Brown v. Board of Education

Federal Records Pertaining to
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)

Part III: Records Correlating to the Brown Decision, 1955-1977



Records of the Judicial Branch

Records of District Courts of the United States, RG 21

National Archives-Southeast Region (Atlanta)

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Mississippi, 1823-1969
Records of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division (Biloxi)

Case File: CV-2643 (1963) - United States of America v. Biloxi Municipal Separate School District et al. (First Claim-Biloxi)
This case was brought by the United States seeking to enjoin the defendants from segregating or discriminating against, on the basis of their race or color, any dependents of military personnel or civilian employees of the plaintiff in the operation of public schools, together with such additional relief as may be appropriate. The United States Government maintained Keesler Air Force Base as a part of its national defense establishment and a Veterans Administration hospital, both in Harrison County, Mississippi, for the treatment of veterans of its Armed Services. The court ordered the dismissal of the case. The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the lower court's judgment.

Case File: CV-2678 (1963) - United States of America v. Gulfport Municipal Separate School District et al. (Second Claim-Gulfport)
This case was brought by the United States of America seeking to enjoin the defendants from separating upon the basis of race or color any dependents of military personnel or civilian employees of the plaintiff in the operation of the public schools of the Gulfport Municipal Separate School District in Harrison County, Mississippi. The United States Government maintained Keesler Air Force Base, a large military installation, and a Veterans Administration hospital in Harrison County, Mississippi. The court ordered the dismissal of the case. The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the lower court's judgment.

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Alabama, 1813-1976
Records of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division (Huntsville)

Case File: CV-63-23 (1963) - United States of America v. Madison County Board of Education et al. (First Claim-Madison County) (Second Claim-City of Huntsville Board of Education)
This case was brought by the United States of America seeking to enjoin the defendants from separating or discriminating against, among, or between, upon the basis of their race or color, any dependents of the members or employees of the Armed Services of the plaintiff in the operation of public schools under their jurisdiction, together with such additional relief as may be appropriate. The plaintiff maintained Redstone Arsenal (including NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center) in Madison County, AL, as a part of its national defense establishment. The court ordered the dismissal of the case. The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the lower court's judgment.

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Alabama, 1813-1976 Records of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Southern Division (Mobile)

Case File: CV-2964 (1963) - United States of America v. Mobile County Board of School Commissioners et al.
This case was brought by the United States of America seeking to enjoin defendants from segregating or discriminating against, on the basis of their race or color, any dependents of military personnel or civilian employees of the plaintiff, in the operation of public schools of Mobile County, AL. The plaintiff maintained Brookley Air Force Base as a part of its national defense establishment; a United States Coast Guard station; the Dauphin Island Air Force Station; Bates Field; a court and customs house; and an office of the Corps of Engineers in Mobile County, AL. The case was eventually dismissed.

National Archives-Northeast Region (New York City)

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in New York, 1685-1976
Records of the United States District Court for the Southern District

Case File: CV-4098 (1960) - Leslie Taylor v. Board of Education of New Rochelle
This case was the first northern school desegregation case to go to the Supreme Court since the Brown (1954) decision. It is filled with conflicting interpretations of the Brown case. The judge was Irving R. Kaufman. In the appeal to the Second Circuit, Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley were attorneys for the plaintiffs.

National Archives-Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Illinois, 1819-1982
Records of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division at Chicago

Case File: CV-65 C 942 (1965) - Board of Education of the City of Chicago v. Chicago Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Chicago Branch, Congress of Racial Equality; Chicago Friends of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; Coordinating Council of Community Organizations; ACT; Albert A. Raby; Lawrence Landry; et al.

This case involved an injunction filed on June 8, 1965, by the Chicago Board of Education against numerous civil rights groups in Chicago to prohibit a boycott by African American school students protesting segregated, overcrowded schools, the use of trailers as classrooms and other inferior facilities, and the policies of the white school superintendent. The day after the Cook County circuit court granted an injunction against Chicago's civil rights organizations, civil rights activists filed a petition for removal to bring the controversy before the United States District Court, away from the politically charged county court system. Nevertheless, more than 100,000 African American students violated the injunction by staying home June 10-11, 1965, to protest the renewal of a four-year contract for Dr. Benjamin Willis, the white school superintendent. The school boycott marked the beginning of a sustained protest movement, the Chicago Freedom Movement of 1965-66, which culminated in the arrival of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Chicago to lead the struggle for equal opportunities in education and housing.

National Archives-Southwest Region (Fort Worth)
Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Louisiana, 1806-1987
Records of the United States District Court for the Eastern District, New Orleans Division

Case File: CV-3630 (1956) - Oliver Bush, Jr., et al. v. New Orleans Parish School Board et al. (364 US 500) (1960)
In this case, the United States District Court enjoined the New Orleans Parish School Board "from requiring and permitting segregation of the races in any school under their supervision, from and after such time as may be necessary to make arrangements for admission of children to such schools on a racially non-discriminatory basis with all deliberate speed as required by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, et al. (349 US 294)."

Case File: CV-16173 (1965) - Wilfred Banks et al. v. St James Parish School Board et al.
In this case, a preliminary and permanent injunction was issued enjoining the defendants from continuing to operate a compulsory biracial school system on the basis of its violation of due process under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and Sections 41m and 43 of Title VIII, United States Code.

Records of U.S. District and Other Courts in Arkansas, 1838-1986
Records for the United States District Court for the Eastern District, Little Rock Division

Case File: CV-3113 (1957) - John Aaron et al. v. William Cooper et al. (156 Fed. Supp. 220)
This case involved a request for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to enjoin defendants from making distinction on the basis of race or color. On August 27, 1956, the United States District Court approved the Little Rock School Board's gradual integration plan. The decision was affirmed in April 1957. The United States District Court for the Eastern District ordered immediate integration September 3, 1957, after the defendants petitioned for instruction regarding a proposed delay.

Records of U.S. District and Other Courts in Texas, 1846-1989
Records for the United States District Court for the Northern District, Ft. Worth Division

Case File: CV-3152 (1955) - Nathaniel Jackson et al. v. O. C. Rawdon et al.
This case involved a request for judgment declaring plaintiffs' rights under the Constitution and declaring Article 2900 of Vernon's Civil Statutes of the State of Texas unconstitutional. In August 1956, on remand from C.A. 5, after prior dismissal of suit, the United States District Court for the Northern District enjoined school officials from refusing the plaintiffs admission to the high school and retained jurisdiction of the case to supervise the execution of the decree.

National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region (Center City Philadelphia)
Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Delaware, 1790-1961
Records of the United States District Court of Delaware

Case File: CV-1816 (1956) - Coalition et al. v. State Board et al.
This May 1956 case involved the parents of Brenda Evans and 18 other African American children who filed a suit in the Delaware district court against the members of the State Board of Education of Delaware, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Board of Trustees of the Clayton School District in Kent County, Delaware, claiming that the defendants' policy denying admission of the plaintiffs (based on their color) to all-white schools in the district violated their 14th-Amendment rights. The case had been appealed several times when in 1974 a three-judge panel of the United States District Court of Delaware ruled that the provision of the school reorganization act that exempted Wilmington from being reorganized and run on a racially non-discriminatory basis was unconstitutional and ordered the Wilmington School District to submit a new plan that was racially non-discriminatory. The defendants appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, which, in 1975 and 1978, upheld the district court's ruling.

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Virginia, 1793-1965
Records of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Newport News Division

Case File: CV-489 (1956) - Jerome Atkins et al. v. School Board of the City of Newport News, VA, et al.
This case concerned the parents of Jerome Atkins and 53 other African American children who filed a suit in the United States District Court in April 1956 claiming that the school board of Newport News, VA, was denying the plaintiffs their civil rights under the 14th Amendment by continuing to enforce racial segregation in the city schools. The plaintiffs petitioned the court to restrain the school board from barring admission to any student on the grounds of race. The lead attorney for the plaintiffs was future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Trial proceedings were held in November 1956, and in February 1957, the district court ruled that racial segregation in the Newport News school system must end and that the schools must be opened on an integrated basis by the start of the 1957-58 school year. The defendants appealed the ruling to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In July 1957, the circuit court upheld the district court's decision ending racial segregation in the Newport News school system.

Records of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Lynchburg Division

Case File: CV-534 (1961) - Jackson et al. v. School Board of Lynchburg
In this September 1961 case, the parents of Cecelia Jackson, Linda Woodruff, Owen Cardwell, and Brenda Hughes filed a suit against the school board of Lynchburg and the Pupil Placement Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia in United States District Court. The plaintiffs petitioned the court to have their African American children admitted to the all-white E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, alleging that the school board was not complying with the Brown (1954 and 1955) Supreme Court rulings that called for school desegregation. For the next 10 years the case continued to be adjudicated on the question of how and when the Lynchburg School system would be desegregated. In 1971 a final plan was put into effect that created a racially balanced school population in Lynchburg.

Records of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division

Case File: CV-4266 (1965) - Charles C. Green et al. v. School Board of New Kent County, VA
This case concerned the parents of Charles C. Green and 35 other African American plaintiffs, who filed a suit in the United States District Court on March 15, 1965, alleging that the county school board of New Kent County, VA, had failed to properly desegregate the student population and faculty of the New Kent County school system. The plaintiffs petitioned the court to order the New Kent County school board to comply with the Brown (1954 and 1955) rulings and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case had been appealed several times when in August 1968 the district court ordered that the New Kent County school board adopt a plan for school integration that would achieve a minimum of 25 percent minority representation in each school. The Green case is important because it set a judicial precedent used by other Federal district courts in the 1970s in mandating busing and other desegregation actions in order to achieve a truly integrated system of public education in America.

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Pennsylvania, 1787-1990
Records of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Case File: CV-39404 (1965) - Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al. v. Revelle W. Brown et al.
Stephen Girard, a noted Philadelphia philanthropist, died in 1831, leaving behind a will that provided for the establishment of a college for white male orphans aged 6-18 who resided in Philadelphia. The college was opened in 1848 and was administered by the city of Philadelphia from 1848 to 1959. In December 1965, seven African American male orphans were denied admission to Girard College, whereupon the parents of the said children petitioned the United States District Court for an injunction against the trustees of Girard College, arguing that the racially restrictive clauses violated the plaintiffs' 14th-Amendment rights and the terms of the Pennsylvania Public Accomodations Act, which forbade segregation of public facilities. In July 1967, Judge Lord of the district court reaffirmed his judgment in favor of the plaintiffs but also stayed his injunction against the Girard College trustees until the Third Circuit Court of Appeals could affirm or deny the district court's decision. The stay of the plaintiffs' injunction remained in effect until July 16, 1969, when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision and granted the plaintiffs an injunction against the trustees of Girard College.

Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in Virginia, 1793-1965
Records of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Lynchburg Division

Case File: CV-66-C-10-L (1966) - Sweet Briar Institute v. Button et al.
This case involved the Sweet Briar Institute, a women's college founded in 1901 in Amherst, VA, when the college matriculated its first African American student in 1966. The attorney general of Virginia and the commonwealth attorney for Amherst County filed an injunction against Sweet Briar Institute, claiming that the institute was in violation of the will of Indiana Fletcher Williams, which, probated in 1901, bequeathed the land for the establishment of Sweet Briar Institute on the condition that only white females be admitted as students. This case was eventually appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which, in May 1967 overturned the decision of the three-judge panel and ordered that the district court's restraining order against Virginia and Amherst County be enforced, which was done by the district court in July 1967.

National Archives-Pacific Region (San Francisco)
Records of the U.S. District and Other Courts in California, 1851-1977
Records of the United States District Court of San Francisco

Case File: CV-70-627 (1974) - Kinney Kinmon Lau et al. v. Alan H. Nichols, President et al.
This was a landmark case in the bilingual education field; a class action suit brought on behalf of Chinese American students in the United States District Court-San Francisco, which ruled in favor of the defendant, San Francisco Unified School District. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, affirmed the ruling of the trial court that lack of bilingual instruction for the plaintiffs was not discriminatory. However, plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court, which in 1974 established that the failure of the San Francisco school system to provide English-language instruction to approximately 1,800 students of Chinese ancestry who do not speak English, or to provide them with other adequate instructional procedures, denies them a meaningful opportunity to participate in the public educational program and thus violates 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based "on the ground of race, color, or national origin," in "any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," and the implementing regulations of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Pp. 565-569. The Supreme Court declared that the placement of non-English-speaking students in mainstream classrooms was a violation of their civil rights. The circuit court's decision (affirming that of the trial court) was reversed and remanded.

Case File: CV-70-1331 (1977) - School Desegregation Case This was a major school desegregation action filed for the San Francisco Unified School District, resulting in a court-decreed citywide desegregation plan. The "Report to Federal District Court Regarding Elementary School Desegregation" from the San Francisco Unified School District, dated June 24, 1977, includes brief narrative sections and statistical breakdowns of the demographic composition of elementary schools in the district. The report was required for the school district to "Comply with Section IV paragraph (J) of the 1971 Federal Court Order to desegregate the elementary schools of the . . . District," which was directed "to file with the Court within twenty days after the end of each school year, until the Court may otherwise order, a report showing the reasonable detail all actions taken to comply with this Judgement and Decree."

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Records of the Supreme Court of the United States, RG 267

National Archives Building, Washington, DC
Appellate Case Files, 1792-2000

Case File: 1 October Term 1955 - Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, et al. II, (349 U.S. 294)
Following its decision in Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, et al. I (1 October Term 1954), which declared racial discrimination in public education unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States convened to issue directives that would help implement its newly announced Constitutional principle. Given the embedded nature of racial discrimination in public schools and the diverse circumstances, under which it had been practiced, the Supreme Court requested further argument on the issue of relief. The Court held that the problems identified in Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, et al. I (1 October Term 1954) required varied local solutions. Chief Justice Earl Warren conferred much responsibility on local school authorities and the courts, which originally heard school segregation cases. They were to implement the principles that the Court embraced in its first Brown decision. Warren urged localities to act on the new principles promptly and to move toward full compliance with them "with all deliberate speed." Brown et al v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, et al II (349 U.S. 294) included the following cases:
1 October Term 1954, Oliver Brown et al., Appellants v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, et al.;
2 October Term 1954, Harry Briggs, Jr., et al., Appellants v. R. W. Elliott et al.;
3 October Term 1954, Dorothy E. Davis et al., Appellants v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, et al.;
4 October Term 1954, Spottswood Thomas Bolling et al. v. C. Melvin Sharpe et al., Spottswood Thomas Bolling et al., Petitioner v. C. Melvin Sharpe et al. (347 US 497);
5 October Term 1954, Francis B. Gebhart et al., Petitioners v. Ethel Louise Belton et al., on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Delaware.

Case File: 1 October Term 1958, Special August Term -
John Aaron et al. v. William Cooper et al. (358 U.S. 1)
The Governor and the legislature of Arkansas openly resisted the Supreme Court's decision in Brown (1954). They refused to obey court orders designed to implement school desegregation. Local officials delayed plans to do away with segregated public facilities. In a signed, unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court held that Arkansas officials were bound by Federal court orders that rested on the Supreme Court's decision in Brown (1954). The Court noted that its interpretation of the 14th Amendment in Brown was the supreme law of the land and that it had a "binding effect" on the states. The Supreme Court reaffirmed its commitment to desegregation and reiterated that legislatures are not at liberty to annul judgments of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Records of the United States Court of Appeals, RG 276

National Archives-Pacific Region (San Francisco)
Records of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Case File: 71-1877 - David Johnson et al. v. San Francisco Unified School District
Case File: 71-1878 - David Johnson et al. v. San Francisco Unified School District, with Robert G. Nelson, et al. -Appellants
Case File: 71-2105 - David Johnson et al. v. San Francisco Unified School District et al. and Natl. Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, with Guey Heung Lee et al. Plaintiffs in Intervention-Appellants Case File: 71-2163 - David Johnson et al. v. San Francisco Unified School District
Case File: 71-2189 - David Johnson et al. v. San Francisco Unified School District, with Robert G. Nelson et al., Intervenors-Appellants.

These cases date from 1971 and represent appeal actions in a school desegregation case originally brought on behalf of African American elementary school children in the San Francisco Unified School District. All briefs in the cases are filed in one place. At least one of the Ninth Circuit appeals evidently went on to the Supreme Court. In at least one instance (Guey Heung Lee v. Johnson, 404 U.S. 1215 1971), Americans of Chinese a ncestry sought a stay of a Federal district court's order reassigning pupils of Chinese ancestry to elementary public schools in San Francisco. The order was made in a school desegregation case, the San Francisco Unified School District having submitted a comprehensive plan for desegregation that the United States District Court approved. The Chinese applicants' application for a stay was denied.

Case File: 26, 155 (1974) - Kinney Kinmon Lau et al. v. Alan H. Nichols, President et al. This was a landmark case in the bilingual education field: a class action suit brought on behalf of Chinese American students in the United States District Court-San Francisco, which ruled in favor of the defendant, San Francisco Unified School District. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, affirmed the ruling of the trial court that lack of bilingual instruction for the plaintiffs was not discriminatory. However, plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court, which in 1974 established that, The failure of the San Francisco school system to provide English-language instruction to approximately 1,800 students of Chinese ancestry who do not speak English, or to provide them with other adequate instructional procedures, denies them a meaningful opportunity to participate in the public educational program and thus violates 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based "on the ground of race, color, or national origin," in "any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," and the implementing regulations of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Pp. 565-569. The Supreme Court declared that the placement of non-English-speaking students in mainstream classrooms was a violation of their civil rights. The circuit court's decision (affirming that of the trial court) was reversed and remanded.

National Archives-Northeast Region (New York City)
Records of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Case File: 26901 (1961) - Leslie Taylor et al v. Board of Education of New Rochelle
In this case, appellant school officials challenged the power of the court to hear the appeal of an order finding they violated appellee Negro children's constitutional rights and ordered the submission of a desegregation plan. The court found it lacked jurisdiction until the lower court finished its work by directing appellant to take or refrain from action.

Case File: 427 (1961) - Leslie Taylor et al v. Board of Education of New Rochelle
In this case, the parents brought a class action suit, seeking to enjoin defendants from requiring that children in the city school district register in a racially segregated elementary school. The district court found unlawful racial segregation, directed defendants to submit a plan to correct the violation, and subsequently rejected the defendants' proposed plan.

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