Evans v. Newton - 382 U.S. 296 (1966)
U.S. Supreme Court
Evans v. Newton, 382 U.S. 296 (1966)
Evans v. Newton
Argued November 9-10, 1965
Decided January 17, 1966
382 U.S. 296
A tract of land was willed in trust to the Mayor and City Council of Macon, Georgia, as a park for white people, to be controlled by a white Board of Managers. When the city ultimately desegregated the park, the individual Managers brought this suit in a state court against the city and the trustees of residuary beneficiaries and asked for the city's removal as trustee and the appointment of private trustees to enforce the racial limitations of the will. The city, which had alleged that it could not legally enforce segregation, asked to resign as trustee after intervention of Negro citizens who claimed that the racial limitations violated federal law. Other heirs of the testator who had also intervened asked, along with the individual defendants, for reversion of the property if the prayer of the petition was denied. The Georgia court, without passing on the heirs' other claims, accepted the city's resignation as trustee and appointed three new trustees. The Negro intervenors appealed. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the testator had a right to leave his property to a limited class and that charitable trusts are subject to the supervision of an equity court, which could appoint new trustees to avoid failure of the trust. Held:
1. Where private individuals or groups exercise powers or carry on functions governmental in nature, they become agencies or instrumentalities of the State. and subject to the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 382 U. S. 299.
2. Where the tradition of municipal control and maintenance had been perpetuated for many years, proof of the substitution of trustees is insufficient per se to divest the park of its public character. P. 382 U. S. 301.
3. The services rendered by a park are municipal in nature, and, under the circumstances of this case, the park is subject to the equal protection requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 382 U. S. 301-302.
220 Ga. 280, 138 S.E. 2d 573, reversed.