Teacher, journalist and political activist
Teacher, journalist and political activist Jovita Idár praised women’s suffrage in her father’s weekly newspaper in Laredo, La Crónica, where she connected the vote to long-standing demands for Mexican American civil rights. “The times of humiliation have passed,” she announced, “Women are no longer slaves sold for a few coins. They are no longer men’s servants but their equals, their partners.”
Idár was born in Laredo in 1885, one of eight children of Jovita and Nicasio Idár. She taught at a small school in southwestern Webb County, but then resigned and joined two of her brothers as writers for La Crónica, which featured stories on the struggles of Mexican Americans, including educational and social discrimination, the loss of Mexican culture and the Spanish language, and lynchings of ethnic Mexicans. Her family organized El Primer Congreso Mexicanista, a conference to discuss the multiple grievances of ethnic Mexicans. Idár became the first president of a separate organization, La Liga Femenil Mexicanista. This organization provided food, clothing and education for children, and hosted literary and theatrical productions to raise money for the community. This league is one of the earliest known efforts of Mexican American women to unite for social and political causes.