September 19, 2008

“Lemon Grove Incident” Changes History

Nearly 80 years ago, the all-Anglo Lemon Grove school board decided to build a separate school for children of Mexican heritage without giving notice to their parents. Known as “The Lemon Grove Incident,” the event led to a landmark lawsuit that became the first successful school desegregation court decision in the history of the United States.

To commemorate Latino Heritage Month, on Friday, September 26 at 6:30 p.m., San Diego Miramar College proudly presents, “The Lemon Grove Incident” with Dr. Roberto Alvarez, who was the schoolboy and lead plaintiff from the case.

In July of 1930, Lemon Grove Grammar School principal, acting under instructions from school trustees, turned away Mexican children at the schoolhouse door, directing them to the new school, which came to be known within the local Mexican American community as la caballeriza, meaning “the barn.”

Parents refused to send their children to the new school, and since there were not allowed back at the main schoolhouse, a boycott resulted and the parents sought assistance from the Mexican consul in San Diego. A landmark lawsuit resulted.

Just over one year ago, the Lemon Grove School District recognized Roberto Alvarez, the lead plaintiff from the case and dedicated the auditorium at Lemon Grove Middle School in his honor.

At the Sept. 26th college presentation, Professor Alvarez will share history and film footage of the actual event.

“The Lemon Grove Incident ” is offered through the college’s “Evening with the Experts” lecture and performance series and sponsored by the Diversity/International Education Committee. Presentations are free and are held in Lecture Hall I-101 at Miramar College. No reservations are necessary and no parking permits are required on Friday evenings.

San Diego Miramar College is located at 10440 Black Mountain Road, one block west of I-15 between Mira Mesa Blvd. and Carroll Canyon Road. For more information, call the college Public Information Office, 858-536-7876.

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