Found in Yonkers Logo

Article-a-Day #121: Equal Justice Initiative-January 22, 1883-Supreme Court Ruling Strikes down Force Act Allowing Racial Terror Violence to Continue

On January 22, 1883, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Harris dismissed indictments against a Tennessee sheriff and his accomplices accused of attacking four Black men and killing one. The Court held that the Force Act, a federal law passed to protect Black Americans from violent terrorism, was unconstitutional because the Fourteenth Amendment limited Congress to taking remedial steps against state action that violated the Fourteenth Amendment and applied only to acts by states, not to acts of individuals.