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Meet The Queen of Swords

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Our Queen of Swords is Mary Tape, photographer and painter. When Joseph and Mary Tape, a prosperous middle-class Chinese-American couple, tried to enroll their eldest daughter, Mamie, at the all-white Spring Valley Primary School in September 1884, Principal Jennie Hurley refused to admit her, citing the existing school-board policy against admitting Chinese children. Mary Tape took principal Hurley to the Supreme Court and sued the board of education on the grounds that they were violating the “California Political code.” Tape V. Hurley ruled in Mary Tape’s favor. This led the state to establish separate schools until Brown v. Board of Ed in 1947.

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