Morgan v. Virginia

Date: 1946

In July 1944, Irene Morgan was arrested when she refused to yield her seat to a white passenger on a bus from Virginia to Maryland. Morgan was tried and convicted of violating a state segregation ordinance. Her conviction was upheld by the state appellate court. The following year, lawyers for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took on Morgan's case. The NAACP argued that statutes requiring segregation on interstate carriers placed an undue burden on interstate commerce and thus violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In a 7 to 1 ruling on June 3, 1946, the Supreme Court reversed the Virginia appellate court decision, striking down the Virginia law and, by extension, the laws in other states mandating Jim Crow practices on interstate transport.

In April 1947, an interracial group of sixteen people under the auspices of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) engaged in a "Journey of Reconciliation" to call attention to the Court's decision and to force adherence to it. The journey was a precursor to the Freedom Rides of 1961.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Morgan v. Virginia." (Viewed on September 22, 2023) <>.


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