Thursday, December 27, 2007
CIVIL RIGHTS CASES
CIVIL RIGHTS CASES The United States Supreme Court's 1883 decision in the Civil Rights Cases [109 U. S. 3] declared that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was null and void. Involving five separate cases concerning the denial of admission by private owners of hotels and theaters to "persons of color," the Court came to the conclusion that since the Fourteenth Amendment only prohibited the denial of civil rights by the states and not by private individuals, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was based on this Amendment, was unconstitutional. In the future, therefore, blacks who were refused equal accommodations or privileges by hotels, theaters, inns and other privately owned facilities had no legal recourse to pursue. This decision, together with the subsequent Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, provided legal sanction for the establishment of a rigid policy of racial segregation in the United States. See also: CIVIL RIGHTS ACTS and PLESSY V. FERGUSON.