The fabled Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, California, was featured this week during a four-minute segment on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
One little-known angle the network explored was the Route 66 restaurant became an organizational meeting place for desegregation efforts for public swimming pools in San Bernardino.
As with Black people across the nation, many municipalities barred Hispanic people from co-mingling with whites at public swimming pools. A court order that predated the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision stopped that.
The Mitla Cafe, which opened in 1937, remains best-known as the restaurant that inspired Glen Bell to launch the now-ubiquitous Taco Bell restaurant chain.
Gustavo Arellano’s book, “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America,” also mentions Mitla Cafe prominently as playing crucial roles in the spread of Mexican cuisine.
(Image of the Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, California, by Jeremy Thompson via Flickr)