Coit v. Green: Black Families Sue to Revoke Tax Exemptions of Private Schools

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The legal case of Coit v. Green is launched. Black families who have children attending public schools in Mississippi file suit to have the IRS revoke the tax exempt status of private schools in Mississippi that exclude black students from enrolling.

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that private schools which practice racial discrimination can be denied tax exemptions. Most of these schools are in the south and were created by Christians, usually under the auspices of Christian churches, for the express purpose of getting around the desegregation of public schools.

Removal of tax exemptions, however, makes it much harder for Christian churches and organizations to maintain their racially discriminatory schools. Without tax exemptions, costs for the schools are higher and donations from private citizens cannot be deducted on income taxes.

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