Franklin v. Mississippi was a landmark 1917 Supreme Court ruling that interpreted the Doss Equality in Education Act of 1897 as applying to people of all ethnicities, and not just to women. The ruling, which was passed by a 6-3 majority, stated that public universities funded by federal money could not legally bar "any persons from attendance and receipt of education and knowledge at any institution paid for by the tax dollars of the citizens and the continued funding of the United States government based on their race or origin." Regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court rulings of all time, Franklin v. Mississippi helped start the civil rights movement that had been beleaugered for years.

The ruling would be upheld in 1923's controversial Jones v. University of Charleston, in which the Court maintained that public universities could not deny acceptance to blacks due to their skin color, but that private universities could as they did not receive federal money, thus opening a legal loophole for Southern universities to deny black students by refusing federal money for education and funding their universities solely with locally raised donations, a practice maintained until the 1950's.

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