Graham v. The Board of Education of the City of Topeka, A. J. Stout, and Charles S. Todd
153 Kan. 840 (1941)
OALAND GRAHAM, JR., by ULYSSES A. GRAHAM, His Next Friend,
Plaintiff, v. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF TOPEKA,
A. J. STOUT, Superintendent of Public Schools, and CHARLES S.
TODD, Principal of Boswell Junior High School, etc., Defendants.
(114 P. 2d 313)
SYLLABUS BY THE COURT
View a scanned copy of the Graham opinion.
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW--Equal Protection of Laws--Necessity of Equal Educational Facilities. The petitioner, a colored boy twelve years of age, was promoted from the sixth grade of the elementary school in Topeka known as Buchanan school, made application to the Boswell junior high school for enrollment in the seventh grade, was denied the right to enroll on account of his race and color, and thereupon instituted the present proceeding in mandamus, alleging the refusal of the defendants to admit petitioner to receive the educational advantages of the Boswell junior high school was discriminatory and in violation of the rights of the petitioner under the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States and of section 1 of the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas. The record is examined, and held, the petitioner was denied equal educational facilities accorded to the white students in the Boswell junior high school, and the refusal to permit petitioner to enroll in the seventh grade in such school was discriminatory within the meaning of the above specified constitutional provisions.
2. SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS--Statute Permitting Separation of Races Construed. The seventh and eighth grades of public-school education are not a part of a "high school" within the meaning of G. S. 1935, 72-1724.
Original proceeding in mandamus. Opinion filed June 13, 1941. Writ allowed.
Tinkham Veale and William M. Bradshaw, both of Topeka, for the plaintiff.
J. L. Hunt, Lester M. Goodell, Margaret McGurnaghan, John H. Hunt and George M. Brewster, all of Topeka, for defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
ALLEN, J.: This is an original proceeding in mandamus in which the plaintiff seeks to compel the defendants to admit plaintiff as a student to the 7B grade in Boswell junior high school in the city of Topeka. After defendants had answered, evidence was submitted to a commissioner appointed by the court. The commissioner made findings of fact and conclusions of law and decided that the writ of mandamus should not issue. Plaintiff then moved the court to set aside the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the commissioner and for judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Defendants filed a motion to confirm the report of the commissioner and for judgment in their favor.
We quote from the findings of fact made by the commissioner:
"1. That the plaintiff, Oaland Graham, Jr., is a colored boy, twelve years of age (when this suit was filed), residing with his mother, Beatrice Graham, at 1418 Munson avenue, Topeka, Kan., which is within the district designated by the defendant Board of Education and superintendent of public schools of Topeka, Kan., as the district which is served for junior high-school purposes by the Boswell junior high school.
"2. That the defendant Board of Education of the city of Topeka is a body corporate and politic consisting of six members; and the defendant, A. J. Stout, is the duly elected, qualified and acting superintendent of public schools of the city of Topeka; and the defendant, Charles S. Todd, is the duly appointed, qualified and acting principal of Boswell junior high school.
"3. That the plaintiff an January 26, 1940, was promoted from the sixth grade of the elementary school in Topeka known as Buchanan school, and thereafter on January 29, 1940, duly presented himself to the defendant, Charles S. Todd, as principal of Boswell junior high school, for enrollment in the seventh grade of that school, and was at that time denied and refused the right to enroll in said school by said principal and by the defendant Board of Education on account of his race and color.
"4. In the district served by Boswell junior high school white pupils receive their first six years of public-school instruction in one of the several elementary schools in said district, then attend Boswell junior high school for the seventh, eighth and ninth years of instruction (referred to in the evidence as seventh, eighth and ninth grades), and then attend the Topeka high school for the last three years of their public-school instruction.
"Colored pupils in said district attend Buchanan school for their first eight years of public-school instruction, upon completion of which they then attend Boswell junior high school or Roosevelt junior high school for one year, or the ninth grade, and then enter the Topeka high school for their last three years."
There are two principal questions in this case. Plaintiff argues: (1) Boswell junior high school is a high school within the meaning of G. S. 1935, 72-1724, and that therefore the white and colored races cannot be separated; (2) the educational facilities offered to colored children at the Buchanan school are not equal to those offered to white children in the 7B grade at the Boswell junior high school and that the refusal to admit plaintiff to the Boswell junior high school was a denial of plaintiff's constitutional rights as guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, and section 1 of the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas.