The Plunge was a public pool that was situated in what is today Orange Grove Park. It was enjoyed by many South Pasadena residents particularly during the Summer months. The Plunge was also a de facto segregated pool. This section summarizes a court case brought to the Second District Court of Appeals Division 3 in California decided in 1957. The full case decision can be read here.
On August 2, 1955, a white resident of Los Angeles brought his two daughters and their friend, a young black girl by the name of Susan McClain, to The Plunge. McClain was denied entry to the public swimming facility due to the pool’s regulation limiting entry to residents of South Pasadena only. Employees of The Plunge explained that they knew McClain was not a South Pasadena resident because, “at that time there apparently were no Negroes residing within the city.”
The Plunge employees admitted that they were instructed to exclude non residents from the facility, however, they attested that they were never instructed to discriminate based on race. McClain brought a case against South Pasadena charging racial discrimination and seeking $1,000 in compensation. It was initially ruled that there was no instance of racial discrimination violating the 14th amendment. McClain appealed that decision and the appellate court affirmed the ruling of the lower court.