Spokane Children's Home excludes African American orphans on October 8, 1936.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 9/24/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5552

On October 8, 1936, the trustees of the Spokane Children's Home adopts a policy of declining to accept African American orphans for care in the home. Two children, Carl Maxey and Milton Burns, who have lived in the home for years, are removed to the custody of the county.

The minutes of the Spokane Children's Home read as follows:

It was moved and seconded that the two colord boys, Carl Maxey and Milton Burnes, be returned to the County, have been in the Home for years. Motion carried. It was moved and seconded that the Board go on record as voting to have no more colored children in the Home from this time forward. Motion carried -- unanimous.

The two orphans, Carl Maxey (1924-1997) and Milton Burns, were sent back to the care of Spokane County.

Maxey became a lawyer, a civil rights leader, and a candidate for Senator in 1970. Maxey later stated, "They threw us out. It sure as hell says that. And it was for something that had nothing whatsoever to do with us. So if you'd like to know where some of my fire comes from, it comes from a memory that includes this event."


Jim Kershner, "Segregation in Spokane," Columbia, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Winter 2000-2001), pp. 38-44. See Also: Jim Kershner, Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008).

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