JUNE 8, 1953

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in restaurants in Washington, D.C., was unlawful. 

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell had led that fight. Such discrimination had not always existed in the nation’s capital. In fact, Congress had passed laws in 1872 and 1873, barring restaurants and the like from refusing to serve any “well-behaved” customer, regardless of race. Those laws remained on the books, despite being ignored. 

After the high court ruled in her favor, Terrell returned to the same restaurant that had turned her away, and she and her friends were served.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.