusive and just future for our country,” he said.