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Six Degrees of Segregation: Teaching the Long Civil Rights Movement – Part 2 – Housing and Education Yohuru Williams, PhD Vice President for History Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Six Degrees of Segregation: Teaching the Long Civil Rights Movement – Part 2 – Housing and Education Yohuru Williams, PhD Vice President for History Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Six Degrees of Segregation: Teaching the Long Civil Rights Movement – Part 2 – Housing and Education Yohuru Williams, PhD Vice President for History Education The American Institute for History Education

2 Six Degrees of Segregation The 14 th Amendment: 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. Unfair labor Employment Disfranchisement Voting RightsJim Crow Justice 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Accommodation s PublicEducation Segregation Residential 1883 The Civil Rights Cases The Civil War Amendments

3 The Six Degrees of Segregation Housing, Residential Segregation Education Voting Rights Jim Crow Justice Transportation and Public Accommodations Unfair Labor Practices

4 Part 1: Housing: Residential Segregation The Black Codes (1865) Baltimore, Maryland (1910) Buchanan v. Warley (1917) Ossian Sweet Case (1925) Coorigan v. Buckley (1926) Hurd v. Hodge and Shelly v. Kramer (1948) Collins Park, Delaware (1959)

5 Mississippi Black Codes 1865 An Act to Confer Civil Rights on Freedmen, and for other Purposes Section 1. All freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, in all the courts of law and equity of this State, and may acquire personal property, and chooses in action, by descent or purchase, and may dispose of the same in the same manner and to the same extent that white persons may: Provided, That the provisions of this section shall not be so construed as to allow any freedman, free negro or mulatto to rent or lease any lands or tenements except in incorporated cities or towns, in which places the corporate authorities shall control the same.

6 Residential Segregation “Segregation of the 40,000 negroes in Louisville is the rightful exercise of a police power of the State, according to an opinion handed down in the Criminal Court here today by Judge James P. Gregory. It violates neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Kentucky bill of rights, says the court.” The New York Times Upholds Race Segregation; Court Decides Against Negroes in Louisville, Ky. Friday December 25, 1914, Page 13

7 Buchanan v. Warley Louisville, Kentucky residential segregation law approved May 11, “An ordinance to prevent conflict and ill- feeling between the white and colored races in the city of Louisville, and to preserve the public peace and promote the general welfare, by making reasonable provisions requiring, as far as practicable, the use of separate blocks, for residences, places of abode, and places of assembly by white and colored people respectively.”

8 Restrictive Covenants

9 Moorefield Storey was the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) between 1909 and He played a critical role in several important NAACP victories. Most notably, in 1917, he was lead counsel before the Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Warley. In that case, the Court unanimously overturned a Louisville law that forcibly segregated blacks by city blocks. The Court's opinion reflected the jurisprudence of property rights and freedom of contract as embodied in the earlier precedent it established in Lochner v. New York.

10 Contested Areas Myths and Realities about Residential Segregation The origins of residential Segregation The logic behind residential Segregation Racially restrictive covenants

11 The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 On Chicago's South Side, the African American population had increased in 10 years from 44,000 to 109,000. July 27, The Murder of Eugene Williams off the 29 th Street Beach. 5 days of rioting claimed 38 lives (23 Black and 15 White) and resulted in 537 injuries. More than 1,000 Black families were left homeless.

12 The Red Summer of 1919

13 The Ossian Sweet Case Detroit (1925) "He wasn't looking for trouble," Dr. Sweet's brother Otis, a dentist, recalled. "He just wanted to bring up his little girl in good surroundings." The surroundings may have been good, but they were dangerous for blacks. Sweet knew the risks. Just a few months earlier, another black physician, Dr. A.L. Turner, had moved into an all- white west side neighborhood on Spokane Street. A mob invaded his home, moved all his furniture into a van and drove him out of the neighborhood. "This made a profound impression on my brother," continued Otis. "It was then that he told me he was prepared to die like a man."

14 Creating Context: The 1920’s The Jazz Age The New Negro The “Harlem” or “Negro Renaissance” The rise of the second KKK The Red Summer of 1919 The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 The Ossian Sweet Case 1925 Coorigan v. Buckley 1926 Claude McKay: If We Must Die (1919) If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! O kinsmen we must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

15 Corrigan v. Buckley (1926) John J. Buckley sued his neighbor, Irene Hand Corrigan of Washington D.C., in order to prevent her from selling residential property to an African-American woman, Helen Curtis. Buckley asserted that a restrictive covenant entered into by Corrigan prevented her from selling her property to a member of the “Negro race.”

16 Housing: Residential Segregation The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia agreed that Buckley had the right to enforce the covenant, and the U. S. Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling decided that it had no jurisdiction in the case. The Court’s ruling noted that those sections of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments referring to equal protection under the laws, applied only to governmental actions not to private contracts. Although acknowledging that restrictive housing covenants were discriminatory, they did not violate the Constitution because no governmental actions occurred. This decision recognized the constitutional right of African Americans to acquire, own, and occupy property, but such right, in the Court’s opinion, does not carry with it the constitutional power to compel the sale and conveyance to anyone of any particular private property.

17 Housing: Residential Segregation The Court’s stand pushed open the door for racial segregation in housing. That door would stand open until the Court held in Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) that housing covenants were not enforceable by the courts because such intervention would be government action prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

18 Housing: Residential Segregation 1937 The Housing Act of 1937 is passed. It is the most important housing law passed up until that time in the U.S. For the first time, the nation realizes that something must be done with respect to housing in general in passing this law. The law is still the basis for government assisted housing programs (funding and programs) today and is legally in effect despite the passage of time.

19 Housing: Residential Segregation 1940 U.S. Supreme Court decides the important case of Hansberry v. Lee. This case also involved a restrictive racial covenant in housing. While the Court did not void racial covenants, it did rule in favor of Hansberry. It was an important ruling in the legal war to outlaw racial covenants in housing. Carl Hansberry, an African- American businessman, was successful in defending his right to purchase a property in a white neighborhood. It was the beginning of the end for racially restrictive covenants.

20 Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) Shelley v. Kraemer, (Missouri) Hurd v. Hodge (D.C.) and McGhee v. Sipes (Michigan) (1948) all involved the constitutionality of racially restrictive housing contracts or covenants. Such covenants were widely used in American cities to prevent the integration of white neighborhoods. Suits filed by white respondents in the District Court for Washington D.C. asked it to uphold the covenants and to require reversal of the home sales and eviction of the black residents. The District Court found for the white respondents, as did the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with one justice dissenting.

21 Chief Justice Fred Vinson “We have no doubt that there has been State action in these cases in the full and complete sense of the phrase. The undisputed facts disclose that petitioners were willing purchasers of properties upon which they desired to establish homes. The owners of the properties were willing sellers; and contracts of sale were accordingly consummated. It is clear that but for the active intervention of the State courts, supported by the full panoply of State power, petitioners would have been free to occupy the properties in question without restraint.” Accordingly, State judicial enforcement of restrictive covenants based on race denies the equal protection of laws in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

22 Part 2: Education “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal... To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

23 Education

24 In one of the school districts involved in the 1954 school desegregation cases, Prince Edward, Virginia, county officials decided to close public schools altogether rather than integrate. Tuition benefits were provided to children to attend private schools, but the only private schools operating in the county had white-only admission policies.

25 Education Roberts v. City of Boston (1849) Cummings v. Board of Education (1899) Berea College v. Kentucky (1908) Murray v. Maryland (1935) Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938) Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) Brown v Board of Ed. (Brown II)(1955) Griffin v School Board of Prince Edward Co. (1964)

26 The NAACP’s Legal Strategy: Laying the basis for Brown v. Board Charles Hamilton Houston, general legal counsel to the NAACP, developed a plan to build a string of precedents against Plessy during the height of the Great Depression. The first victory in this plan was argued in 1935 before the Baltimore City Court. It involved the University of Maryland School of Law, the same institution that had refused to admit NAACP legal counsel, Thurgood Marshall, several years before. The case revolved around the situation of Donald Murray, a 1934 graduate of Amherst College, sporting a stellar college record. Had he been white, Murray would have been admitted with no fanfare.

27 The NAACP’s Legal Strategy The university president based his rejection of Murray’s application on a state policy requiring black students to accept one of three options: attend Morgan College, the Princess Anne Academy, or out-of-state institutions. Thurgood Marshall argued the case for Murray, showing that neither of the in-state institutions offered a law school. He further proved the segregated in-state schools flagrantly unequal to the facilities offered at the University of Maryland and other out-of- state black schools.

28 Murray v. Maryland The Maryland Court of Appeals overturned Murray’s rejected application with this statement: “Compliance with the Constitution cannot be deferred at the will of the state. Whatever system is adopted for legal education now must furnish equality of treatment now”. Because the state did not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the Murray case did not establish any precedent on racial segregation outside Maryland.

29 Murray v. Maryland Attorneys: Assistant Attorney General Henderson & Thurgood Marshall Issue: Does a racially segregated University of Maryland Law School violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? Summary: Donald Gaines Murray petitions for a Writ of Mandamus to order his acceptance into the segregated University of Maryland School of Law. On the grounds that Murray was denied access to an accredited local law school, Murray lawyer Thurgood Marshall pleas that he was denied "separate but equal" treatment. On appeal, Judge Bond rules that, in order to accommodate Plessy v. Ferguson, Murray may attend the institution, but must be separated from white students. Marshall, who sought to undermine segregation on the level on higher education, later argues that separate but equal is impossible in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, a more frontal attack on segregation.

30 Education The importance of Direct Action Protest.


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