“Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez”

On March 21, 1973, the US Supreme Court decided the case of “Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez”.  The ruling concerned a lawsuit brought on behalf of schoolchildren in low income neighborhoods; the school district was 90% Hispanic and 6% African-American. The Supreme Court majority held that a school-financing system based on local property taxes was not an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Dissenting Justice Thurgood Marshall, an African-American, argued that the courts not only needed to eliminate de jure segregation by race, but also curb the effects of de facto segregation by wealth. These high stakes, Justice Marshall wrote, made it imperative that education be deemed a fundamental right and wealth a suspect classification. For an inspired story of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s life, please see the 2017 film, Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman (who also starred as 2018’s Black Panther hero).

Roberto Clemente, Humanitarian and Star Athlete

On March 20, 1973, Major League Baseball star Roberto Clemente was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Clemente, a Puerto Rican, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for his entire 18-year baseball career (1955–72). He won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1966, and was selected to participate in the league’s All Star Game on 15 occasions. He also won 12 Gold Glove Awards and led the league in batting average in four different seasons.  He was well known for his humanitarian work in Puerto Rico and Latin American countries.  He was killed in 1972 in an airplane accident on his way to Nicaragua to assist earthquake victims.