The Supreme Court of Georgia after stating in its opinion that counsel for the petitioners did not point out in his brief what particular paragraph of the Fourteenth Amendment was violated, said: "If it be the first, he does not point out what clause of that paragraph is violated, whether the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States are abridged, whether his clients are deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or whether his clients are denied the equal protection of the laws. It is difficult, therefore, for us to determine whether this amendment has been violated. If any authority had been cited, we could from that have determined which paragraph or clause counsel relied upon, but as he has left us in the dark we can only say that in our opinion none of the clauses of any of the paragraphs of the amendment, under the facts disclosed by the record, are violated by the Board. There is no complaint in the petition that there is any discrimination made in regard to the free common schools of the county. So far as the record discloses, both races have the same facilities and privileges of attending them. The only complaint is that these plaintiffs, being taxpayers, are debarred the privilege of sending their children to a high school which is not a free school, but one where tuition is charged, and that a portion of the school fund, raised by taxation, is appropriated to sustain white high schools to which negroes are not admitted. We think we have shown that it was in the discretion of the Board to establish high schools. It being in their discretion, they could, without a violation of the law or of any constitution, devote a portion of the taxes collected for school purposes to the support of this high school for white girls and to assist a county denominational high school for boys. In our opinion, it is impracticable to distribute taxes equally. The appropriation
The constitution of Georgia provides: "There shall be a thorough system of common schools for the education of children in the elementary branches of an English education only, as nearly uniform as practicable, the expenses of which shall be provided for by taxation or otherwise. The schools shall be free to all children of the State, but separate schools shall be provided for the white and colored races." Art. 8, § 1.
It was said at the argument that the vice in the common school system of Georgia was the requirement that the white and colored children of the State be educated in separate schools. But we need not consider that question in this case. No such issue was made in the pleadings. Indeed, the plaintiffs distinctly state that they have no objection to the tax in question so far as levied for the support of primary, intermediate and grammar schools, in the management of which
The plaintiffs in error complain that the Board of Education used the funds in its hands to assist in maintaining a high school for white children without providing a similar school for colored children. The substantial relief asked is an injunction that would either impair the efficiency of the high school provided for white children or compel the Board to close it. But if that were done, the result would only be to take from white children educational privileges enjoyed by them, without giving to colored children additional opportunities for the education furnished in high schools. The colored school children of the county would not be advanced in the matter of their education by a decree compelling the defendant Board to cease giving support to a high school for white children. The Board had before it the question whether it should maintain, under its control, a high school for about sixty colored children or withhold the benefits of education in primary schools from three hundred children of the same race. It was impossible, the Board believed, to give educational facilities to the three hundred colored children who were unprovided for, if it maintained a separate school for the sixty children who wished to have a high school education. Its decision was in the interest of the greater number of colored children, leaving the smaller number to obtain a high school education in existing private institutions at an expense not beyond that incurred in the high school discontinued by the Board.
We are not permitted by the evidence in the record to regard that decision as having been made with any desire or purpose on the part of the Board to discriminate against any of the colored school children of the county on account of their race. But if it be assumed that the Board erred in supposing that its duty was to provide educational facilities for the three hundred colored children who were without an opportunity in primary schools to learn the alphabet and to read and write, rather than to maintain a school for the benefit of the sixty colored children who wished to attend a high
The state court did not deem the action of the Board of Education in suspending temporarily and for economic reasons the high school for colored children a sufficient reason why the defendant should be restrained by injunction from maintaining an existing high school for white children. It rejected the suggestion that the Board proceeded in bad faith or had abused the discretion with which it was invested by the statute under which it proceeded or had acted in hostility to the colored race. Under the circumstances disclosed, we cannot say that this action of the state court was, within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, a denial by the State to the plaintiffs and to those associated with them of the equal protection of the laws or of any privileges belonging to them as citizens of the United States. We may add that while all admit that the benefits and burdens of public taxation must be shared by citizens without discrimination against any class on account of their race, the education of the people in schools maintained by state taxation is a matter belonging to the respective States, and any interference on the part of Federal authority with the management of such schools cannot be justified except in the case of a clear and unmistakable disregard of rights secured by the supreme law of the land. We have here no such case to be determined; and as this view disposes of the only question which this court has jurisdiction to review and decide, the judgment is