Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Jovita Idar (1885-1946) was a prominent activist on behalf of the Mexican-origin population in south Texas, the working class, children, and all women. Idar left a lasting legacy for the history of Texas. She was an early civil rights defender fighting against lynching and other forms of extralegal violence and for better educational opportunities for children, gender equity, and labor rights. She also established a Democratic club and was involved in state politics. Idar challenged the status quo and fought to create a better life for the predominantly Mexican-population of her native south Texas.
Idar is among the most important women of Texas who crossed racial, gender, and national boundaries through her writings and personal action to improve the conditions of Mexican Americans. She dedicated her life to addressing issues of violence and through her writings, articulating a better world for Texas and its residents. She defied the odds, becoming an educator in rural south Texas at the turn of the twentieth century, using her medical expertise to aid troops during the 1910 Mexican Revolution, and writing bilingual political, social, and economic commentaries on issues of international importance. Her legacy also was felt in Texas politics as she contributed to the Texas Democratic Party.
A Texas historical marker honoring the life and legacy of Jovita Idar is on display in St. Peter’s Plaza in Laredo, Texas. Refusing to Forget expects host an unveiling ceremony in 2019. More information to follow.
This lesson plan was written specifically for Texas seventh grade classrooms and provides historical context and activities for educators interested in contextualizing the Jovita Idar historical marker. Idar was a journalist, teacher, nurse, feminist and civil rights pioneer who fought for the rights of Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in the early twentieth century. The purpose of this lesson plan is to encourage the discussion and remembrance of a local hero and to gain a better understanding of the context of Jovita Idar’s advocacy.