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Academia America’s 7th Annual Dia De La Raza Commemoration

December 3, 2018

In October, Special Collections attended Dia de la Raza, the 7th annual event organized by Academia América. The event focuses on a different theme and this year celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Edgewood High School Walkouts. The event was hosted at the El Tropicano Hotel, where they honored 38 individuals who participated in the walkouts.

In 1968, Mexican-American students at Edgewood High School were fed up with many issues directly affecting their school and academics. Not only were they being punished for speaking Spanish, students were forced to learn in damaged facilities and received little to no funding to advance or support their studies. The students were encouraged on a path of manual labor, rather than attending college which was supported by the lack of college preparatory courses offered to students.

The students saw the walkouts as an opportunity to bring these issues to light in order to encourage change. They wanted the same opportunities and resources that students at other city schools had, and were tired of being neglected for so long. Over 400 students walked out that day and risked threats of being expelled, many of whom were close to graduation.

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Da de la Raza not only honored the students who were brave enough to walk out that day, but also teachers that supported them. My favorite part of the night was hearing the stories of former students and teachers sharing their detailed experiences from that day. Their actions that day caused the SAISD to make changes not only at Edgewood, but at other city schools that were facing similar advertises.

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Former Edgewood High School students being honored

Special Collections participated in the event by setting up a pop-up exhibit. We were able to pull newspaper clippings from the San Antonio light, various La Raza posters and documents as well as photographs from other walkouts in Texas, such as those from Crystal City.

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