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Kansas City Star Newspaper
August 5, 2000

by Esperanza Amayo
Kansas City, Kansas

Deserving individuals were denied credit in The Star's "KC 150" celebration section (5/21). One man in particular, Saturnino Alvarado, made a difference to life in Argentine, a community in Kansas City, Kan.

In the early years, Mexicans were not allowed to enroll at Argentine High School. Those students were forced to learn language at home, thereby stagnating their potential. Alvarado protested this travesty to the Kansas Supreme Court.  (Note:  This piece of information regarding the Kansas Supreme Court is incorrect and over the years, has led people to research incorrect information.  Mr. Alvarado did not go to the Kansas or US Supreme Court.  The matter did go to the Governor and State Attorney of Kansas, the US State Department, and the Mexican Consulate; but was settled before going further.)

This courageous feat broke down the barriers of discrimination at Argentine High School.

The local grade schools remained segregated. Alvarado was a pioneer. He challenged the educational system in the mid-'20s, preceding the landmark case of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. He is deserving of honor in the same category of notables as Esther Brown, who in 1947 organized and led blacks to integrate a school in Merriam. A full page of accolades was bestowed on her, and rightly so. Alvarado was afforded not even one sentence.

Saturnino Alvarado's legacy deserves to be documented. His contribution to humankind has been minimally rewarded. A side road here that is rarely noticed has been named after him. He deserves better.

In spite of life's obstacles, our segment now rejoices in a world of opportunities and achievements. In essence, my generation of Mexican-Americans represents an epic of struggle and survival, but when we are gone, who will tell our story?