Prelude to Brown - 1906: Cartwright v. Coffeyville

1906: Cartwright v. The Board of Education of Coffeyville

In Coffeyville the school board maintained racially separate grades within Lincoln School. African American students were assigned to one classroom. Eva Cartwright, an African American sixth grader, accompanied by her mother tried to enroll in an all white sixth grade class taught by a white teacher. Eva was turned away and sent to the classroom reserved for African American students. Bud Cartwright demanded that his daughter Eva be admitted to the regular classroom for her grade level. One of his attorneys was James A. Guy, an African American lawyer who moved to Kansas from Ohio. In 1906, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled for Cartwright based on Kansas law governing schools in second class cities. The legal issue in second class cities seemed to be settled.

The court's decision stated that the Board of Education has no power to exclude African American students from schools established for white children in the absence of a law that authorizes such power in cities of the second class.

Read the Cartwright opinion.

View a scanned copy of the Cartwright opinion.