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The Great Hair Debate
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An Act to define and declare the rights of persons lately
known as Slaves, and Free Persons of Color.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of
Texas, That all persons heretofore known as slaves, and free
persons of color, shall have the right to make and enforce
contracts, to sue and be sued, to inherit, purchase, lease,
hold, sell, and convey real, personal and mixed estate; to
make wills and testaments, and to have and enjoy the rights
of personal security, liberty, and private property, and all
remedies and proceedings for the protection and enforcement
of the same; and there shall be no discrimination against such
persons in the administration of the criminal laws of this State.
Sec 2. That all laws and parts of laws relating to persons
lately held as slaves, or free persons of color, contrary to; or
in conflict with the provisions of this act, be and the same are
hereby repealed; Provided, nevertheless, that nothing herein
shall be so construed as to repeal any law prohibiting the
intermarriage of the white and black races, nor to permit any
other than white men to serve on juries, hold office, or vote
at any election, State, county or municipal; Provided, further,
that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to
allow them to testify, except in such cases and manner as is
prescribed in the Constitution of the State.
Approved November 10, 1866.
El Paso Times and El Paso Herald-Post, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT CHESLEY KARR (1970). Courtesy of Chesley Karr.
||El Paso Times and El Paso Herald-Post
||The role of public schools in regulating a dress code
||Readers of the El Paso Times and El Paso Herald-Post
||To show how the debate over long hair in public schools polarized a community through its local media
In 1970, a high-school gym teacher in El Paso, Texas, refused to admit Chesley Karr to class because of his long hair. Karr refused to get a haircut and took the school to court. The El Paso Times and El Paso Herald-Post covered the "great hair debate" and served as a conduit for public opinion. Even though Karr lost his appeal to the Supreme Court, the case illuminated a divide within the community of El Paso. It also reflected the media's role in the national issue on the rights of students within the public school system. Both newspapers published editorials on the case, along with more than fifty letters from readers.
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