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Legal History Commons

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2009

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Chicago-Kent College of Law

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The Sit-Ins And The State Action Doctrine, Christopher W. Schmidt Nov 2009

The Sit-Ins And The State Action Doctrine, Christopher W. Schmidt

All Faculty Scholarship

By taking their seats at “whites only” lunch counters across the South in the spring of 1960, African American students not only launched a dramatic new stage in the civil rights movement, they also sparked a national reconsideration of the scope of the constitutional equal protection requirement. The critical constitutional question raised by the sit-in movement was whether the Fourteenth Amendment, which after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) prohibited racial segregation in schools and other state-operated facilities, applied to privately owned accommodations open to the general public. From the perspective of the student protesters, the lunch counter operators, and ...