Separate Is Not Equal - Brown v. Board of Education

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center

Segregated America
The Battleground
  • The Educated Citizen
  • Quest for Education
  • Pursuit of Equality
Legal Campaign
Five Communities Change a Nation
The Decision
Tape family photo

Tape family photo

In 1884 Joseph and Mary Tape attempted to enroll their daughter Mamie at Spring Valley School in San Francisco. Principal Jennie Hurley cited school board policy against admitting Chinese children, and the Tapes took the case to court. On March 3, 1885, the California State Supreme Court said that state law required public education to be open to “all children” and ruled in favor of the Tapes.

After the decision, the state legislature quickly passed a law allowing schools to establish separate facilities for “Mongolians.” Other Asian parents continued the fight for integrated schools until their eventual victory in 1947. This photograph of the Tape family shows Mamie in the center.
(Courtesy of Jack Kim)

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