WASHINGTON, May 18, 1954 (UP) - The Supreme Court's decision striking down school segregation climaxes a long series of decisions affirming the civil rights of Negroes after they were freed from slavery on Jan. 1, 1863.
(President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, freeing slaves in states in rebellion against the Union. Slavery was outlawed in the United States by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment was passed by Congress Jan. 31, 1865, and ratified Dec. 6, 1865.)
Before that, in the famous Dred Scott decision of 1857, the court held that Negroes were not citizens. The Dred Scott ruling was wiped out by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, an outgrowth of the Civil War, which conferred citizenship on Negroes and granted them "the equal protection of the laws."
Twenty-eight years after the amendment was passed, however, the social customs of pre-war days were reinstated by the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision, which set up the "separate but equal" doctrine. Negroes have gradually succeeded in eradicating this ruling over the past two decades as follows:
Travel: Equality of treatment achieved in Pullman cars, April 28, 1941; in interstate buses, June 3, 1946; in railroad diners, June 5, 1950; in railroad coaches, Jan. 27, 1951.
Property rights: Ruling May 3, 1948, that racial real estate covenants to insure all-white neighborhoods cannot be enforced in court.
Voting: Negroes' right to vote in primary elections was upheld April 3, 1944.
Jury service: Right of Negroes to trial by juries from which Negro residents are not excluded was affirmed March 1, 1880.
Labor Rights: Obligation of unions to act for all members without discrimination laid down Dec. 18, 1944.
Education: Obligation of a state to provide equal education to Negroes within its own borders ruled Dec. 12, 1938; to furnish non-segregated education in graduate schools, June 5, 1950; to provide non-segregated education in elementary and high schools, May 17, 1954.