Document Type



The Case of the Checker-Board Ordinance: An Experiment in Race Relations, 71 Yale Law Journal 1387 (1962)


Jones & Smith v. Town of New Harmony
United States Court of Appeals, Special Circuit.
September 1, 1965.

In 1963, the Town of New Harmony, Illinois, adopted a so-called "checkerboard ordinance," under which every residential building lot within its corporate limits was classified as either "N" or "W" pursuant to a plan permitting "N" property to be acquired and occupied only by Negroes and "W"
property only by white persons. To classify the plot at the extreme north-east
corner of New Harmony's corporate limits, the mayor flipped a coin at a
public ceremony; with this as a base point, all other residential plots were
thereupon designated, alternately, as "N" or "W". Public, commercial, industrial, recreational, institutional, and other nonresidential properties are not affected; but the residential areas of New Harmony are so laid out that the
ordinance has produced in classification, and perhaps eventually would produce in practice, the "checker-board" from which it derived its popular name.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Law Commons