John J. Herrera

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John James Herrera (April 12, 1910 – October 12, 1986) was an American attorney, activist, and leader in the Chicano Movement.

Herrera was born in Cravens, Louisiana. He joined the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in 1933 and began practicing law in Houston, Texas in 1943. During World War II, he was involved in the movement to end employment discrimination against Mexican-Americans in Houston shipyards. In 1948 he joined the legal team that brought the school-discrimination case of Minerva Delgado against the Bastrop Independent School District to the Texas Supreme Court. The ruling declared educational segregation of Mexican American students illegal in Texas. In 1954, he authored the briefs for the case of Hernandez v. Texas that argued that the exclusion of Mexican American jurors was unconstitutional. The case reached the Supreme Court, which decided in Hernandez's favor.

Herrera was also a lifelong member of the Democratic Party. He served as president of LULAC from 1952-1953, and continued to serve the organization throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He introduced President John F. Kennedy at a speaking engagement before a LULAC assembly on November 21, 1963, the day before his assassination.

Herrera died in the city of Houston. His papers are housed at the Houston Public Library.


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