Smith v. Young Men's Christian Association

Popular Name: 
YMCA Case
Case Number: 
2883-N
Court where filed: 
USDC Middle District of Alabama
Date Filed: 
06/11/1969
Status: 
Won
Plaintiffs: 
Vincent Smith, class of African-American children who wanted participate in activities the YMCA offered to whites
Defendants: 
YMCA, Inc. and those officials that implemented and enforced discriminatory policies

Challenging segregation
Like other cities across the South, Montgomery, Alabama took the extraordinary step of closing swimming pools, parks, and recreational facilities rather than integrate them as court ordered in 1958. Later, the pools were filled with dirt.

The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) began to fill the city's recreational needs, but continued to segregate children, going so far as to ban kids who swam at an integrated pools from city-wide meets.

Then, in 1969, the YMCA refused to admit two African American children to its summer camp. Center co-founder Morris Dees filed a class action suit to stop the YMCA's policy of racial discrimination.

During the lawsuit, he uncovered a secret 1958 agreement between the city and the YMCA in which city officials gave the YMCA control of many city recreational activities.

The court ruled that the city had invested the YMCA with a "municipal character," and ordered the YMCA to stop its discriminatory, segregationist practices.

 

Date(s) of Disposition: 
07/20/1970: Judgment for plaintiffs (316 F.Supp 899) 06/14/1972: Judgment affirmed and modified by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (462 F.2d 634)