1954 Sandra C. Fernández - Austin, Texas
1954 (artist’s book: cyanotypes on wood, paper, thread, and found objects)
In 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that Hispanics have equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, enabling Hispanics to legally combat discrimination.
Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican agricultural worker, was convicted of the murder of Joe Espinosa. Hernandez’s legal team set out to demonstrate that the jury could not be impartial unless members of non-Caucasian races were allowed on the jury-selecting committees; no Mexican American had been on a jury for more than 25 years in Jackson County, the Texas county in which the case was tried. Hernandez and his lawyers first appealed to the Texas Supreme court, and, then again, to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Hernandez, and required he be retried with a jury composed without regard to ethnicity. The Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects those beyond the racial classes of white or black, and extends to other racial groups.
This ruling was yet another step forward in the American Civil Rights Movement and another hit to racial segregation in the USA. This time, racial minorities other than African Americans benefited from such a ruling. The ultimate impact of this ruling was that now all racial groups of the United States were protected under the Fourteenth Amendment.
I chose to use this theme because I am a Latina artist who migrated to the United States, and my work reflects on issues related to borders, migration, and social justice. Please go to my webpage to see more of my work.