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Supreme Court Voids Sit-In Convictions

Dec. 11, 1961 - The first convictions to reach the Supreme Court from the student sit-in campaign in the South were unanimously set aside by the court today. There were three cases, involving sixteen Negro students at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. They were convicted of disturbing the peace by sitting at lunch counters where they were refused service. Chief Justice Earl Warren, in the opinion for the court, said the convictions could not stand because there was no evidence that the peaceful behavior of the students either had produced a public disturbance or had been likely to do so. The Congress of Racial Equality, which has sponsored many of the sit-ins and freedom rides, said in New York that the decision was “of historic importance” and hailed “the dawn of a new day of equality.”

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