December 31's Fact of the Week

In 1885, Tape v. Hurley presided as a landmark case for Chinese American families hoping to send their children to public school in the United States. Mary and Joseph Tape contested the San Francisco Board of Education for discrimination and alleged that Mamie Tape, their Chinese American daughter, was denied admission based on her Chinese ancestry. While the law at the time allowed all children that resided in California except for "children of filthy or vicious habits, or children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases," California Supreme Court judge Sharpstein ascribed that Tape cannot be prohibited from receiving an education and admission to a school based on her race, color, or nationality and "has the same right to enter a public school that any other child has." However, the school moved to bar her from admission based on hygiene, and argued that she did not receive her vaccinations in time and therefore dangerous to other children. After the decision, the San Francisco Board of Education moved to create a segregated school system, the Oriental Public School, for Chinese and “Mongolian” children - and later for Japanese children until the 1905 San Francisco School Board Incident.