Jovita Idar

Jovita Idar in studio portrait by Garcia Studio. ca 1905. 084-0596, General Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections.

Jovita Idar was born on September 7, 1885, in Laredo, Texas. The daughter of a newspaper editor and a civil rights advocate, Idar was exposed to journalism and political activism at a very young age.

Her ideas and practices were ahead of her time. She made it her mission to pursue civil rights for Mexican-Americans and believed education was the foundation for a better future. Idar wrote many news articles in various publications speaking out about racism and supporting the revolution in Mexico.

Woman must always seek to acquire useful and beneficial knowledge, for in modern times, she has broad horizons.Jovita Idar

In 1911, she joined the First Mexicanist Congress in Laredo and organized Mexican-American activists. She and other women formed La Liga Femenil Mexicanista, or the League of Mexican Women, a political and charitable organization that sought to empower Mexican-American women. Idar was chosen as its first president.

Idar died in San Antonio, Texas on June 15, 1946. Throughout her life, she remained on the front lines of change and advocated fiercely for the rights of women and Mexican-Americans.

Images from UTSA Libraries Special Collections


About Jovita Idar

  • Jovita Idar: Mexican American Activist and Journalist
    PBS Documentary – American Masters
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  • Jovita Idar (1885- 1946) by Kerri Lee Alexander
    National Women’s History Museum
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  • Jovita Idar Historical Marker
    Laredo in Webb County, Texas
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About the Jovita Idar Quarter

Resources to Learn More

  • Scott Huddleston, “South Texas activist Jovita Idar, who stood up to the Texas Rangers, to be featured on U.S. quarter,” San Antonio Express-News, June 28, 2023.
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  • Sam Hodges, “Spotlight shines on Jovita Idar, Methodist reformer,” UMNews, Oct. 4, 2022.
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  • Michael Agresta, “Forgotten for Over a Century, Border Hero Jovita Idar is Rediscovered by Her Hometown of Laredo,” Texas Observer, February 1, 2021.
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  • Jennifer Medina, “Overlooked No More: Jovita Idar, Who Promoted Rights of Mexican Americans and Women,” New York Times, published Aug. 7, 2020, updated Aug. 19, 2020.
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  • Marilyn La Jeunesse, “Who was Jovita Idar, the Radical Muckraking Mexican-American Journalist?,” Teen Vogue, October 12, 2018.
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  • Carmina Danini, “1900s journalist and educator Jovita Idar championed rights of Mexican Americans,” San Antonio Express-News, December 25, 2017.
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  • González, Gabriela. Redeeming La Raza: Transborder Modernity, Race, Respectability, and Right. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
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  • González, Gabriela. “Jovita Idar: The Ideological Origins of a Transnational Advocate for La Raza.” In Texas Women: Their Histories, Their Lives, edited by Elizabeth Hayes Turner, Stephanie Cole, and Rebecca Sharpless. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015.
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  • González, Gabriela. “Humanizing La Raza: The Activist Journalism of the Idar Family in Early Twentieth-Century Texas.” In Reverberations of Racial Violence: Critical Reflections on the History of the Border, edited by Sonia Hernández and John Morán González. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2021.
    Read the Book Chapter »
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
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  • National Women's History Museum
  • American Women Quarters™ Program