Senator Bacon left some land
to the city of Macon, GA to build a park.
The only stipulation was
that the park was for white people only.
He was quite the
philanthropist, wasn't he?
The city maintained the park
for whites only for a while, but eventually decided that everyone should
be able to use the park.
The city felt that since the
park was a public facility, they could not legally enforce racial
The park's Board of Trustees
and Bacon's relatives sued. The city resigned as a trustee, and new private
trustees were found.
appealed, saying that the city shouldn't be allowed to re-privatize the
The US Supreme Court found
that the Equal Protection Clause of
the 14th Amendment requires that the park remain
The US Supreme Court noted
that private organizations are not bound by the Equal Protection
Clause and can remain segregated.
Amendment generally only applies to
governmental actions, not those of private persons. (aka the State
However, the park had been
maintained as a public facility, with public money. Therefore it meets
the Public Function Exception to
the State Action Doctrine.
"We cannot but
conclude that the public character of this park requires that it be
treated as a public institution subject to the command of the 14th
Amendment, regardless of who now
has title under State law."