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State of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada

Significance, Supreme Court Redefines "separate But Equal"


Lloyd L. Gaines


S. W. Canada, Registrar of the University of Missouri

Appellant's Claim

That rejection of an African American applicant by the all-white University of Missouri Law School violates equal protection under the law as mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Charles F. Houston and S. R. Redmond

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

William S. Hogsett and Fred L. Williams

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, Louis D. Brandeis, Charles Evans Hughes (writing for the Court), Stanley Forman Reed, Owen Josephus Roberts, Harlan Fiske Stone

Justices Dissenting

Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds (Benjamin N. Cardozo did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 December 1938


The Supreme Court ordered the university to admit Gaines.

Related Cases

  • Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).
  • McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, 339 U.S. 637 (1950).
  • Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950).
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

Further Readings

  • Armor, David J. Forced Justice: School Desegregation and the Law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Greenberg, Jack. Crusaders in the Courts: How a Dedicated Band of Lawyers Fought for the Civil Rights Revolution. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1994.
  • Wolters, Raymond. The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School Desegregation. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940