AAPI Women and Girl's History: The 8-Year-Old Chinese American Girl Who Helped Desegregate School


  The 8-Year-Old Chinese American Girl Who Helped Desegregate Schools—in 1885 (history.com) Mamie Tape (1876-1972) Mamie Tape was a Chinese ...

 The 8-Year-Old Chinese American Girl Who Helped Desegregate Schools—in 1885 (history.com)

Mamie Tape (1876-1972)

Mamie Tape was a Chinese American student whose mother, Mary, believed her daughter should have the same access to education as white children in San Francisco. In particular, Mary Tape wanted her daughter to be able to attend Spring Valley public school. When the local school principal stood in the schoolhouse door to bar Mamie’s entrance on the sole grounds that she was Chinese, Mary Tape took her to court.

In 1885, almost seventy years before the famous Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education desegregated American public schools, Mary Tape sued the San Francisco School District to offer public education to all Chinese children. Tape v. Hurley was one of the most important civil rights decisions in American history. In this groundbreaking case, Superior Court Judge James Maguire ruled that Chinese children must have access to public education: “To deny a child, born of Chinese parents in this state, entrance to the public schools would be a violation of the law of the state and the Constitution of the United States.”

Yet even after the court found that the San Francisco Board of Education violated the fourteenth amendment in banning Mamie from the public school, the school still refused to admit her, stating that Mamie had not gotten her vaccinations in time.

On April 16, 1885 Mary Tape wrote an impassioned letter to the Alta California newspaper, expressing her anger at this injustice:

“What right have you to bar my child out of the school because she is Chinese […] You have expended a lot of the Public money foolishly, all because of one poor little Child ….It seems no matter how a Chinese may live and dress…they are hated…I will let the world see sir What justice there is When it is governed by the Race prejudice men!”

Today, Spring Valley publicly acknowledges its now infamous mistake on the school’s website: “This piece of Spring Valley history serves to teach our children that the freedoms that we enjoy in America are the result of courageous stands made by those before us who sought equal opportunity for all.”

(Source: adapted from the National Women’s History Museum)

AAPI Civil Rights Heroes Mamie Tape | WE Survive Abuse


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WE Survive Abuse : AAPI Women and Girl's History: The 8-Year-Old Chinese American Girl Who Helped Desegregate School
AAPI Women and Girl's History: The 8-Year-Old Chinese American Girl Who Helped Desegregate School
WE Survive Abuse
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