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Hispanic Heritage Month: Saturnino Alvarado

Hispanic Heritage Month graphic with a drawing of a man with black hair and a thin mustache


Saturnino Alvarado was born Nov. 29, 1883, in Michoacan, Mexico. Not much is known about his early life, but he worked as a shoe cobbler in the Argentine District after his family immigrated to the United States. In the 1920s, Mexican-American children were not allowed to attend school with white peers, and there was no provision for education past eighth grade. White parents blocked Mexican-American families’ attempts to enroll in local high schools. 

Saturnino was determined, however. He loved poetry and plays and wanted his children, Luz and Jesse, to attend Argentine High School. When the school board tried to send his children across the state line to high schools in Missouri, Saturnino engaged the Mexican Consul. Finally, in 1926, his children were allowed to attend their neighborhood high school. An auditorium at the middle school was later named after him. 

Saturnino died on Aug. 9, 1955. In 2003, he was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame at Kansas City, Kansas, Community College in recognition of his efforts to desegregate schools. 

 

Sources:  

https://kckplprograms.org/2021/09/16/saturnino-alvarado/ 

https://kchistory.org/document/biography-saturnino-alvarado-1883-1955-civil-rights-activist 

  • Hispanic Heritage Month