kept in other towns having more than five hundred inhabitants. The language here employed does not recognize any discrimination of color or race. Thus in every town, whether there be one or more schools, they are all to be ‘schools for the instruction of children’ generally—not children of any particular class, or color, or race, but children,— meaning the children of the town where the schools are. The 5th and 6th sections provide for the establishment, in certain cases, of a school, in which additional studies are to be pursued, ‘which shall be kept for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the town.’ Here the language not only does not recognize any discrimination among the children, but seems directly to exclude it. In conformity with these sections is the peculiar phraseology of the memorable law of the Colonies in 1647, founding Public Schools, ‘to the end that learning be not buried in the graves of our forefathers.’ This law obliged towns having fifty families ‘forthwith to appoint one’ within their limits ‘to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to write and read.’ (Ancient Charters, 186.) III. The Courts of Massachusetts have never recognized any discrimination, founded on color or race, in the administration of the Public Schools; but have recognized the equal rights of all the inhabitants. There are a few decisions only of our Court bearing on this subject, but they all breathe one spirit. The sentiment of Equality animates them. In the case of Commonwealth v. Davis (6 Mass. R. 146), while declaring the equal rights of all the inhabitants, both in the grammar and district schools, the Court said: ‘The schools required by the statute are to be maintained for the benefit of the whole town, as it is the wise policy of the law to give all the inhabitants equal privileges for the education of their children in the Public Schools. Nor is it in the power of the majority to deprive the minority of this privilege. * * * * Every inhabitant of the town has a right to participate in the benefits of both descriptions of schools, and it is not competent for a town to establish a grammar school for the benefit of one part of the town to the exclusion of the other, although the money raised for the support of schools may be in other respects fairly apportioned.’ In the case of Withington v. Eveleth (7 Pick. 106), the Court said, they ‘were all satisfied that the power given to towns to determine and define the limits of school districts, can be executed only by a geographical division of the town for that purpose.’ A limitation of the district, which was merely personal, was held invalid. This same principle
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