Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)

McClain, Charles. “The Struggle for Access to the Schools”. In

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McClain, Charles. “The Struggle for Access to the Schools”. In In Search of Equality: the Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994) 133-143. (11)
Access to education, or lack thereof, is one aspect of American history which is more commonly related to that of the American South during and prior to the Civil Rights movement, but in reality the California case of Mamie Tape was the first issue of unequal access to education that the American public faced. In his chapter, “In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America”, Charles McClain addresses an early history in California of racial segregation in education. Though pre-civil war cases, such as Roberts v. City of Boston and Ward v. Flood, dealt with the case of African American children being unable to attend the same educational institutions, the results of these cases brought about the California court’s decision that “all children of the state were entitled to receive instruction at the public schools as a matter of state constitutional right ad that the state’s ‘colored children’ could only be excluded…when separate schools were in fact available”162. The concept of separate but equal education is, quite obviously based on these various cases, a deep cultural issue in American history, more mildly showing its face through the guise of poverty disparity and the public education system. Though there are rarely any American instances of unequal education based upon racial discrimination, there is that of global instances of discrimination. The most popular of these would have to be instances of young girls in the Middle East having to fight for their ability to go to school. In reality, the case of Mamie Tape set the California standard for legislation regarding the rights of Chinese children, and further highlighted the Chinese population’s awareness to their legal rights and their right to act accordingly in the eyes of the law.

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