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*On this date, in 1889, Wysinger v. Crookshank was filed.
This was the first case that rendered school segregation of blacks in California contrary to the law. On October 1, 1888, 58-year-old Edmond Wysinger, a former black slave who bought his freedom working in the California mines, moved to Visalia, California. When he attempted to enroll his son, Arthur, in the only high school in Visalia, he was told that because Arthur was “colored,” he could not be admitted. Wysinger sued the school district to have his son admitted to Visalia High School.
The case was tried in the Superior Court of Tulare County, where a ruling was issued against the plaintiff. Wysinger and his lawyers appealed, and the case eventually ended before the Supreme Court of California. On January 29, 1890, the Court ruled that California Political Code 1669 had been amended in 1880 to allow the desegregation of all schools in the state.
Shortly afterward, Arthur Wysinger was the first black student admitted to Visalia’s high school. This case began a century-long campaign to eliminate all California school segregation vestiges.