Peterson v. City of Greenville,
373 U.S. 244 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Peterson v. City of Greenville, 373 U.S. 244 (1963)

Peterson v. City of Greenville

No. 71

Argued November 6-7, 1962

Decided May 20, 1963

373 U.S. 244


Petitioners, ten Negroes, entered a store in Greenville, S.C., and seated themselves at the lunch counter. The manager of the store did not request their arrest, but he sent for police, in whose presence he stated that the lunch counter was closed and requested everyone to leave the area. When petitioners failed to do so, they were arrested, and later they were tried and convicted of violating a state trespass statute. The store manager testified that he had asked them to leave because to have served them would have been "contrary to local customs" of segregated service at lunch counters and would have violated a city ordinance requiring separation of the races in restaurants.

Held: Petitioners' convictions for failure to leave the lunch counter violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, even if the manager would have acted as he did independently of the existence of the ordinance. Pp. 373 U. S. 245-248.

239 S.C. 298, 122 S.E.2d 826, reversed.

Page 373 U. S. 245

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