Gong Lum v. Rice, No. 29

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtTAFT
Citation275 U.S. 78,48 S.Ct. 91,72 L.Ed. 172
Decision Date21 November 1927
Docket NumberNo. 29
PartiesGONG LUM at al. v. RICE et al

275 U.S. 78
48 S.Ct. 91
72 L.Ed. 172
GONG LUM at al.

v.

RICE et al.

No. 29.
Submitted Oct. 12, 1927.
Decided Nov. 21, 1927.

Mr. James N. Flowers, of Jackson, Miss., for plaintiffs in error.

Page 79

Messrs. Rush H. Knox, of Jackson, Miss., and E. C. Sharp, of Corinth, Miss., for defendants in error.

Mr. Chief Justice TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was a petition for mandamus filed in the state circuit court of Mississippi for the First judicial district of Bolivar county.

Gong Lum is a resident of Mississippi, resides in the Rosedale consolidated high school district, and is the father of Martha Lum. He is engaged in the mercantile business. Neither he nor she was connected with the consular service, or any other service, of the government of China, or any other government, at the time of her birth.

Page 80

She was nine years old when the petition was filed, having been born January 21, 1915, and she sued by her next friend, Chew How, who is a nativeborn citizen of the United States and the state of Mississippi. The petition alleged that she was of good moral character, between the ages of 5 and 21 years, and that, as she was such a citizen and an educable child, it became her father's duty under the law to send her to school; that she desired to attend the Rosedale consolidated high school; that at the opening of the school she appeared as a pupil, but at the noon recess she was notified by the superintendent that she would not be allowed to return to the school; that an order had been issued by the board of trustees, who are made defendants, excluding her from attending the school solely on the ground that she was of Chinese descent, and not a member of the white or Caucasian race, and that their order had been made in pursuance to instructions from the state superintendent of education of Mississippi, who is also made a defendant.

The petitioners further show that there is no school maintained in the district for the education of children of Chinese descent, and none established in Bolivar county where she could attend.

The Constitution of Mississippi (Const. 1890, §§ 201, 206) requires that there shall be a county common school fund, made up of poll taxes from the various counties, to be retained in the counties where the same is collected, and a state common school fund to be taken from the general fund in the state treasury, which together shall be sufficient to maintain a common school for a term of four months in each scholastic year, but that any county or separate school district may levy an additional tax to maintain schools for a longer time than a term of four months, and that the said common school fund shall be distributed among the several counties and separate school districts in proportion to the number of educable children in each, to be collected

Page 81

from the data in the office of the state superintendent of education in the manner prescribed by law; that the Legislature encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement, by the establishment of a uniform system of free public schools by taxation or otherwise, for all children between the ages of 5 and 21 years, and as soon as practicable, establish schools of higher grade.

The petition alleged that, in obedience to this mandate of the Constitution, the Legislature has provided for the establishment and for the payment of the expenses of the Rosedale consolidated high school, and that the plaintiff, Gong Lum, the petitioner's father, is a taxpayer and helps to support and maintain the school; that Martha Lum is an educable child, is entitled to attend the school as a pupil, and that this is the only school conducted in the district available for her as a pupil; that the right to attend it is a valuable right; that she is not a member of the colored race, nor is she of mixed blood, but that she is pure Chinese; that she is by the action of the board of trustees and the state superintendent discriminated against directly, and denied her right to be a member of the Rosedale school; that the school authorities have no discretion under the law as to her admission as a pupil in the school, but that they continue without authority of law to deny her the right to attend it as a pupil. For these reasons the writ of mandamus is prayed for against the defendants, commanding them and each of them to desist from discriminating against her on account of her race or ancestry, and to give her the same rights and privileges that other educable children between the ages of 5 and 21 are granted in the Rosedale consolidated high school.

The petition was demurred to by the defendants on the ground, among others, that the bill showed on its face that plaintiff is a member of the Mongolian or yellow race, and

Page 82

therefore not entitled to attend the schools provided by law in the state of Mississippi for children of the white or Caucasian race.

The trial court overruled the demurrer and ordered that a writ of mandamus issue to the defendants as prayed in the petition.

The defendants then appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi, which heard the case. Rice v. Gong Lum, 139 Miss. 760, 104 So. 105. In its opinion, it directed its attention to the proper construction of section 207 of the state...

To continue reading

Request your trial
59 practice notes
  • Commonwealth of Pa. v. Local U. 542, Int. U. of Op. Eng., Civ. A. No. 71-2698.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 4, 1974
    ...19 (1958); Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, 377 U.S. 218, 84 S.Ct. 1226, 12 L.Ed.2d 256 (1964); Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172 (1927); Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337, 59 S.Ct. 232, 83 L.Ed. 208 (1938); Cumming v. County Board......
  • State ex rel. Bluford v. Canada, No. 37449.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 8, 1941
    ...of the United States. State ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 344 Mo. 1238; State ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337; Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78; University v. Murray, 169 Md. 478. (2) The judgment of the trial court in refusing to issue the peremptory writ of mandamus prayed for was an abus......
  • Browder v. Gayle, No. 1147.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 5, 1956
    ...e. g. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 25 L.Ed. 664; Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60, 38 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed. 149; Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172; Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. In Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct. 1138, 41 L.......
  • Davis v. Guam, No. 17-15719
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • July 29, 2019
    ...of the Caucasian race. United States v. Thind , 261 U.S. 204, 210–15, 43 S.Ct. 338, 67 L.Ed. 616 (1923) ; see also Gong Lum v. Rice , 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172 (1927) (upholding a state court ruling requiring an American citizen of Chinese descent to attend school for "colored"......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
58 cases
  • Commonwealth of Pa. v. Local U. 542, Int. U. of Op. Eng., Civ. A. No. 71-2698.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 4, 1974
    ...19 (1958); Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, 377 U.S. 218, 84 S.Ct. 1226, 12 L.Ed.2d 256 (1964); Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172 (1927); Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337, 59 S.Ct. 232, 83 L.Ed. 208 (1938); Cumming v. County Board......
  • State ex rel. Bluford v. Canada, No. 37449.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 8, 1941
    ...of the United States. State ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 344 Mo. 1238; State ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337; Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78; University v. Murray, 169 Md. 478. (2) The judgment of the trial court in refusing to issue the peremptory writ of mandamus prayed for was an abus......
  • Browder v. Gayle, No. 1147.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • June 5, 1956
    ...e. g. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 25 L.Ed. 664; Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60, 38 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed. 149; Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172; Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. In Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct. 1138, 41 L.......
  • Davis v. Guam, No. 17-15719
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • July 29, 2019
    ...of the Caucasian race. United States v. Thind , 261 U.S. 204, 210–15, 43 S.Ct. 338, 67 L.Ed. 616 (1923) ; see also Gong Lum v. Rice , 275 U.S. 78, 48 S.Ct. 91, 72 L.Ed. 172 (1927) (upholding a state court ruling requiring an American citizen of Chinese descent to attend school for "colored"......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Racialization of Islam in American Law
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 637-1, September 2011
    • September 1, 2011
    ...and identities. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698. 1893.Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78. 1927.Gotanda, Neil. 1991. A critique of “Our Constitution is color-blind.” Stanford Law Review 44:1–68.Gotanda, Neil. 2000. Comparative racialization: ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT