Items of Interest

A majority of the United States Supreme Court Joined in an opinion that the Oklahoma law proviso, permitting railrods to furnish sleeping, dining, and chair car accommadations only to the white race, was unconstitutional, but they did not so decree, because of imperfections in the petition on which the case reached the courts. The majority, through Justice Hughes, stated that previous decisions in regard to laws for separate coaches for the two races being unconstitutional, were not to be questioned. He then set forth the reasons for the opinion that the lower court was wrong in holding the proviso constitutional. "The reasoning is," said he, "that there may not be enough persons of African descent seeking these accommodations to warrant the outlay in providing them. This argument with respect to the value of the traffic seems to be without merit. It makes the constitutional right depend upon the number of persons who may be discriminated against, whereas the essence of the constitutional right is that it is a personal one. Whether or not special facilities shall be provided, is doubtless conditioned upon there being a reasonable demand therefore; but if facilities are provided, substantial equality of treatment of persons traveling under like conditions cannot be denied. It is the individual who is entitled to the equal protection of the laws, and if he is denied by a common carrier, acting in the matter under the authority of the state, facilities or conveniences in the course of his journey, under substantial privileges have been invaded."

Trees will be planted along the Lincoln highway from ocean to ocean by the women of the states through which it passes, working under the direction of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. Each state's planting is to be individual and done under the conservation chairman of its own woman's clubs. The organization from New York to California is now complete, and in many of the states the trees to be planted have been selected. Every schoolyard along the highway is to be planted. The birds of the country are not to be forgotten, for it is proposed to plant all along the way berry-bearing shrubs, and at intervals to erect bird shelters, thus giving the birds food and shelter across the continent.

Twenty thousand men are engaged in the completion of the new rapid transit system that will connect all five boroughs of Greater New York. The whole work has been divided into eighty-three contract sections, and sixty-four contracts have been let. Sections already placed under contract involve a total expenditure of approximately one hundred and fifty-six million dollars. Last year the disbursements of the city to the contractors on this rapid transit work averaged one million six hundred thousand dollars each month. This year it has been a trifle more than two million dollars each month, and next year it is the belief of the commission that close to three million dollars a month will be expended.

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Life and Enlightenment
December 12, 1914

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