A study of federal judicial decisions relating to certain aspects of the segregation of the white and colored races
Endowing the members of the Negro race with the privilege of citizenship in the United States has created more problems for the Federal Courts to solve than were ever dreamed of by the legislators who framed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It was of course hoped, and probably believed by many of the law makers of the period following the Civil War, that the status of the Negro would at once be elevated in the eyes of the States wherein they resided and that the Negro would then receive all the consideration that was accorded the white citizens. The practical working out of the so-called Negro Amendments - the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth - has been very different. What has actually happened is that the States which have a large Negro population have exerted their powers to the utmost to devise ingenious methods for preventing the colored persons within their borders from enjoying the same privileges that are enjoyed by the white citizens. State and municipal enactments have been passed which have had for their primary purpose the enforced separation of the white and colored races in schools, hotels and inns, public conveyances, in regard to places of residence, and in the selection of juries. Individuals have also attempted to discriminate against the Negro in various ways. Inevitably these ingenious methods that were devised by the States and by individuals were challenged by the Negroes and other interested parties on the ground that they were in conflict with certain express provisions in the Constitution. These provisions included not only those of the Amendments mentioned but also the commerce clause where segregation was attempted in public conveyances. Cases arising under the Fifteenth Amendment pertain to the question of voting, which is a subject in itself and is not considered in this study. Thus there arose many complicated and far-reaching problems in Constitutional Law which were presented to the Federal Courts to decide. This thesis has therefore been prepared in an effort to determine the trend of the decisions in this field and to discover the various tests that have been used by the courts in passing upon attempts by States and individuals to segregate the white and colored races.