In 1946 A US district court case in Orange County, Ca., Mendez vs. Westminster, ruled that race-based public school enrollment was illegal.

During the trial, the Mendez family’s attorney presented social science evidence that segregation resulted in feelings of inferiority among Mexican-American children and could undermine their ability to be productive American citizens.

The U.S. District Court agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered that the school districts cease their “discriminatory practices against the pupils of Mexican descent in the public schools.”

After review of an appeal by the school districts, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling. Two months later, California became the first state to officially desegregate its public schools.