Segregated schools taught Hispanics
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 30, 2005
Ray Parker

The building that houses Gilbert Public Schools' main offices was the town's Mexican School from 1927 to 1949.In his memoir for the Gilbert Historical Museum, Wayne McFrederick, who taught from 1933-1944, recalled why schools were segregated.

"All the Valley schools at that point in time had segregated schools for children of Mexican descent," McFrederick said. "In theory, it was to help them become fluent in English so they could compete with native English-speaking children in regular school.

"I could understand why the beginning pupils were segregated, but could never understand why it was continued through sixth grade."

Gilbert Mexican School events chronicled at the museum:

1913: Mexican children attended school in a building's basement, which is now the Gilbert Historical Museum.

1927: Gilbert Mexican School built, where today the district's main offices are located, at 140 S. Gilbert Road. The floors still creak in certain

1930s: During those days, cotton and hay fields surrounded the school.

1940: In a collection of stories, which were recorded by the Gilbert Historical Museum, Victor Escobedo remembered walking to a café across the street during lunch recess. He bought two hamburgers and a soda for 15 cents.

1949: Hispanic students integrated with White students.