Defender’s Legal Helps: Discrimination

Chicago Defender


Citation Information:

“Defender’s Legal Helps: Discrimination,” Chicago Defender, June 6, 1914, v. 9, n. 23.

Complaints have been made verbally against the exclusion of Afro-Americans from the accommodations of the Polk Street Railway Station between the arrival and departure of trains by the stationmaster. The question is, has the stationmaster the right to so exclude Afro-Americans from the depot accommodations? The answer is that neither the railway company nor the stationmaster has the right in this state to make any discriminations in the accommodations given to the public on the ground of color or race. There is a statute in this state which makes any such action a criminal offense punishable by fine and as other misdemeanors. The party aggrieved may sue civilly and recover damages therefore, or he may prosecute under the criminal law. Some time ago the Northwestern Railway Company started to discriminate against Afro-Americans by refusing to allow them to ride in the elevators of the new Northwestern Station. This was promptly stopped by an action against that company and a judgment was rendered against them for $300 damages. The remedies offered to the race by statute should be promptly and vigorously invoked against any such discrimination at the Polk Street Railway Station. The Legal Department of the Defender is investigating the facts in the situation as presented by numerous complaints. All persons having knowledge of material facts on this question, experimental or otherwise, are requested to send them to the Defender’s Legal Department with dispatch. The law further provides and prohibits discrimination for the same reason in public places generally and any facts upon this subject experienced by and person are desired and any person so aggrieved is requested to report the facts to the Legal Department of the Defender promptly.