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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Two men sued a North Monroe drugstore for racial discrimination, and a judge said Mrs. Corbin had to stand trial after all

July 1, 2021 Updated Fri., July 1, 2022 at 3:26 p.m.

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Smallwood Goff and James Woodson filed suit against a North Monroe Street drugstore for refusing them service based on race.

The two men said they entered the drugstore and requested soft drinks from the soda fountain. They said the proprietor, Walter E. Savage, told them he would not serve them “because they belonged to the African race.”

Then, they said, they were subject to “ridicule and great humiliation” in front of others at the drugstore.

They each asked for $2,500 in damages.

From the court beat: Prosecutor W.C. Meyer entered a motion to dismiss the first-degree arson charges against Anna Corbin.

But Judge Bruce Blake denied the motion. He said simply, “I think that Mrs. Corbin should be tried.”

Meyer had submitted an affidavit noting Anna Corbin was not present at the time of the fire in her home. She had confessed – and testified under oath – that she had plotted with caretaker Louis Lilge to have him burn the house down and split the insurance money. A jury, however, had just acquitted Lilge on the same charge.

In light of the acquittal, Meyer said it was unlikely a jury would convict Corbin and a trial “would only be entailing an unnecessary expense for the county.”

The judge said the trial would proceed as scheduled in the next week.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

2015: After more than a half-century of hostility, the U.S. and Cuba declared they would reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, marking a historic restoration of diplomatic relations between the Cold War foes.

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