Boynton v. Virginia

From Academic Kids

Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960) was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. The case overturned a judgment convicting an African American law student for trespassing by being in a restaurant in a bus terminal which was "whites only." It held that racial segregation in public transportation was illegal because such segregation violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which broadly forebade discrimination in interstate passenger transportation. It moreover held that bus transportation was sufficiently related to interstate commerce to allow the United States Federal government to regulate it to forbid racial discrimination in the industry. The majority opinion was written by Justice Hugo Black.

The significance of Boynton was not so much in its holding — it managed to avoid deciding any Constitutional questions in its decision, and its expansive reading of Federal powers regarding interstate commerce was also well established by the time of the decision — but the outlawing of racial segregation in public transportation led to a movement called the Freedom Rides, in which African Americans rode various forms of public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the civil rights movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States.

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