Lucy v. Adams

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Lucy et al v. Adams, Dean of Admissions, University of Alabama 350 U.S. 1 (1955) was a U.S. Supreme Court sase which affirmed equal protection of state laws and the right of citizens of any race to apply and be accepted as students at the University of Alabama.

Autherine Lucy and Polly Ann Myers Hudson, both graduates of Miles College had submitted their inquiries to the University of Alabama, and were originally welcomed into the university through letters received in the mail on September 13, 1952, but were rejected on September 20 when their submitted applications, which included answers indicating their race, was rejected by the Dean of Admissions William F. Adams.

Lucy and Hudson enlisted the aid of prominent Civil Rights attorneys Thurgood Marshall and Arthur Shores. After an appeal Shores wrote to the current university president, John Gallalee, was refused, Marshall and Shores turned towards legal action. The case was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Grooms of Birmingham in 1955, just over a year after Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka. Grooms ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Lucy and Meyers Hudson, on June 29, 1955, allowing them admission into the University of Alabama.

Lucy and Meyers Hudson reapplied to The University of Alabama on October 10 of that year, but were denied application on the grounds that the term had already started. The university then submitted a stay of execution until January 6, 1956 pending an upcoming appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, with the claims that Judge Grooms lacked the authority to issue the order. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Grooms's injunction. Another appeal was filed as to whether Lucy and Hudson Meyers were entitled to having their suit decided as a class-action suit.

The University of Alabama admitted Lucy, but because Meyers Hudson was pregnant and unwed at the time of her original application to the university, denied her admission on the grounds of violating the university's moral code. Autherine Lucy walked onto the campus for the first time on February 3, 1956. On February 6, Lucy was beset by a mob, hurling insults and rotten eggs. The university unregistered Lucy from her classes for "her own protection". Lucy later sued the university for being complicit in the mob violence and her subsequent inability to attend classes.