Idar, Jovita (1885–1946)

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Idar, Jovita (1885–1946)

Mexican-American journalist, organizer, and educator . Name variations: Idár. Born Jovita Idar de Juarez in 1885 in Texas; died in 1946.

The daughter of a Mexican-American newspaper publisher, Jovita Idar was born in 1885 and grew up in South Texas, reaching adulthood during the time of the Mexican Revolution. Like her father, she became a journalist; she also took an active interest in the poverty and racism facing her people. In 1911, Idar helped her father organize the First Mexican Congress, an educational and cultural conference which brought together Mexican-American leaders. Later that same year, she became president of the Mexican Feminist League, which actively opposed lynching, promoted equal rights for women, and fostered education for Mexican-American children. In 1913, Idar also co-founded the White Cross, a group of women who provided medical care for civilians and soldiers from both sides of the Texas-Mexico border.

Apparently fearless when it came to her principles, Idar put herself in harm's way to defend the El Progreso newspaper, which in 1914 published an article criticizing President Woodrow Wilson for ordering U.S. troops to the Texas-Mexico border. When the Texas Rangers arrived, armed to the hilt, to close the paper down, Idar defiantly stepped in front of the doorway to keep them out.

In 1917, she moved to San Antonio, where she opened a free kindergarten and edited a Methodist Spanish-language newspaper. Jovita Idar remained active in Mexican-American causes until her death in 1946.