This episode, narrated by Leonard James Olmos, is about a type of discrimination you don't hear a lot about on television. In much of the country, it was considered perfectly acceptable to discriminate against Latinos. Aside from movies like "Giant", you just didn't hear about things like restaurants refusing to serve Hispanics or counties allowing them to serve on juries. All this was segregation by tradition and culture versus by law. Legally speaking, Hispanics had the same rights as everyone else--but practically speaking, this was not so.
A challenge to this discrimination was the Hernandez case. A Mexican-American was accused of murder and was tried by an all-White jury. He was convicted but the case was appealed because Hispanics were systematically denied the right to serve on juries. Ultimately, the case came up before the Supreme Court in 1954 and the Court sided with Hernandez' lawyers. Ironically, Hernandez was once again convicted once he was retried by a jury of his peers--but it was a jury of peers and established that Hispanics had exactly the same rights before the law.
All in all, an interesting an important episode of "The American Experience". As is typical of the series, the show is excellent and very well made. However, a bit of the material in this show was covered in another PBS documentary. For more on the Private Longoria affair, try finding a copy of "Independent Lens: The Longoria Affair"
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