Hamm v. City of Rock Hill

PETITIONER: Arthur Hamm, Jr., Frank James Lupper
RESPONDENT: City of Rock Hill, Arkansas
LOCATION: The Realtor Building, formerly McCrory’s Five and Ten Cent Store

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 379 US 306 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 12, 1964
DECIDED: Dec 14, 1964
GRANTED: Jun 22, 1964

Constance B. Motley - for the petitioner Lupper
Daniel R. McLeod - for the respondent Rock Hill
Jack Greenberg - for the petitioner Hamm
Jack L. Lessenberry - for the respondent Arkansas

Facts of the case

On June 7, 1960, Arthur Hamm, Jr. and Reverend C. A. Ivory, both black, entered McCrory’s Five and Ten Cent Store in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They made several purchases, then tried unsuccessfully to purchase food at the lunch counter. The store manager asked Hamm and Ivory to leave, but they refused to do so. The manager called the police, who again asked Hamm and Ivory to leave before finally arresting them.

The city of Rock Hill charged Hamm with willfully and unlawfully trespassing at McCrory’s, in violation of city and state laws. He was tried in district court without a jury, found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred dollars or serve thirty days in jail. The Court of General Sessions and the Supreme Court of South Carolina both affirmed his conviction. The Supreme Court of South Carolina cited other South Carolina cases involving sit-down demonstrations, noting that those defendants consistently and unsuccessfully invoked the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process protections.

The Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964 while his appeal was pending, declared that all persons should be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation.


Did the Civil Rights Act forbid discrimination towards black customers at McCrory’s Five and Ten Cent Store if Hamm’s appeal was pending when the law took effect?

Media for Hamm v. City of Rock Hill

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 12, 1964 in Hamm v. City of Rock Hill

Earl Warren:

Arthur Hamm, Jr., Petitioner, versus City of Rock Hill.

Mr. Greenberg.

Jack Greenberg:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

A petitioner, Arthur Hamm Jr. was convicted of what the record calls “trespass” in the Recorder's Court of the City of Rock Hill, South Carolina and was sentenced to a hundred dollar fine or 30 days in jail on a record which he stipulated would cover him but which in fact was the record of the Reverend Ivory who was a cripple, who was in a wheelchair that Mr. Hamm was pushing the time of the events in question.

Pending appeal, Reverend Ivory died and this case continues only in connection with Mr. Hamm.

Generally speaking, the sit-in demonstration in which he engaged was a typical one quite like the scores of cases that have been brought to this Court and the perhaps 3000 cases that are now pending in state, trial and appellate courts, many awaiting the outcome of cases in this Court.

Of that precise figure under (Inaudible)

Jack Greenberg:

No it's not Your Honor but --


Jack Greenberg:

Well, I consulted counsel in the various states with whom I'm associated and I've compiled figures.

John M. Harlan:

Is that figure (Inaudible) reasonably accurate?

Jack Greenberg:

I think it's reasonably accurate.

I think perhaps if anything there may be somewhat more because I may not know all the lawyers though I think I do.

William O. Douglas:

What category of cases is that?

Jack Greenberg:

This is -- these involve only sit-ins.

This does not involve parades or --

William O. Douglas:

Voting rights?

Jack Greenberg:

-- picketing or voting rights or street demonstrations.

I'm merely speaking about sit-ins that would come within the category of the kind of case we're presenting here today.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Doesn't include, Mr. Greenberg, disorderly person conviction?

Jack Greenberg:

Disorderly conduct?

This would include breach of the peace and trespass for what I would call a sit-in, in other words sitting at a counter, standing and demanding food service of some sort.


William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The use of disorderly conduct statutes?

Jack Greenberg:

This would include the Garner type situation as well, as the Peterson type situation.

Both have been used against it and though the breach of the peace statutes very rapidly fell into disuse after Garner and only essentially trespass types statutes were used, but there are some breach of the peace.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

But the great number of them are where they abuse trespass statutes, is that it?

Jack Greenberg:

The greatest number of trespass cases.

Potter Stewart:

Most all of these cases date back to the --