Thursday, April 28, 2016

INEZ | She Should Have Sued Harvard Law in 1909

Horace Ward, 1927-2013, on his
award of an honorary degree by the
university that rejected him.
April 28, 2016–In his obit in The New York Times today of Horace Ward, Georgia's first black federal judge, Sam Roberts notes that in 1952, Mr. Ward, with support from Thurgood Marshall among others, sued the University of Georgia after it rejected his law school application because of his race.

That might have been a response of Inez Milholland in 1909 when the Harvard Law School faculty admitted her but the administration did not think it appropriate to squander a space in the classroom for a woman.

But maybe she already knew too much law to sue. The legal case was stronger even back in 1909 for discrimination cases based on race rather than gender.

Yet the name of Inez Milholland lives on long after the great majority of the men who would have been her classmates.

A law suit might not have won admission for Inez–it would be another five decades before discrimination against women on university applications was outlawed. 

However, a suit might have have speeded up the admission of women to Harvard Law School.

The first women were not admitted to the Law School until 1950, i.e., the Class of 1953. That was 41 years after the faculty admitted Inez only to have her admission overruled on nonacademic grounds.

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