Monday, June 5, 2023

About Esther Chapa Tijerina

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 Esther Chapa Tijerina was a pioneer in the fight for civil rights and social justice for Mexican-Americans in the United States. She was a tireless advocate for the rights of the underprivileged and marginalized, and her work laid the foundation for many of the civil rights advancements that have occurred in the past several decades.

Early Life and Education

Esther Chapa Tijerina was born in Crystal City, Texas, in 1926. She was the fourth of ten children born to her parents, who were Mexican immigrants. Her parents worked in the fields, and her father was also a railroad worker. Despite their struggles, her parents placed a high value on education and encouraged their children to pursue their studies.

Chapa Tijerina attended school in Crystal City and graduated from high school in 1943. She went on to attend San Antonio College, where she earned an associate’s degree. She later attended St. Mary’s University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education.

Activism and Advocacy 

After completing her education, Chapa Tijerina began teaching in the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio. She quickly became involved in activism and advocacy work, working to improve the educational opportunities available to Mexican-American students. She also became involved in efforts to promote voting rights for Mexican-Americans and to combat discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas.

In the early 1960s, Chapa Tijerina became involved in the movement for Mexican-American civil rights. She worked with groups like the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC), advocating for the rights of Mexican-Americans and working to build solidarity within the community.

Chapa Tijerina was also involved in the historic Del Rio school desegregation case, which challenged the segregation of Mexican-American students in the public schools of Del Rio, Texas. Chapa Tijerina was one of the lead plaintiffs in the case, which ultimately led to the desegregation of the schools in Del Rio.

In 1968, Chapa Tijerina was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She was one of only two Mexican-American women to serve as delegates that year.

Later Years

Chapa Tijerina passed away in 2006, but her legacy continues to inspire and motivate activists and advocates across the country. Her tireless work on behalf of Mexican-Americans and other marginalized communities has left an indelible mark on the struggle for civil rights and social justice in the United States.


Esther Chapa Tijerina was a true pioneer in the fight for civil rights and social justice. Her work on behalf of Mexican-Americans and other marginalized communities paved the way for many of the advancements that have been made in recent decades. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to all those who continue to fight for a more just and equitable society.

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