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Civil Rights Case

Civil Rights Case image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
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A snit was tried in Jastice Doty's court yesterday afternoon involving the question of civil rights. It was the case of Joseph Pierce vs. Landlord Ed. E. Jones, of the Hawkins house, Ypsilanti. It grew out of the following facta : Pierce is a well known colored man and on the Fourth of July claimed he was refused a shiue at the Hawkins house and later the same day, adrnisïon to thei dining room because of his color. The case was tried before the foliowing jury: Charles Schott, Harry Benhatn, Joseph Polhemus, Geo. Apfel, Horace Purfield and John Reynolds. The plaintiff was represented by Frank A. Stivers and the defendant by Major Jonh P. Kirk. of Ypsilanti. The plaintiff claimed he was denied his rights at the hotel because he is a colored man, while the defense claimed he was drunk or acted in an improper mannier. Pierce, the plaintiff, testified that he was refused a shiiie and was told it was because he was a coon. He asked tue landlord why he could not have the shine and was told the same thing in substance. He said ne Uien tola Landlord Jones he would probably be back to supper At sapper time he went to the office, bought a ticket tendered it to Mr. Jones and was iuformed thac he could noteat in bis dining room, bnt that 113 would have to eat in the kitchen ïf he ate at all. Pierce had a policeman accompanying hiin to hear the conversatiou. Frank A. Merchant another colored man who works in the adjoining barber shop swore that Jones refused Pierce admission to the dining room because he was black. Merchant denied that Pierce was drunfc or that he acted boisterously. Ttiis ended the case of the plaintiff and the defense began lts case by putting the defendant on the stand. Jones said Pierce wan at his hotel on the Fourth bnt he swore that he considered Piercs drunk and that he was boisterous. He said Pierce approached hiru and saiö he wanted a shine but Jones told biru he did uot black shoes. That Pierce then said he could not get a shiue because he was colored. Jones swore that he had nothing to do wlth the shiniug business, -that his help did it and had what they made ont uf it. He swore that nothing was said about Mr. Pierce being a colored man excepting by Pierce himself who said in a loud and boisterous tone that he was refased because he was a colored man. He also swore tbat Fierce went outside and talked londly about his treatment. He thongbt Pirece was drunk. Later h8 carne into supper and because of his condition he refused hiru admission to the dimng room, but assured him that he wonld feed him in 3ome other room. Hu said Pierce was boisterons and be considered him diunk and looking for trouble and groond upon wnioh to base a suit. Several other witnesses were sworn and testimony was brought out whicn showed that there was considerable boisterons and loud talk betweenjMr. Pierce and Mr Jones. The attorneys then made their arguments to the jury. Mr. Stivers claiming this was a plain case of discrimiuation againet a man because he was black, that tnis was a violation of lavv whieh requiied that there should be no such discriaiination. He thought, therefore, there should be substantial damages giveu his cliënt. Mr. Kirk contended there was no such discriminatiovi as at least one other colored man had been fed at the hotel as had been shown by testimouy. He claimed Pierce was in such a condition that he was not entitled to the accomodations of the hotel, and that the case was oue of sour grapes for that reason. The jury after long deliberation gave Pierce six cents danaages. It is not known whether the case wlil be carriea np. It has not as yet been settled.