In 1831, Stephen Girard executed a will that created a testamentary trust to establish a college for “poor white male orphans.” The college opened in 1848 and was thereafter operated by the Board of Directors of City Trusts of the City of Philadelphia (defendant). In 1954, the Board refused to admit two African-American applicants because of their race. The denied applicants filed suit in state court seeking an injunction ordering their admission. The City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania (plaintiff) joined suit alleging a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The state courts rejected the constitutional claims and denied the applicants’ plea for injunctive relief. The state of Pennsylvania petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.