A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 30, 2007
“No dogs or Mexicans allowed” ("No Mexicans or dogs allowed")

Signs reading “No dogs or Mexicans allowed” (or “No Mexicans or dogs allowed") were placed in some restaurants in Texas and the Southwest in the 1950s and 1960s. The civil rights movement of the 1960s and the passage of civil rights legislation finally put an end to such restaurant signs.


8 August 1968, Hammond (IN) Times, “Mexican-American Citizens Angered,” pg. 5A, col. 1:
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (AP)—In the not too distant past, some Texas restaurants put up signs that read: “No dogs or Mexicans allowed.”

Things have changed. “Now,” says Angela Castrejos, restaurant cashier in El Paso, Tex., “we are allowed in as waitresses and dishwashers.”

An exaggeration of existing conditions, this view reflects a measure of the bitterness and frustration helping nourish a relatively new civil rights militancy among the nation’s 4.5 million Americans with Spanish surnames.

Google Books
Sal Si Puedes:
Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution
by Peter Matthiessen
New York, NY: Random House
1969
Pg. 61:
Like the signs of Chavez’s childhood that read NO DOGS OR MEXICANS ALLOWED, such public statements are ...

Google Books
The Mexican-American People:
The Nation’s Second Largest Minority
by Leo Grebler, Joan W. Moore, and Ralph C. Guzman
New York, NY: Free Press
1970
Pg. 586:
The sign “No Mexicans or dogs allowed” can rarely if ever be seen even in Texas.

21 October 1970, Lowell (ME) Sun, pg. 62, col. 2:
(Ricardo—ed.) Mantalban is no stranger to discrimination. He can recall driving through Texas at 18 and seeing restaurant signs “Mexicans and dogs not allowed.”

Google Books
Ghosts in the Barrio:
Issues in Bilingual-Bicultural Education
by Raph Poblano
San Rafael, CA: Leswing Press
1973
Pg. 93:
... seen not only in the field of education but on the signs posted in restaurants and other public places of the Southwest: “No Mexicans or dogs allowed.”

16 March 1976, Douglas (AZ) Daily Dispatch, pg. 3, col. 1:
This book could be the story of many area families and probably is. It is a slice of life of a Mexican-American family in the ‘30s. It’s a time when signs that read “No dogs or Mexicans allowed” was the accepted norm.

18 September 1976, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, magazine section, pg. 8, col. 2:
When I graduated from high school, my dad took me to El Paso, and I never believed it until I saw it for myself—a sign saying “no dogs or Mexicans allowed.” When you’re 18 years old, it makes a—god, it floors you.
-- Ruben Suares

5 January 1989, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “The Texas That Was ‘Giant’” by Rena Pederson:
I can remember restaurants in West Texas in the 1960s with signs that advised “No dogs and Mexicans allowed.”

The Guardian (London)
The Guardian Profile: Carlos Fuentes
The Latin master
Saturday May 5, 2001
(...)
The annual journey to Mexico was instructive in other ways. “There were signs in Texas restaurants saying, ‘No Mexicans or dogs allowed.’ Waitresses would say, ‘Stop talking that dirty lingo.’ There was tremendous racism and prejudice against Mexicans - which there still is. All of this shaded my childhood and shaped my sense of Mexicanness.”

The Ranger Online (San Antonio College)
RTF student stars in independent film about racism in South Texas
By Jared Solis
Issue date: 11/30/07 Section: Features
(...)
The independent film, being shot in San Antonio and surrounding areas, is titled, “No Dogs or Mezcans Allowed,” an allusion to signs placed on establishments during the civil rights movement.

“Last year, during the marches in Los Angeles about immigration, I heard some of the politicians talking bad about Mexicans,” David Peña, co-writer and director of the film, said. “They were just blatantly racist, I thought ... and what came to mind was this old slogan that I remember as a kid that people talked about that said, ‘no dogs or Mexicans allowed,’ and I said, ‘wow, what a great title for a movie.’”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Friday, November 30, 2007 • Permalink


As a little boy growing up in New Braunfels in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, I remenber seeing the signs “No Dogs, Negros or Mexicans Allowed” or Mexicans enter thru the back.

Posted by Erasmo Figueroa  on  03/10  at  11:49 PM

I was born in 1945 and grew up in South Texas (Corpus Christi area). My family owned and operated a restaurant in South Texas until the 1980’s… it’s still there, but it’s La Estrallita now. I never heard of or saw evidence of any kind to support the “No dogs or Mexicans” stories.

Can someone provide hard evidence that such a thing actually occurred? I personally believe it to be an urban myth… one that causes a lot of pain.

I would be grateful if anyone could prove these things happened. I don’t believe they did.

Posted by John Crain  on  05/20  at  05:05 PM

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