What "The King" aka MLK did for me

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Although I have never met Martin Luther King Jr. in person, I know of the sacrifices he made for us to have civil rights. Back then if you were not white, you were are colored. Now many people who wasn't black would try to challenge that but would fail and got put in their place.

Remember Lum Vs. Rice

Background

In 1924, a nine-year old Chinese-American named Martha Lum, daughter of Gong Lum, was prohibited from attending the Rosedale Consolidated High School in Bolivar County, Mississippi solely because she was of Chinese descent. There was no school in the district maintained for Chinese students, and she was forced by compulsory attendance laws to attend school.

A lower court granted the plaintiff's request of a writ of mandamus to force the members of the Board of Trustees to admit Martha Lum. Gong Lum's case was not that racial discrimination as such was illegal, but that his daughter, being Chinese, had incorrectly been classified as colored by the authorities.

Since the ruling went against them, the Board of Trustees became the plaintiff and Lum was named the defendant in the case Rice v. Gong Lum, which was heard in the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The state Supreme Court reversed the lower court's decision and allowed the Board of Trustees to exclude Martha Lum from the school for white children. Gong Lum appealed the state Supreme Court's ruling to the federal Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court's decision

In an opinion written by Chief Justice William Howard Taft, the Supreme Court affirmed the state Supreme Court's ruling and thus the position of the Board of Trustees. In the unanimous opinion, Taft held that the petitioner had not shown that there weren't segregated schools accessible for the education of Martha Lum in Mississippi:

"We must assume, then, that there are school districts for colored children in Bolivar county, but that no colored school is within the limits of the Rosedale consolidated high school district. This is not inconsistent with there being at a place outside of that district and in a different district, a colored school which the plaintiff Martha Lum may conveniently attend."

Taft further stated that, given the accessibility of segregated schools, the question then was whether a person of Chinese ancestry, born in and a citizen of the United States, was denied equal protection of the law by being given the opportunity to attend a school which "receive[d] only children of the brown, yellow or black races." In referencing Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education, Taft concluded that "[t]he right and power of the state to regulate the method of providing for the education of its youth at public expense is clear." Additionally, Taft pointed to a number of federal and state court decisions, most prominently Plessy v. Ferguson, all of which had upheld segregation in the public sphere and particularly in the realm of public education. Accordingly, Taft concluded:

"Most of the cases cited arose, it is true, over the establishment of separate schools as between white pupils and black pupils; but we cannot think that the question is any different, or that any different result can be reached, assuming the cases above cited to be rightly decided, where the issue is as between white pupils and the pupils of the yellow races. The decision is within the discretion of the state in regulating its public schools, and does not conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment."

The judgement of the Supreme Court of Mississippi was affirmed. Martha Lum was not allowed to go to the school for white children.

from wikipedia

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Comments

Lelia's picture

Thanks for droping that pearl of wisdom, often we have to be reminded that if we are not white we are subject to discrimation,which is why we should unite and not keep being divided. I still remember when MLK was recognized as a national holiday, I was in a drill team for the Elk's Lounge and we marched in the very first Parade. When I say we marched, I mean we Marched. The Parade started way way downtown Manhattan, and we got off the parade route somewhere in upper Manattah close to Harlem.

The next day my older sister and me feet were soo blisted from all the marching that we could not go to school... My sister says till this day. "I know I was MLK's Child That Day"

ForeLone's picture

Here is a more well known supreme court case you might know of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plessy_v._Ferguson

This one was actually made into a movie of the same name http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amistad_%28case%29

Two more interesting ones about slaves and or slavery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prigg_v._Pennsylvania

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strader_v._Graham

Here is a whole list of supreme court cases http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Supreme_Court_cases