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"The Civil Rights Cases"

"the Civil Rights Cases"

The Civil Rights cases involved five prosecutions and civil suits from California, Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee for denying African Americans access to public accommodations (hotels, theaters, and railroad cars) in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Justice Joseph P. Bradley, writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, held that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited only official, state-sponsored discrimination and could not reach discrimination practiced by privately owned places of public accommodation.

Justice John M. Harlan, in a dissenting opinion, argued that segregation in public accommodations was a "badge of slavery" for the recently freed African Americans and that the act could be constitutionally justified by looking to the Thirteenth Amendment. This amendment gave Congress the authority to outlaw all "badges and incidents" of slavery. Not until the passage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would the federal government achieve the desegregation of public accommodations.

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