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Evans v. Newton

United States Supreme Court
382 U.S. 296 (1966)


Facts

In 1911, United States Senator Augustus Bacon executed a will devising a tract of land to the Mayor and City Council of the City of Macon, Georgia. The will specifically provided that the land was to be used as a public park open exclusively to white people and managed by white people. The City of Macon managed the park through its Board of Managers according to these terms for a while, but then opened it up to African Americans when it believed it could no longer constitutionally exclude them. Evans (plaintiff), a member of the Board of Managers and other members brought suit in Georgia state court against Newton and the City of Macon (defendants), as well as several trustees of Senator Bacon’s estate asking that the city be removed as trustee of the park and that new trustees be appointed. Several African American citizens of Macon intervened on behalf of the City, as well as several heirs of Bacon’s estate asking for a reversion of the trust property back to the estate if the petition was denied. The city then resigned as trustee. The Georgia state court accepted the city’s resignation, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that Bacon’s will was a lawful device of property to a specific class. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

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Dissent (Harlan, J.)

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