Early California

Criminal Justice, Early California: 1872

Capital punishment is added to California’s penal code.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race: 1872

Ban on Indian and Chinese testimony rescinded.

Early California, Women: 1873

Legislature passes a law forbidding the trafficking of women from Asia for prostitution.

Early California, Women: 1874

After intense lobbying by women, the Legislature passes a law mandating equal pay for women teachers.

Early California, Race: 1874

State supreme court rules in Ward v. Flood that African American children have a right to a public education but not in the same schools as white children. 

Early California, Women: 1878

Clara Shortridge FoltzClara Shortridge FoltzLaw forbidding women to become members of the state bar is repealed, after rigorous campaign by Laura deForce Gordon and Clara Shortridge Foltz, who became the first practicing women lawyers in California.

Early California, Immigrants Rights, Race: 1879

Voters ratify a new state constitution.  At the urging of the Workingmen’s Party, the new constitution denies Chinese immigrants the right to vote, bans the hiring of Chinese by corporations or on public works, and authorizes cities to require Chinese residents to live outside city limits or in segregated areas.

Early California, Women: 1879

Article XX, Section 18 of the new state Constitution states that women cannot be disqualified from any profession.

Criminal Justice, Early California: 1885

All Chinese residents of Eureka and surrounding areas are expelled after a white councilman is accidentally killed in crossfire between two Chinese men. Hundreds of such purges took place throughout California in the late 1800s.

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