Jovita Idár

Black and white side portrait of young woman.
Jovita Idár poses for a photograph

Quick Facts
Mexican journalist and civil rights activist
Place of Birth:
Laredo, TX
Date of Birth:
September 7, 1885
Place of Death:
San Antonio, TX
Date of Death:
June 15, 1946

Jovita Idár was born to her parents in Laredo, Texas. Her father was a civil rights advocate and owner of La Crónica, a newspaper which offered information to Hispanics and exposed the discrimination they experienced. She grew up spending time with her seven siblings and believing that education should be free and equal, no matter how much money a family had or what language they spoke.

Idár begin teaching but immediately identified economic disparities and lack of educational support as an outright attack on Hispanic students’ rights to education. Resultingly, she organized a group of women called La Liga Femenil Mexicanista (Mexican Feminist League). They taught low-income students and adults literacy skills. They also opened new schools and taught bilingual curricula.

Eventually, Idár inherited her father’s owned and edited newspaper. Idár disguised her identity when she published her editorials. Two of her known names were Ave Negra (Black Bird) and Astrea (the Greek goddess of justice). La Crónica had a reputation for promoting civil rights for the Hispanic community and regular articles featured topics such as civil rights, social justice, school segregation, the lynching of Hispanics, and poor treatment of women. The paper also supported the Mexican Revolution in Mexico that broke out in 1910. Idár later went to Mexico as a nurse to care for wounded soldiers.

The fearless Mexican journalist fought to end racism. She also publicly criticized the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, for sending soldiers to the U.S./ Mexico border and did not flinch after the Texas Rangers attempted to shut her newspaper down. Idár and her family established the First Mexican Congress to unify Mexicans across the border to fight injustice. She dedicated her personal and professional life to abolishing racial exploitation, social oppression and unequal education.


Last updated: July 23, 2020