124 F.Supp. 290 (N.D.Ga. 1954), Civ. A. 4621, Holmes v. City of Atlanta

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 4621
Citation:124 F.Supp. 290
Party Name:Holmes v. City of Atlanta
Case Date:July 08, 1954
Court:United States District Courts, 11th Circuit, Northern District of Georgia

Page 290

124 F.Supp. 290 (N.D.Ga. 1954)

Alfred HOLMES, Oliver W. Holmes and Dr. H. M. Holmes

v.

CITY OF ATLANTA, William B. Hartsfield, Mayor, City of Atlanta, Georgia, George I. Simons, Manager of Parks, City of Atlanta, Billy Wilson, Professional Manager, Bobby Jones Golf Course, City of Atlanta.

Civ. A. No. 4621.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia

July 8, 1954

Page 291

R. E. Thomas, Jr., E. E. Moore, Jr., S. S. Robinson, Atlanta, Ga., for plaintiffs.

J. C. Savage, City Atty., J. C. Murphy, Asst. City Atty., John M. B. Bloodworth, John E. Feagin, Henry L. Bowden, Atlanta, Ga., for defendants.

SLOAN, District Judge.

Plaintiffs, Negro citizens of the City of Atlanta, for themselves, and other Negroes similarly situated, bring this complaint, the same being, as amended, an action for declaratory judgment and to enjoin the City of Atlanta, W. B. Hartsfield, its mayor, George I. Simons, Manager of Parks, and Billy Wilson, alleged to be manager of the City's Bobby Jones Golf Course, from denying the Negro citizens on account of race, rights and privileges of using the City golf courses equal to those afforded white persons and to enjoin defendant from denying to plaintiffs and other Negroes similarly situated the use of municipal golf courses and from making any distinction on account of race or color in providing opportunities for playing golf upon municipally owned public golf courses.

In their amended answer the defendants admit the basic all factual allegations of the complaint, while denying the conclusions.

Certain stipulations were read into the record. The plaintiffs offered no further evidence and the defendants introduced as a witness Mr. George I. Simons, its manager of parks and an additional ordinance of the City of Atlanta. The defendants' demand for a jury trial was withdrawn and the case was thus tried to the Court without a jury.

Findings of Fact.

The City of Atlanta has a population in excess of 450,000 people of which approximately 30% are Negroes.

There was at all times here involved of force and effect the following ordinances of the City of Atlanta:

Sec. 68-126. 'It shall be unlawful for colored people to frequent any park owned or maintained by the City for the benefit, use and enjoyment of white persons, excepting so much of Grant Park as is occupied

Page 292

by the zoo, and unlawful for any white person to frequent any park owned or maintained by the City for the use and benefit of colored persons.'

Sec. 68-120. 'Establishment and Supervision of Golf Links in Parks. The Municipal Parks and Airport Committee is authorized to establish golf links and grounds in any of the parks now under its control, or upon any other property of the City, which may be set aside for this purpose, or upon any private property, the use of which may be donated to the City therefor, and to use such sums, from their apportionment to expense as they may deem advisable therefor or any additional sums that may be appropriated for this purpose. Said Committee is hereby authorized to establish reasonable rules and regulations governing the use of said golf grounds, to establish fees for the use of same and generally to exercise supervision over the grounds devoted to this purpose just as it does over the parks now under its control; Provided, that the sums received for the use of said golf grounds shall be turned into the city treasury.'

The City of Atlanta, pursuant to the laws of Georgia and its charter, and as a governmental function, and as a part of public parks set aside for the exclusive use of white persons, owns and maintains and provides as public facilities seven golf courses. Three of these courses are 18 hole courses and four are 9 hole courses. Negroes are not permitted to play upon any of these courses and no golf course is provided for Negroes.

Plaintiffs, who at all times met all lawful requirements necessary for admission to play golf, on July 19, 1951 requested defendants to grant them permission to play golf on the Bobby Jones Golf Course and to permit them to use and enjoy the facilities of the other golf courses of the City on an equal basis with other citizens without regard to race, whereupon plaintiffs were denied permission to and the right to play golf as requested, such denial being upon the sole basis of...

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