Born in Laredo, Texas in 1894, Eleuterio Escobarís educational experience was common among Mexican American children at the time. In his autobiography, he relays how inferior educational facilities, and the social expectation to become a manual laborer, caused most Mexican Americans to leave the educational arena at an early age.
Escobarís own formal education stopped at the third grade and, upon the death of his father when Escobar was 13, he became the head of his household. He later worked as a traveling salesman, a profession that allowed him to witness the omnipresent poverty among Mexican Americans. He believed that the inadequate education of Mexican Americans was a systematic method of maintaining the status quo. He fought a lifelong battle against educational inequality.
His organization, La Liga Pro-Defensa Escolar (The School Improvement League) became one of the top advocates for Mexican American children. La Liga searched for ways to increase their effectiveness at a time when politicians were becoming sensitive to Mexican Americans as a political group. La Liga initiated a bill to reduce the term of a school board member from six years to two years in an attempt to make school board members more sensitive to Mexican Americansí demands. The Senate called for hearings on the bill, and during the hearings the president of the San Antonio School Board ceded the case of La Liga. The president agreed to construct 2 new schools, to add 50 classrooms, to purchase additional playground area, and to hire the additional teachers for the west-side.
In 1958, a junior high school was named after Escobar in appreciation of his contribution to the welfare of Mexican American children. Always a champion of youth, Escobar donated both property and sporting goods in order to improve athletics for Mexican American boys.
Return to Timeline