Civil Rights

Runyon v. McCrary

Runyon v. McCrary was a U.S. Supreme Court case decided in 1976 that upheld the right of African American children to attend private schools that discriminated on the basis of race. The case involved two black families who sued two private schools in Virginia that refused to admit their children because of their race. The schools argued that they had a First Amendment right to associate with whomever they chose and that the federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in education did not apply to them.

The Supreme Court disagreed and ruled that the schools violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed all citizens the same right to make and enforce contracts as white citizens. The Court held that the right to attend a private school was a contractual right and that the schools could not exclude students on the basis of race. The Court also rejected the schools’ claim that they were exercising their religious freedom, noting that the schools did not have a religious affiliation or mission.

School Integration in Philadelphia, September 11 1964

The decision in Runyon v. McCrary was a significant victory for civil rights and racial equality in education. It affirmed that private schools, like public schools, had to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws and that racial segregation was unacceptable in any form. It also paved the way for more diversity and inclusion in private education, as more minority students gained access to schools that had previously been reserved for whites only.

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