Case of Yick Wo vs. Hopkins
the facts regarding a case he took all the way to the Supreme Court.
Then hypothesize about how you think the Supreme Court ruled in his case.
- In 1886, there were 310 laundries built of wood in San Francisco; 240 of these laundries were owned by Chinese immigrants and the rest were owned by European Americans.
- A San Francisco ordinance was passed that said, due to fire hazard, all laundries must be built of brick.
- Sheriff Hopkins arrested all of the Chinese laundry owners and one female European American laundry owner; the other 79 European American male laundry owners were not arrested.
- The arrested laundry owners went on trial, were convicted, and fined. If they did not, or could not, pay the fine, they were jailed.
- Lee Yick, one of the convicted laundry owners, had operated his laundry in San Francisco for 22 years. He thought the judgment by the local court was racist and unfair. With the help of the other Chinese launderers, he appealed his case to the California Supreme Court.
- The California Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower San Francisco court. Lee Yick appealed his case to the United States Supreme Court.
- The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Excerpt from Ready-to-Use Multicultural Activities for the American History Classroom .
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