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Gaines V. Canada 1938
During the early 1900’s the zeal supporting school segregation began to increase dramatically. As larger populations of African Americans began to grow across the north and south, fearful white citizens started urging for more segregated residential areas, businesses, and schools. W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent civil rights activist, wrote in his magazine The Crisis about the growing migration of black southerners to northern cities, and how they had begun to adapt to this by segregating more schools. He was incredibly aware that school was not only an academic tool, but also a method of socialization. His concerns for growing segregation in schools is reflected in this statement:
“Human contact, human acquaintanceship, human sympathy is the great solvent of human problems. Separate school children by wealth and the result is class misunderstandings and hatred. Separate them by race and the result is war. Separate them by color and they grow up without learning that it is impossible to judge the mind of a man by the color of his face”-”The argument for color discrimination in schools… is an argument against democracy.” -W.E.B. Du Bois , The Crisis
However this battle was thought be fought won the courts because of the unconstitutionality of the behaviors. In the disheartening case of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada the United States supreme court held up the separate but equal statue. While the university of Missouri was allowed to reject his application because of his skin color the state of Missouri must offer him the same in state opportunity at, at least one school. Gaines argued that this violated the 14th amendment citing it breached his equal protection. The supreme court did not agree with him but did make Missouri offer to pay his tuition at a neighboring law school, to which he declined. While this battle was not won, it paved the way for the victory of Brown v. Board of education. These landmark battles demonstrated the incredible hypocrisy of the segregated schools coinciding with the protections guaranteed under the 14th amendment.
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