Brown’s Aftermath.

For the next several years, the Court de-clined to interfere with the administration of its mandate, ruling only in those years on the efforts of Arkansas to block desegregation of schools in Little Rock.1677 In the main, these years were taken up with enactment and administration of “pupil placement laws” by which officials assigned each student individually to a school on the basis of formally nondiscriminatory criteria, and which required the exhaustion of state administrative remedies before each pupil seeking reassignment could bring individual litigation.1678 The lower courts eventually began voiding these laws for discriminatory application, permitting class actions,1679 and the Supreme Court voided the exhaustion of state remedies requirement.1680 In the early 1960s, various state practices—school closings,1681 minority transfer plans,1682 zoning,1683 and the like—were ruled impermissible, and the Court indicated that the time was running out for full implementation of the Brown mandate.1684

About this time, “freedom of choice” plans were promulgated under which each child in the school district could choose each year which school he wished to attend, and, subject to space limitations, he could attend that school. These were first approved by the lower courts as acceptable means to implement desegregation, subject to the reservation that they be fairly administered.1685 Enactment of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and HEW enforcement in a manner as to require effective implementation of affirmative actions to desegregate1686 led to a change of attitude in the lower courts and the Supreme Court. In Green v. School Board of New Kent County,1687 the Court posited the principle that the only desegregation plan permissible is one which actually results in the abolition of the dual school, and charged school officials with an affirmative obligation to achieve it. School boards must present to the district courts “a plan that promises realistically to work and promises realistically to work now,” in such a manner as “to convert promptly to a system without a ‘white’ school and a ‘Negro’ school, but just schools.”1688 Furthermore, as the Court and lower courts had by then made clear, school desegregation encompassed not only the abolition of dual attendance systems for students, but also the merging into one system of faculty,1689 staff, and services, so that no school could be marked as either a “black” or a “white” school.1690

Footnotes

1677
Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958). [Back to text]
1678
E.g., Covington v. Edwards, 264 F.2d 780 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 361 U.S. 840 (1959); Holt v. Raleigh City Bd. of Educ., 265 F.2d 95 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 361 U.S. 818 (1959); Dove v. Parham, 271 F.2d 132 (8th Cir. 1959). [Back to text]
1679
E.g., McCoy v. Greensboro City Bd. of Educ., 283 F.2d 667 (4th Cir. 1960); Green v. School Board of Roanoke, 304 F.2d 118 (4th Cir. 1962); Gibson v. Board of Pub. Instruction of Dade County, 272 F.2d 763 (5th Cir. 1959); Northcross v. Board of Educ. of Memphis, 302 F.2d 818 (6th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 370 U.S. 944 (1962). [Back to text]
1680
McNeese v. Cahokia Bd. of Educ., 373 U.S. 668 (1963). [Back to text]
1681
Griffin v. Prince Edward County School Bd., 377 U.S. 218 (1964) (holding that “under the circumstances” the closing by a county of its schools while all the other schools in the State were open denied equal protection, the circumstances apparently being the state permission and authority for the closing and the existence of state and county tuition grant/tax credit programs making an official connection with the “private” schools operating in the county and holding that a federal court is empowered to direct the appropriate officials to raise and expend money to operate schools). On school closing legislation in another State, see Bush v. Orleans Parish School Bd., 187 F. Supp. 42, 188 F. Supp. 916 (E.D. La. 1960), aff ’d, 365 U.S. 569 (1961); Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd., 197 F. Supp. 649 (E.D. La. 1961), aff ’d, 368 U.S. 515 (1962). [Back to text]
1682
Goss v. Knoxville Bd. of Educ., 373 U.S. 683 (1963). Such plans permitted as of right a student assigned to a school in which students of his race were a minority to transfer to a school where the student majority was of his race. [Back to text]
1683
Northcross v. Board of Educ. of Memphis, 333 F.2d 661 (6th Cir. 1964). [Back to text]
1684
The first comment appeared in dictum in a nonschool case, Watson v. City of Memphis, 373 U.S. 526, 530 (1963), and was implied in Goss v. Board of Educ. of City of Knoxville, 373 U.S. 683, 689 (1963). In Bradley v. School Bd. of City of Richmond, 382 U.S. 103, 105 (1965), the Court announced that “[d]elays in desegregating school systems are no longer tolerable.” A grade-a-year plan was implicitly disapproved in Calhoun v. Latimer, 377 U.S. 263 (1964), vacating and remanding 321 F.2d 302 (5th Cir. 1963). See Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School Dist., 355 F.2d 865 (5th Cir. 1966). [Back to text]
1685
E.g., Bradley v. School Bd. of City of Richmond, 345 F.2d 310 (4th Cir.), rev’d on other grounds, 382 U.S. 103 (1965); Bowman v. School Bd. of Charles City County, 382 F.2d 326 (4th Cir. 1967). [Back to text]
1686
Pub. L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 252, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000det seq. (prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted programs). HEW guidelines were designed to afford guidance to state and local officials in interpretations of the law and were accepted as authoritative by the courts and used. Davis v. Board of School Comm’rs of Mobile County, 364 F.2d 896 (5th Cir. 1966); Kemp v. Beasley, 352 F.2d 14 (8th Cir. 1965). [Back to text]
1687
391 U.S. 430 (1968); Raney v. Gould Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 443 (1968). These cases had been preceded by a circuit-wide promulgation of similar standards in United States v. Jefferson County Bd. of Educ., 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. 1966), modified and aff’d, 380 F.2d 385 (5th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied, 389 U.S. 840 (1967). [Back to text]
1688
Green, 391 U.S. at 439, 442 (1968). “Brown II was a call for the dismantling of well-entrenched dual systems tempered by an awareness that complex and multifaceted problems would arise which would require time and flexibility for a successful resolution. School boards such as the respondent then operating state-compelled dual systems were nevertheless clearly charged with the affirmative duty to take whatever steps might be necessary to convert to a unitary system in which racial discrimination would be eliminated root and branch.” Id. at 437–38. The case laid to rest the dictum of Briggs v. Elliott, 132 F. Supp. 776, 777 (E.D.S.C. 1955), that the Constitution “does not require integration” but “merely forbids discrimination.” Green and Raney v. Board of Educ. of Gould School Dist., 391 U.S. 443 (1968), found “freedom of choice” plans inadequate, and Monroe v. Board of Comm’rs of City of Jackson, 391 U.S. 450 (1968), found a “free transfer” plan inadequate. [Back to text]
1689
Bradley v. School Bd. of City of Richmond, 382 U.S. 103 (1965) (faculty desegregation is integral part of any pupil desegregation plan); United States v. Montgomery County Bd. of Educ., 395 U.S. 225 (1969) (upholding district court order requiring assignment of faculty and staff on a ratio based on racial population of district). [Back to text]
1690
United States v. Jefferson County Bd. of Educ., 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. 1966), mod. and aff’d, 380 F.2d 385 (5th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied, 389 U.S. 840 (1967). [Back to text]