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Civil Rights in Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century America HEH July 23, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Civil Rights in Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century America HEH July 23, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Civil Rights in Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century America HEH July 23, 2012

2 John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) President, National Equal Rights League, 1864-8

3 Civil Rights Act (1866) Section 1 “…That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States; and such citizens, of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall have the same right, in every State and Territory in the United States, to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.”

4 G.N. Barnard, “Slave Quarters on an Old South Carolina Plantation,” n.d., New York Historical Society (Penningroth, p. 419)

5 Section 1, 14 th Amendment (1868) All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


7 Civil Rights Act 1875 (ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS 1883) Be it enacted, That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude. SEC. 2. That any person who shall violate the foregoing section by denying to any citizen, except for reasons by law applicable to citizens of every race and color, and regardless of any previous condition of servitude, the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges in said section enumerated, or by aiding or inciting such denial, shall, for every such offense, forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars to the person aggrieved thereby,... and shall also, for every such offense, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, or shall be imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than one year...

8 Homer Plessy (1862-1925)

9 Citizens’ Committee Pamphlet 1893

10 Chinese Laundry, 19 th Century Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886)

11 Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Majority opinion (Justice Henry Billings Brown) …every exercise of the police power must be reasonable, and extend only to such laws as are enacted in good faith for the promotion of the public good, and not for the annoyance or oppression of a particular class. Thus, in Yick Wo v. Hopkins…it was held by this court that a municipal ordinance of the city of San Francisco, to regulate the carrying on of public laundries within the limits of the municipality, violated the provisions of the constitution of the United States, if it conferred upon the municipal authorities arbitrary power, at their own will, and without regard to discretion, in the legal sense of the term, to give or withhold consent as to persons or places, without regard to the competency of the persons applying or the propriety of the places selected for the carrying on of the business. It was held to be a covert attempt on the part of the municipality to make an arbitrary and unjust discrimination against the Chinese race…We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.

12 Justice John Harlan, dissent in Plessy Decision “There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race. But, by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race in Louisiana, many of whom, perhaps, risked their lives for the preservation of the Union, who are entitled, by law, to participate in the political control of the State and nation, who are not excluded, by law or by reason of their race, from public stations of any kind, and who have all the legal rights that belong to white citizens, are yet declared to be criminals, liable to imprisonment, if they ride in a public coach occupied by citizens of the white race. It is scarcely just to say that a colored citizen should not object to occupying a public coach assigned to his own race. He does not object, nor, perhaps, would he object to separate coaches for his race if his rights under the law were recognized. But he objecting, and ought never to cease objecting, to the proposition that citizens of the white and black race can be adjudged criminals because they sit, or claim the right to sit, in the same public coach on a public highway.”

13 Alien Land Laws in the U.S. (one of two) 1864 Washington: any non-citizen can own land “in like manner and with like effect as if such an alien were a native citizen of this Territory or of the United States.” 1859 Oregon (Constitution): “No Chinaman, not a resident of this State at the time of adoption of this Constitution, shall ever hold any real estate or mining claim, or work any mining claim therein.”

14 Alien Land Laws in the U.S. (two of two) 1913 and 1920 California 1917 Arizona 1921 Washington, Louisiana 1922 New Mexico 1923 Idaho, Montana, Oregon 1925 Kansas WWII Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming

15 Japan’s Consul General Kametaro Iijima and lawyer Juichi Soyeda challenge California’s Alien Land Law of 1913

16 Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)

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