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Michigan Supreme Court. Territorial Times to the 1950s: Decisions Affecting African Americans. Territorial Cases. Judge Woodward:1807. Denison v Tucker: slaves returned to Tucker who was deemed to be lawful master of the Denisons - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Michigan Supreme CourtTerritorial Times to the 1950s: Decisions Affecting African Americans

  • Territorial Cases

  • Judge Woodward:1807

    Denison v Tucker: slaves returned to Tucker who was deemed to be lawful master of the Denisons In Matter of Richard Pattinson: Woodward decided not to return fugitive slaves Two cases demonstrate conflict between what was viewed as the immorality of slavery and an obligation to and interpretation of the laws

  • Voting Gordon v Farrar: Supreme Court found that voting was exclusive to white males, 1844People v Dean: Justices Campbell, Cooley and Christiancy defined white as less than African bloodHedgeman v Board of Registration: Court held that free blacks were not citizens

  • EducationWorkman v Detroit Board of Education, 1869Separate but Equal Doctrine dismissedPublic school admission based on race ruled illegal1871: William W. Ferguson first African American admitted to Detroit Public School systemLegal victory without practical application, schools continued to be segregated

  • Public AccommodationsDay v Owen, 1858Ferguson v Gies, 1890Bolden v Grand Rapids Operating Corp, 1927

  • Day v Owen, 1858Denied passage on a steamer from Detroit to ToledoSued for damagesCourt ruled that ultimately the defendant had the right to decide who would ride on his steamer

  • Ferguson v Gies, 1890Came after Civil Rights legislation, Act 130Counteracted ideology of Day v OwenIn Michigan, there must be absolute, unconditional equality of White and Colored before the Law-Justice MorseProminent African American representationJustice Morse

  • Bolden v Grand Rapids Operating Corp, 1927Gave African Americans right to sue for damages if discriminated againstMichigans Civil Rights Statute was found to be constitutional exercise of the states police powers

  • William W. FergusonProminent Detroit business owner of a printing companyBecame a lawyer in 1897First African American elected to Michigan Legislature

  • D. Augustus StrakerAfrican-American lawyer from the Bahamas, represented FergusonOne of the first minorities to argue before the Michigan Supreme CourtIncluded in 1900 time capsule that was recently opened

  • Restrictive CovenantsMost commonly, refusing housing based on racial restrictionsParmalee v Morris,1922: upheld racially restrictive covenantsSipes v McGhee, 1947: Led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states could not enforce racially restrictive covenants

  • RamificationsThe Michigan Supreme Court made powerful decisions, promoting change or maintaining the status quo, and whether positive or negative the Court has an undeniable impact on our lives. The cases chosen represent medley of the Courts workHistorically, the Court reflected the conservative beliefs of Midwestern Michigan society


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