Racial discrimination in Franklin v. Evans
July 20th, 1923
Mr. Franklin is a watchmaker from Kitchener. Mr. Evans runs a restaurant
in London. On July 20th, 1923 the two would meet in Mr. Evans' restaurant.
It is a meeting neither would ever forget.
Upon entering the restaurant, Mr. Franklin, a "negro", was
accosted by Mr. Evans who informed him that "coloured" people
were not welcome.
Taken aback, he left, spoke to the police, and returned to make sure
he had heard right. He had. Mr. Evans makes that point very clear.
Humiliated and angry, Mr. Franklin sued Mr. Evans for damages. He argued
that every Canadian citizen has a right to be served regardless of skin
Can you guess how things turned out?
The judge, while sympathetic, doesn't side with Mr. Franklin. There were
no laws to say that what Mr. Evans did was illegal. A restaurateur can
discriminate on any basis - even race. Mr. Franklin's action is dismissed.
It is interesting to note that although the losing party customarily
pays the winner's legal costs, the judge doesn't order Mr. Franklin to
Because of the "unnecessarily harsh, humiliating and offensive attitude
of the defendant and his wife toward the plaintiff."
Apparently, the judge thought that the law itself wasn't enough to provide
"The defendant confirmed the previous refusal - in
fact he repeated it and he certainly was not as humane or considerate
as he well might have been. If I said that he was unpardonably offensive,
the expression may have been too strong, but not much too strong."
From Franklin v. Evans
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Franklin v. Evans