Case: Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Ed.

3:63-cv-00604 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

Filed Date: Jan. 28, 1963

Closed Date: 1970

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

IntroductionThis case began on 1963 when a group of Black students and parents sought to desegregate the twenty public schools of Macon County, Alabama. At that time seventeen of the county’s schools were designated for Black children and three for white children. This was one of many such cases dealing with school desegregation on a school system-by-system basis. Soon after the case was filed, the court ordered the desegregation of Macon County’s schools. However, after interference from Gover…

Introduction

This case began on 1963 when a group of Black students and parents sought to desegregate the twenty public schools of Macon County, Alabama. At that time seventeen of the county’s schools were designated for Black children and three for white children. This was one of many such cases dealing with school desegregation on a school system-by-system basis. Soon after the case was filed, the court ordered the desegregation of Macon County’s schools. However, after interference from Governor George Wallace and other state officials in the county's efforts to comply with the court order, the federal district court responded by issuing an unprecedented statewide order that would serve as the legal basis for the enforcement of desegregation across all Alabama's public school and an example for similar statewide orders across the country.

The Beginning of the Lee Case

The plaintiffs filed a class-action complaint on January 28, 1963 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The named plaintiffs were Black students and parents seeking to represent all Black minors in the district. The complaint alleged that, under color of state law, the Macon County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools had maintained a racially segregated school system, evidenced by the fact that zero white students attended the same school as any Black student. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to force the Board of Education to end the distribution of teachers, staff, resources, opportunities, and students to separate schools on the basis of race. The plaintiffs’ legal team included Fred Gray, a prominent civil rights attorney whose former clients included Rosa Parks and whose past cases included the landmark Supreme Court cases Gomillion v. Lightfoot and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and by Constance Baker Motley, who later became the first Black female federal judge. The case was assigned to District Judge Frank Johnson, sitting in Montgomery, Alabama.

The first stages of litigation were surprisingly non-adversarial. The School Board filed a two-page motion to dismiss on the basis that the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies under the Alabama Pupil Placement Law. However, it did not seem to have been a full-throated maneuver; when the court ordered that the School Board file a brief supporting its position, it failed to do so.

On July 16, 1963, Judge Johnson took the unusual step of allowing the United States to intervene in the proceeding not only as an amicus curiae but as a party. At that time, the Justice Department was not statutorily authorized to bring such suits on their own authority and so was generally not a party to such cases. This was done "in order to maintain and preserve the due administration of justice and the integrity of the judicial processes of the United States."

In the face of clear law and overwhelming evidence, in an August 13, 1963 hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief, the Chairman and Superintendent of the School Board openly recognized their duty to bring an end to the segregated school system that deprived Macon County citizens of their constitutional rights. Based on this candid admission, the court accepted the Board's assurance that they were ready to desegregate of their own accord and ordered only that they do so immediately and produce a plan for the court to review no later than December of that year. 221 F.Supp. 297.

George Wallace Resists Integration

Within only a few weeks of the order, the School Board approved twelve Black students to transfer to the formerly all-white Tuskegee High School. However, this strong start did not hold. Alabama Governor George Wallace, by executive order, first delayed the school's opening and then, when the school was set to open one week later, issued another executive order that "no student shall be permitted to integrate the public schools of the City of Tuskegee, Alabama." For the next three days, state troopers guarded the entrance to the school, blocking the Black students from attending class. During this time, every white student at Tuskegee High School was transferred to one of the other nearby all-white schools, including a private school that had been hastily assembled with state grant money to accept the displaced white students. Finally, on September 12, 1963, the Black students were permitted into the school; they were, by then, the only students.

These twelve students attended Tuskegee High School until January 30, 1964, when the Alabama State Board of Education, led by Governor Wallace, ordered that Tuskegee High School be shut down (for thinly-veiled "economic reasons") and that the twelve students be transferred elsewhere. All twelve students subsequently applied to transfer to one of the two remaining all-white public schools in the county.

On February 3, 1964, plaintiffs filed an amended and supplemental complaint on the basis that the Macon County Board of Education had not yet acted on the twelve students' applications for transfer. Plaintiffs sought either for Tuskegee High School to be re-opened or that the students be accepted for transfer on the same basis as white students had earlier in the year. This amended complaint also added Governor Wallace and other members of the Alabama State Board of Education to the list of defendants and asked for an injunction that they be enjoined from interfering with the desegregation efforts of Macon County and from continuing to operate a segregated education system in the state of Alabama. On the same day that the supplemental complaint was filed, Judge Johnson granted plaintiffs a temporary restraining order, compelling the Macon County Board of Education to accept the transfer applications and provide transportation to the students on the same basis as white students.

The Three Judge District Court

After this temporary restraining order was granted, the United States made its first important move as a party: it filed a brief asking the court to declare unconstitutional the Alabama Pupil Placement Law that facially enabled administrators to place students based on merit or special circumstances but, in reality, was used as a mechanism for operationalizing segregation. Because, at the time, federal law required convening of a three-judge district court when the constitutionality of a state law was challenged, the Fifth Circuit appointed two additional judges, Judge Richard Rives of the Fifth Circuit and Judge Harlan Hobart Grooms of the Northern District of Alabama, to preside over the case alongside Judge Johnson.

Following the February temporary restraining order, Macon County accepted the Black students' transfer applications. Six of the students were transferred to the all-white Macon County High School. They attended until April 17, 1964, when arsonists, in the middle of the night, burned down the part of the school used by the Black students. The Macon County Board of Education responded by informing the students that, for their safety, they would be transferred back to an all-Black school. On April 24, 1964, plaintiffs moved for additional relief to prevent this transfer. On April 28, their relief was granted in the form of an injunction enjoining Macon County from transferring the students or disrupting their school transportation. Citing the Eighth Circuit's opinion in Aaron v. Cooper, 257 F.2d 33, the court wrote that:

"The time has not yet come in these United States when an order of a Federal Court must be whittled away, watered down, or shamefully withdrawn in the face of violent and unlawful acts of individual citizens thereto."
The United States took this win as an opportunity to make its next significant move as a party, moving that the court expand its temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction declaring unconstitutional both the Alabama Pupil Placement Law and the grant-in-aid statute that authorized the governor to disburse government funds to segregated private schools, used to shelter white students from desegregating public schools. Most boldly, it asked the court to order the desegregation of all Alabama primary and secondary schools on the basis that Governor Wallace was clearly failing in his duty to do so.

The three-judge panel's ruling, issued on July 13, 1964, was both sweeping and measured. It expanded its temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction and, finding that they had "willfully" interfered with the administration of court-ordered desegregation measures, and enjoined Governor Wallace and the Alabama Board of Education from interfering in not only Macon County's desegregation but in all Alabamian desegregation efforts pursuant to federal court orders. It is at this point that the scope of the case, at least in terms of judgments, widened beyond the county of its origin, a step made possible because of the United States' aggressive litigation and its presence as a party with legal interest in the broader administration of justice.

However, the court stopped short of many of the specific measures the United States sought. It did not order desegregation of all Alabama public schools, and it did not declare unconstitutional the statutes that gave school officials authority to structure segregated schools and disburse grant money, though it did hold that their being used to implement segregation was unlawful. As a final measure, it rejected the desegregation plan Macon County had submitted pursuant to the original August 1963 order, ordering the Board of Education to produce a new plan by the following month. 231 F.Supp. 743.

On August 7, 1964, the court approved Macon County's new desegregation plan, and while the case went quiet, Governor Wallace did not. He continued to speak out against desegregation, promoting a bill that frustrated local efforts to follow federal guidelines for desegregation and goading local officials toward "minimum compliance" with court orders. On September 22, 1966, Gray, the attorney for the plaintiff class, responded aggressively, moving that the court order Governor Wallace to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court for his actions or, in the alternative, to desegregate all Alabama public schools by court order.

NAACP v. Wallace

Adding another layer of complexity, the NAACP had in the meantime filed its own separate lawsuit against Governor Wallace on September 12, 1966. That case—Alabama NAACP State Conference of Branches v. Wallace, Civ. A. No. 2457-N—challenged the constitutionality of the 1966 law that frustrated local efforts to follow federal guidelines. As in Lee, because this case challenged the constitutionality of a state law, it also required a three-judge panel; that panel was made up of Judge Rives, Judge Johnson, and Judge Virgil Pittman of the Middle District of Alabama. Because of its common legal questions, that case was then consolidated with Lee. Because both cases had three judges, two of which overlapped in both cases, Lee would now be overseen by a total of four judges at the district level.

A trial for both cases was held from November 30 to December 2, 1964. When Austin Meadows, the former Executive Officer of the Alabama State Board of Education, was asked if he had ever encouraged the elimination of racial discrimination in Alabama schools, he replied, "No," and then later, "I have never encouraged anybody to initiate desegregation plans."

On March 22, 1967, the court unanimously ordered defendants, including the new Governor Lurleen Wallace (former Governor George Wallace's wife, who ran after her husband reached his term limit), to implement a 'freedom of choice' desegregation plan, whereby students could freely elect to attend a different school than that which was initially assigned to them, on a statewide basis. However, the court recognized that this would not necessarily be a successful method for integration and that it was not the only method available, writing:

"In adopting this plan, therefore, we stress again that it may be only an interim plan. Its success will be periodically judged in the light of the criteria herein set out. For this and all other purposes, jurisdiction will be retained."
Adding to this order, the court opted to withdraw the deference it had shown three years earlier, finally declaring unconstitutional the placement and grant statutes that had been used to segregate Alabama schools. The court order delved into detail on matters of transportation, faculty, and facilities and required officials to make equal the resources that had formerly been made available to Black students and report regularly to the court on their progress. Finally, the order expanded the scope of the case to apply its orders to include trade school, junior colleges, and state colleges. 267 F.Supp. 458.

In a subsequent ruling on the NAACP case, the court released a much shorter order invalidating the 1966 state law that frustrated local efforts to follow federal desegregation guidelines and finding those federal guidelines to be constitutional. The court issued no injunction in conjunction with its opinion, acknowledging that the underlying matters had already been addressed in the Lee judgment. 269 F. Supp. 346.

Governor Lurleen Wallace filed for an emergency stay of the order, first in the district court and then in the Supreme Court, but was denied in both venues. She then filed a direct appeal in the Supreme Court, which at that time was permitted when a district court invalidated a state law as unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's opinion in a one-sentence summary opinion. 389 U.S. 215 (1967).

Continued Efforts Towards Desegregation

From March until September of 1967, the court, alongside the Justice Department and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW, now HHS), reviewed the compliance plans of the 99 Alabama school systems to which the March 1967 order applied. This was not an entirely frictionless process. On July 14, 1967, the court enjoined HEW from withholding any federal funds on the basis of non-compliance, finding that only the court could determine compliance with a court order.

Because the March 22 order was only applicable to the named state officials, including the governor, enforcement in some cases required adding individual school systems as defendants to compel the adoption of desegregation plans. Over the course of these months, at least ten school systems were at one point or another added as parties, a list to which there would continue to be additions and subtractions as enforcement required.

Meanwhile, state officials continued attempts to circumvent the court's orders. On September 1, 1967, Governor Wallace signed into law two new bills: one of which created a panel in charge of disbursing grant-in-aid money (presumably since the court struck down its first grant-in-aid statute); another required school districts to give parents a choice as to the race of their teacher, threatening total deprivation of state funds for all school systems that do not. On September 5, 1967, the (now again) three-judge panel granted a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the parental choice law, and on November 3, 1967, declared both new laws in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Now deep in the process of desegregating school populations, attention shifted toward "secondary" issues of desegregation that had not formerly been reached in the state. Also represented by Fred Gray, who already represented the original plaintiff class, the Alabama State Teachers Association, an association of some 10,000 Black teachers in Alabama, successfully intervened to represent its interest in making sure that, as schools were consolidated and reshuffled, Black teachers did not bear the brunt of the reorganization.

Likewise, the United States sought to address its own secondary issue of choice: school athletics. On February 20, 1968, the United States moved to have the Superintendent of (Alabama) Schools require that school districts integrate their athletics programs and play schedules, allowing no school to play another school that is not integrated. One week later, the United States filed a parallel motion pertaining to state and junior colleges. On April 1, 1968, the court granted the United States' motion and ordered state officials to merge the two formerly racially separate statewide athletic associations into one and to require that, if school systems do join an athletic association, they be required to join that one.

Unsatisfied with the speed of progress being made and bolstered by the Supreme Court's decision in Green v. County School Board of New Kent Co., Va, holding that a school district's free-choice plan (like the one ordered in Alabama) was insufficient under Brown, the United States moved to have the free-choice plan in Alabama likewise declared insufficient to meet the state's constitutional obligation. In an August 28, 1968 decree, the court declined to take this hardline approach. Instead, it read Green more narrowly to mean that a plan is insufficient only once it produces insufficient results. As a result, it did not declare unconstitutional the free-choice system, which had theretofore been received more-or-less peaceably by Alabama citizens, but instead set very specific race-based hiring requirements for each school in the state, on the belief that an integrated faculty would eventually lead to a legitimately integrated student body. With the exception of its role in approving and denying individual school systems' desegregation plans, this was the first time the court took a truly prescriptive stance in determining the specific actions school systems needed to take to be within compliance. 292 F. Supp. 363.

Splitting up the Lee Litigation

In 1969, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States. Hoping that the change in administration would be reflected in a less robust federal defense of desegregation, at least 15 school systems filed petitions seeking to amend the August 28, 1968 decree. Most of these motions were denied, and the record suggests that none of the decrees were altered substantially.

Instead, the new administration took its first major action in Lee on April 30, 1969, when it filed a motion asking the court to require the Alabama State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Education to formulate and execute a plan for the desegregation of its state-run trade schools and junior colleges. The court ordered the defendants to submit a desegregation plan and, during a hearing on May 27, informed the defendants that their plan was insufficient, directing them to submit new plans. Defendants did not submit new plans by September 17, so the court ordered HEW to create plans for them. In March and July 1970, HEW and the Alabama State Board of Education, respectively, submitted desegregation plans, and on August 14, 1970, the district court enjoined the State Board from spending on buildings or equipment for the junior colleges until it had desegregated and equalized its junior colleges originally designated for Black students. Most notably, the district court required that the junior colleges establish "attendance zones" for each college to promote greater racial balance. 317 F.Supp. 103.

This proved to be the bridge too far. On July 15, 1971, the Fifth Circuit temporarily stayed enforcement of the attendance zones, writing:

"Well established principles of public school desegregation have not been applied generally to institutions of higher learning in the same manner in which they have been applied to public schools below the college level. This court feels some reluctance to require school attendance zones for college level institutions." 453 F.2d 524.
On October 16, 1972, it fully vacated and remanded that part of the order. 468 F.2d 956.

At this stage, the court's orders became increasingly granular, and the record contains little detail as to the particulars of each district's desegregation plans or why or how the court approved, amended, or rejected them. According to an account by DOJ attorney Brian Landsberg, HEW and the DOJ worked closely together to study and analyze the plans and progress of Alabama schools, which by 1970 were among the most successfully integrated in the country.

Acknowledging the changing nature of the case, on March 31, 1970, the three-judge panel began the process of disassembling the massive Lee case into its individual components, transferring to the Southern and Northern Districts of Alabama those aspects of the case concerning counties within their geographic jurisdictions. Three months later, the three-judge panel directed its clerks to assign new docket numbers and individual judges to oversee the systems within the Middle District, officially dissolving the triumvirate.

The Clearinghouse has divided the remaining Lee litigation into three separate entries for each of Alabama’s judicial districts.

To continue reading about the cases that continued in the Northern District, click here.

To continue reading about the cases that continued in the Middle District, click here.

To continue reading about the cases that continued in the Southern District, click here.

Summary Authors

Sean Drohan (8/19/2021)

Jonah Hudson-Erdman (11/14/2021)

Related Cases

Lee and United States of America v. Macon County School Board (N.D. Ala. Case), Northern District of Alabama (1970)

Lee and United States of America v. Macon County School Board (S.D. Ala. cases), Southern District of Alabama (1970)

Lee and United States of America v. Macon County School Board (M.D. Ala. cases), Middle District of Alabama (1970)

People


Judge(s)

Acker, William Marsh Jr. (Alabama)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Anderson, Robert Lanier III (Georgia)

Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Georgia)

Black, Susan Harrell (Florida)

Boyd, Delores R. (Alabama)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Carnes, Edward Earl (Alabama)

Clark, Charles (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Acker, William Marsh Jr. (Alabama)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Anderson, Robert Lanier III (Georgia)

Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Georgia)

Black, Susan Harrell (Florida)

Boyd, Delores R. (Alabama)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Carnes, Edward Earl (Alabama)

Clark, Charles (Mississippi)

Coleman, James Plemon (Louisiana)

Cox, Emmett Ripley (Alabama)

Dubina, Joel Fredrick (Alabama)

Dyer, David William (Georgia)

Edmondson, James Larry (Georgia)

Fay, Peter Thorp (Florida)

Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Louisiana)

Gewin, Walter Pettus (Alabama)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Louisiana)

Grooms, Harlan Hobart (Alabama)

Hatchett, Joseph Woodrow (Florida)

Henderson, Albert John (Georgia)

Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

Johnson, Frank Minis Jr. (Alabama)

Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Georgia)

Morgan, Lewis Render (Georgia)

Pittman, Thomas Virgil (Alabama)

Pointer, Sam Clyde Jr. (Alabama)

Rives, Richard Taylor (Alabama)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Simpson, John Milton Bryan (Florida)

Thompson, Myron Herbert (Alabama)

Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Florida)

Varner, Robert Edward (Alabama)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adams, Oscar W. III (Alabama)

Amaker, Norman C. (New York)

Aronson, Henry (New York)

Becton, Charles (New York)

Blacksher, James U. (Alabama)

Butts, Cassandra Q. (District of Columbia)

Byrd, Janell M. (District of Columbia)

Chachkin, Norman J. (New York)

Coody, Charles S. (Alabama)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Gregory, David D. (District of Columbia)

Hoyle, John C. (District of Columbia)

Jones, Charles H. Jr. (New York)

Lee, Bill Lann (New York)

McCree, Wade Hampton Jr. (Michigan)

Motley, Constance Baker (New York)

Nabrit, James M. III (New York)

Newton, Demetrius C. (Alabama)

Oleson, Ronald L. (District of Columbia)

Parker, Dennis D. (New York)

Pitt, Charles Redding (Alabama)

Ralston, Charles Stephen (New York)

Reynolds, William Bradford (District of Columbia)

Ritsch, Joe (District of Columbia)

Seay, Solomon S. Jr. (Alabama)

Shelton, Dorothy (District of Columbia)

Spritzer, Ralph S. (District of Columbia)

Wade, Dennis (New York)

Watkins, Donald Varnardo (Alabama)

White-Spunner, Charles S. Jr. (Alabama)

Williams, Charles E. III (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baker, Sam Rice (Alabama)

Beatty, Eugene A. (Alabama)

Biggers, Deborah Hill (Alabama)

Blackburn, J. B. (Alabama)

Bowman, John S. (Alabama)

Bradley, Robert P. (Alabama)

Brantley, Oliver (Alabama)

Burnham, H. R. (Alabama)

Casey, John S. (Alabama)

Coxwell, John M. (Alabama)

Crook, Charles M. (Alabama)

Culverhouse, Renee D. (Alabama)

Foshee, Jeff (Alabama)

Gallion, MacDonald (Alabama)

Garrett, James (Alabama)

George, Edward (Alabama)

Gibson, J. Russell III (Alabama)

Goodwyn, O.J. (Alabama)

Haltom, E. B. Jr. (Alabama)

Huddleston, H. Jack (Alabama)

Hughston, Harold V. Jr. (Alabama)

Kendall, Robert Jr. (District of Columbia)

Kimbrough, William A. Jr. (Alabama)

Lloyd, Hugh A. (Alabama)

Manley, Richard S. (Alabama)

Melton, Oakley W. Jr. (Alabama)

Merrill, Walter J. (Alabama)

Nix, J. B. Jr. (Alabama)

Owens, Windell C. (Alabama)

Phelps, Sam M. (Alabama)

Phillips, John R. (Alabama)

Potts, Robert L. (Alabama)

Robison, Vaughn Hill (Alabama)

Rushton, Marion (Alabama)

Smith, Maury D. (Alabama)

Stone, Norborne C. (Alabama)

Thagard, Thomas W. Jr. (Alabama)

Other Attorney(s)

Acton, E. Ray (Alabama)

Allen, Frank D. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Barnett, Walter W. (District of Columbia)

Barrett, St. John (District of Columbia)

Beck, George (Alabama)

Brooks, J. R. (Alabama)

Canary, Leura Garrett (Alabama)

Christison, Perry T. (District of Columbia)

Claiborne, Louis F. (District of Columbia)

Clemon, U. W. (Alabama)

Connealy, Ross L. (District of Columbia)

Crenshaw, Craig M. (District of Columbia)

Days, Drew S. III (District of Columbia)

DeMent, Ira (Alabama)

Doar, John (District of Columbia)

Donaldson, Frank W. (Alabama)

Douglas, Nathaniel (District of Columbia)

Dunbaugh, Frank M. III (District of Columbia)

Finkelstein, Joel M. (District of Columbia)

Fiss, Owen M. (District of Columbia)

Frankland, Kenneth P. (District of Columbia)

Garrish, Theodore J. (District of Columbia)

Gaston, A. Lattimore (District of Columbia)

Glassman, Jeremiah (District of Columbia)

Gorman, Walter (District of Columbia)

Hancock, Paul F. (District of Columbia)

Hardeman, Ben (Alabama)

Hedland, John (District of Columbia)

Keeling, Thomas M. (District of Columbia)

Klimesz, Marie E. (District of Columbia)

Landsberg, Brian K. (District of Columbia)

Larson, Thomas M. (District of Columbia)

Leonard, Jerris (District of Columbia)

Loper, Merle W. (District of Columbia)

Marer, Alan G. (District of Columbia)

Massey, W. Troy (Alabama)

Miller, Pauline A. (District of Columbia)

Moore, John R. (District of Columbia)

Muhammad, Lateefah (Alabama)

Nesson, Charles R. (District of Columbia)

Norman, David L. (District of Columbia)

Ortenberg, Reuben (District of Columbia)

Owen, Richard (New York)

Pierson, Dennis (Alabama)

Pollak, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)

Pottinger, J. Stanley (District of Columbia)

Pressman, Robert (District of Columbia)

Privett, Caryl P (Alabama)

Quaintance, Charles W. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Ravas, Theodore E. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Rosenberg, John M. (District of Columbia)

Ross, Alexander C. (District of Columbia)

Samford, Thomas D. III (Alabama)

Sather, Arvid A. (District of Columbia)

Scott, John (District of Columbia)

Sherrer, Wayman (Alabama)

Sterlacci, Michael A. (District of Columbia)

Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)

Vance, Robert Smith (Alabama)

Vines, Kenneth E. (Alabama)

Wise, Michael B. (District of Columbia)

Wright, Randell (District of Columbia)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Billingsley, Orzell Jr. (Alabama)

Carter, Robert Lee (New York)

Flowers, Richmond M. (Alabama)

Gray, Fred David Sr. (Alabama)

Hardin, James Taylor (Alabama)

Maddox, A. Hugh (Alabama)

Madison, Gordon (Alabama)

Ray, Martin (Alabama)

Reeves, Frank (District of Columbia)

Satterfield, John C. (Mississippi)

Zarr, Melvyn (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

67-00604

Docket [pre-PACER]

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

Oct. 29, 2004

Oct. 29, 2004

Docket

3:70-cv-00846

Docket - Prior Proceedings

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

June 20, 2005

June 20, 2005

Docket

3:70-cv-00846

Docket (PACER)

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

May 22, 2006

May 22, 2006

Docket

3:63-cv-00604

Complaint

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

Jan. 28, 1963

Jan. 28, 1963

Complaint

0:70-cv-00604

Motion to Strike and Dismiss

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

Feb. 11, 1963

Feb. 11, 1963

Pleading / Motion / Brief

0:70-cv-00604

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

July 9, 1963

July 9, 1963

Pleading / Motion / Brief

0:70-cv-00604

Order Appointing and Designating the US as a Party

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

July 16, 1963

July 16, 1963

Order/Opinion

0:70-cv-00604

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

Aug. 22, 1963

Aug. 22, 1963

Order/Opinion

0:70-cv-00604

Order

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

221 F.Supp. 297

Aug. 22, 1963

Aug. 22, 1963

Order/Opinion

3:63-cv-00604

Tentative Findings and Conclusions

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

Aug. 27, 1963

Aug. 27, 1963

Transcript

Resources

Title Description External URL Date / External URL

Why Alabama School Desegregation Succeeded (And Failed)

Wendy Parker

Alabama is not an obvious location for successful school desegregation. The state is not generally known for being at the forefront of creating racial equality, particularly when the suit started in … Jan. 1, 2017

Jan. 1, 2017

https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/...

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education: The Possibilities of Federal Enforcement of Equal Educational Opportunity

Brian K. Landsberg

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education shows the evolution of the role of the three branches in enforcing the equal protection clause in public education in Alabama. All three branches initially acqu… Jan. 1, 2016

Jan. 1, 2016

https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/...

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

C. J. Schexnayder

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education is a pivotal civil rights case that sought the integration of the all-white Tuskegee High School in Macon County. The initial 1963 lawsuit was later expanded to… Dec. 11, 2013

Dec. 11, 2013

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/...

Enforcing Desegregation: A Case Study of Federal District Court Power and Social Change in Macon County Alabama

Brian K. Landsberg

This case study of Lee v. Macon County Board of Education demonstrates that a federal district court in Alabama, enforcing Brown v. Board of Education, brought about significant social change despite… July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014

http://ssrn.com/...

Segregation Now

Nikole Hannah-Jones

In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened. <br /> <br />In 2000, another federal judge released Tuscaloosa C… April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

http://www.propublica.org/...

Henry Hampton Collection: Interview of Hon. Robert Lee Carter

Robert Lee Carter, Henry Hampton Collection

This interview was done for Henry Hampton's Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965). The Hon. Robert L. Carter began working as legal counsel to the NAACP in 1944. During the 19… Nov. 5, 1985

Nov. 5, 1985

http://digital.wustl.edu/...

Docket

Last updated May 28, 2022, 3:07 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

For entries prior to June 24, 1970, see docket sheet of 604-E (NO PDF document attached to this notice). (djy, ) (Entered: 06/23/2005)

June 24, 1970

June 24, 1970

ORDER transferring the case against the Macon County school system, amoung others, from the jurisdiction of the three-judge court in Civil Action No. 604-E to the jurisdiction of a single judge or judges in the Middle District of Alabama (NO PDF document attached to this notice). (djy, ) (Entered: 06/23/2005)

June 24, 1970

June 24, 1970

1

Copy of hard copy docket sheet reflecting all prior proceedings in case. (djy, ) (Entered: 06/23/2005)

June 24, 1970

June 24, 1970

74

PETITION/MOTION for expedited approval to close two schools and for the opening of a new elementary school by Macon County Board of Education. (djy, ) Modified on 6/23/2005 to correct docket entry number to 74 , all previous docket entries reflected on hard copy docket sheet 1 (qc/djy, ). (Entered: 06/23/2005)

June 17, 2005

June 17, 2005

Judge Delores R. Boyd added as referral judge. (ajr, ) (Entered: 06/24/2005)

June 23, 2005

June 23, 2005

75

ORDER that no later than 8/12/05 counsel for USA shall file a proposal as to how parties and the court should proceed toward a declaration of unitary status and for the eventual termination of this litigation; Status Conference set for 8/19/2005 08:15 AM by telephone before Honorable Myron H. Thompson; furnished to SC, YG, HC. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 6/27/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 06/27/2005)

June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005

76

ORDER for other parties TO SHOW CAUSE as to why 74 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief, filed by Macon County Board of Education, should not be granted. Show Cause Response due by 7/15/2005. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 6/27/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 06/27/2005)

June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005

78

MOTION to Intervene by Artrice Austin, C. C., Jr, Gwendolyn S. Cobb, Ludie Hall, A. J., Keep South Macon Alive, J. M., T. M., Gloria Miles, Priscilla G. Moss, M. S., Dorothy Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Plaintiffs-Intervenors' Exhibit List# 2 Exhibit 1- Affidavit of Priscilla Moss# 3 Exhibit 2-Affidavit of Gloria Miles# 4 Exhibit 3-Affidavit of Altrice Austin# 5 Exhibit 4-Affidavit of Dorothy A. Smith# 6 Exhibit 5-Affidavit of Gwendolyn Smith Cobb# 7 Exhibit 6-Affidavit of Ludie Hall# 8 Exhibit AA-Complaint# 9 Exhibit A-Affidavit of Norma McGowan Jackson# 10 Exhibit B-Affidavit of Theodore Samuel# 11 Exhibit C - Affidavit of Barbara Blackmon# 12 Exhibit D - Affidavit of Mary Cooper Johnson# 13 Exhibit E - Affidavit of Jannie Wilson O'Neal# 14 Exhibit Doretha Germany Smith# 15 Exhibit G - Affadavit of Pamela Sparks Smith# 16 Exhibit H - Affidavit of Alfonza Menefee# 17 Exhibit I - Affidavit of Gennie Tyson# 18 Exhibit J - Macon County BOE letter# 19 Exhibit K - attorney letter# 20 Exhibit Petition# 21 Exhibit Petition continued# 22 Exhibit L - attorney letter# 23 Exhibit M - Annual Report - 2003# 24 Exhibit M- Annual Report - 2003 continued# 25 Exhibit N - attorney letter# 26 Exhibit O - attorney letter# 27 Exhibit P - attachment# 28 Exhibit Q - Plaintiffs-Intervenors' Alternative Plan)(ajr, ) (Entered: 07/14/2005)

July 12, 2005

July 12, 2005

79

NOTICE of Appearance by Lateefah Muhammad on behalf of Artrice Austin, C. C., Jr, Gwendolyn S. Cobb, Ludie Hall, A. J., Keep South Macon Alive, J. M., T. M., Gloria Miles, Priscilla G. Moss, M. S., Dorothy Smith (ajr, ) (Entered: 07/14/2005)

July 12, 2005

July 12, 2005

77

NOTICE of Appearance by Fred (Jr.) David Gray on behalf of Anthony T. Lee (Gray, Fred (Jr.)) (Entered: 07/14/2005)

July 14, 2005

July 14, 2005

80

NOTICE of Appearance by Fred (Jr.) David Gray on behalf of National Education Association, Inc. (Gray, Fred (Jr.)) (Entered: 07/15/2005)

July 15, 2005

July 15, 2005

81

Response to order to show cause as to why Defendant Macon County Board of Edcuation's Petition for Expedited Approval to Close Schools Should Not Be Granted filed by Anthony T. Lee. (Gray, Fred (Jr.) (Entered: 07/15/2005)

July 15, 2005

July 15, 2005

82

ORDER re 78 MOTION to Intervene filed by Dorothy Smith, Gloria Miles, J. M., T. M., A. J., M. S., C. C. Jr., Priscilla G. Moss, Artrice Austin, Gwendolyn S. Cobb, Ludie Hall, Keep South Macon Alive, Brief due by 8/1/2005 Motion Submission Deadline set for 8/1/2005. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 7/21/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 07/21/2005)

July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005

83

ORDER Setting status conference on 78 MOTION to Intervene, 74 MOTION for expedited approval to close two schools and for the opening of a new elementary school:Status Conference set for 8/2/2005 03:00 PM by telephone before Honorable Myron H. Thompson; furnished to SC, YG, HC. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 7/21/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 07/21/2005)

July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005

84

NOTICE of Appearance by Pauline Ann Miller on behalf of United States of America (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/01/2005)

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

85

First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 76 Order to Show Cause by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/01/2005)

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

86

RESPONSE in Support re 74 MOTION for expedited approval to close two schools and for the opening of a new elementary school filed by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/01/2005)

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

87

RESPONSE in Opposition re 78 MOTION to Intervene filed by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/01/2005)

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

88

RESPONSE to Motion re 78 MOTION to Intervene filed by Anthony T. Lee. (Gray, Fred (Jr.)) (Entered: 08/01/2005)

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

89

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/02/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

90

ORDER granting 85 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response out of time. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/2/05. (djy, ) (Entered: 08/02/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

91

Minute Entry for STATUS CONFERENCE held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/2/2005. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (snc) (Entered: 08/02/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

92

BRIEF in Support re 78 MOTION to Intervene filed by Artrice Austin, C. C., Jr, Gwendolyn S. Cobb, Ludie Hall, A. J., Keep South Macon Alive, J. M., T. M., Gloria Miles, Priscilla G. Moss, M. S., Dorothy Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(ajr, ) (Entered: 08/03/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

93

Opposition to 78 MOTION to Intervene filed by Macon County Board of Education. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Willie C. Thomas, Superintendent, Macon County School District# 2 Exhibit A# 3 Exhibit B# 4 Exhibit C# 5 Exhibit D# 6 Exhibit E# 7 Exhibit F# 8 Exhibit G# 9 Exhibit H# 10 Exhibit I# 11 Exhibit J# 12 Exhibit K# 13 Exhibit L# 14 Exhibit M# 15 Exhibit N)(ajr, ) (Entered: 08/03/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

94

MEMORANDUM Brief re 93 Response in Opposition to Motion, filed by Macon County Board of Education. (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/03/2005)

Aug. 2, 2005

Aug. 2, 2005

95

ORDER granting 89 Motion for Nathanial Douglas to Withdraw as Attorney. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/5/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/05/2005)

Aug. 5, 2005

Aug. 5, 2005

96

ORDER denying 78 Motion to Intervene . Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/5/05. (Attachments: # 1 civil appeal checklist) (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/05/2005)

Aug. 5, 2005

Aug. 5, 2005

*** Attorney Nathaniel Douglas terminated per order this date. (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/05/2005)

Aug. 5, 2005

Aug. 5, 2005

*** Attorney Lateefah Muhammad terminated pursuant to 96 Order entered on 8/5/05 denying Motion to Intervene. (sl, ) (Entered: 11/22/2005)

Aug. 5, 2005

Aug. 5, 2005

97

ORDER granting 74 Motion for approval with respect to the closing of Washington Public Elementary School;. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/8/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/08/2005)

Aug. 8, 2005

Aug. 8, 2005

98

RESPONSE to Motion re 74 MOTION for expedited approval to close two schools and for the opening of a new elementary school filed by Anthony T. Lee. (Gray, Fred (Jr.)) (Entered: 08/09/2005)

Aug. 9, 2005

Aug. 9, 2005

99

Response to Order re 75 Order by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 08/12/2005)

Aug. 12, 2005

Aug. 12, 2005

100

Minute Entry for STATUS CONFERENCE held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/19/2005. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (snc) (Entered: 08/19/2005)

Aug. 19, 2005

Aug. 19, 2005

102

ORDER Status Conference set for 10/24/2005 08:30 AM in by telephone before Honorable Myron H. Thompson; that three days prior to the status conference, parties shall file a joint proposal as to how the parties and court should proceed towards a declaration of unitary status and the eventual termination of this litigation; furnished to SC, YG, HC. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/22/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 08/22/2005)

Aug. 22, 2005

Aug. 22, 2005

103

STATUS REPORT by Macon County Board of Education. (ajr, ) (Entered: 10/24/2005)

Oct. 21, 2005

Oct. 21, 2005

104

Minute Entry for STATUS CONFERENCE held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 10/24/2005. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (snc) (Entered: 10/24/2005)

Oct. 24, 2005

Oct. 24, 2005

105

ORDER Setting fairness Hearing for 12/19/2005 09:00 AM in Courtroom 2E before Honorable Myron H. Thompson. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 10/24/05. (furn: yg hc sc)(vma, ) (Entered: 10/24/2005)

Oct. 24, 2005

Oct. 24, 2005

106

MOTION for Approval of Notice by Macon County Board of Education. (attachment) (ajr, ) (Entered: 10/31/2005)

Oct. 28, 2005

Oct. 28, 2005

107

MOTION for Declaration of Unitary Status by Macon County Board of Education. (ajr, ) (Entered: 10/31/2005)

Oct. 28, 2005

Oct. 28, 2005

108

Amended MOTION for Approval of Notice re 106 MOTION for Approval of Notice by Macon County Board of Education. (attachments) (ajr, ) (Entered: 11/02/2005)

Nov. 1, 2005

Nov. 1, 2005

109

ORDER Setting Fairness Hearing on Motion 107 Motion for Declaration of Unitary Status; granting 106 MOTION for Approval of Notice, Fairness Hearing set for 12/19/2005 09:00 AM in Courtroom 2E before Honorable Myron H. Thompson; furnished to SC, YG, HC. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 11/2/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 11/02/2005)

Nov. 2, 2005

Nov. 2, 2005

110

ORDER granting 108 amended Motion for approval of notice . Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 11/3/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 11/03/2005)

Nov. 3, 2005

Nov. 3, 2005

111

Objection to Declaration of Unitary Status and Possible Termination of Macon County School Desegreation Case - Zeola Combs . (ajr, ) (Entered: 11/22/2005)

Nov. 21, 2005

Nov. 21, 2005

112

Objection to Declaration of Unitary Status and Possible Termination of Macon County School Desegreation Case - Brad Shope, Jeanette Hyde, John Reynolds, Stanley Anderson, Horace Anderson, Erma Anderson. (ajr, ) (Entered: 11/23/2005)

Nov. 22, 2005

Nov. 22, 2005

113

Objection to Declaration of Unitary Status and Possible Termination of Macon County School Desegreation Case - Robert Anderson, Rochelle Langford (ajr, ) (Entered: 12/01/2005)

Dec. 1, 2005

Dec. 1, 2005

115

Minute Entry for FAIRNESS HEARING held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 12/19/2005. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (Attachments: # 1 Witness List, # 2 Defendant's Exhibit List) (snc) (Entered: 12/19/2005)

Dec. 19, 2005

Dec. 19, 2005

116

ORDER Joint Status Report due by 2/17/2006. Status Conference set for 2/23/2006 08:30 AM in by telephone before Honorable Myron H. Thompson; furnished to SC, YG, HC. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 12/19/05. (ajr, ) (Entered: 12/19/2005)

Dec. 19, 2005

Dec. 19, 2005

117

SEE NOTICE OF CORRECTION: Minute Entry for Telephone STATUS CONFERENCE on STATE-WIDE FACILITIES ISSUE held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 1/17/2006. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (snc) Modified on 1/18/2006 (snc): Entry does not apply to Macon County BOE per Judge Thompson (Entered: 01/17/2006)

Jan. 17, 2006

Jan. 17, 2006

NOTICE OF DOCKETING CORRECTION re 117 Minute Entry for Telephone STATUS CONFERENCE on STATE-WIDE FACILITIES ISSUE held before Judge Myron H. Thompson on 1/17/2006. (Court Reporter Mitchell Reisner.) (snc) Entry Modified on 1/18/2006 (snc): CONFERENCE DOES NOT APPLY TO MACON COUNTY PER JUDGE THOMPSON(snc) (Entered: 01/18/2006)

Jan. 18, 2006

Jan. 18, 2006

118

Joint MOTION for Order Approving Consent Decree by Alabama State Board of Education. (Attachments: # 1)(Colvin, Whit) (Entered: 02/01/2006)

Feb. 1, 2006

Feb. 1, 2006

119

ORDER denying 118 Joint Motion for Approval of state-wide facilities consent decree. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 2/17/2006. (ag, ) (Entered: 02/17/2006)

Feb. 17, 2006

Feb. 17, 2006

120

STATUS REPORT by United States of America. (Miller, Pauline) (Entered: 02/21/2006)

Feb. 21, 2006

Feb. 21, 2006

121

ORDER that the status conference currently set for 2/23/06, is cancelled. Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 2/22/2006. (ag, ) (Entered: 02/22/2006)

Feb. 22, 2006

Feb. 22, 2006

122

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by Anthony T. Lee. (Chachkin, Norman) (Entered: 04/06/2006)

April 6, 2006

April 6, 2006

123

ORDER granting 122 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. . Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 4/6/2006. (ag, ) (Entered: 04/06/2006)

April 6, 2006

April 6, 2006

124

OPINION . Signed by Judge Myron H. Thompson on 5/22/2006. (cb, ) (Entered: 05/22/2006)

May 22, 2006

May 22, 2006

125

JUDGMENT (1) granting 107 MOTION for Declaration of Unitary Status and termination of this litigation (2) Macon County School System is declared to be unitary (3) All outstanding orders and injunctions are dissolved as to defendants Macon County Board of Education and its members and superintendent (4) Defendants Macon County Board of Education and its members and superintendent are dismissed. The State defendants as spelled out in order are not dismissed and the orders dealing with the state-wide 'facilities' and 'special education' issues are not dissolved. The clerk of the court is directed to enter this

May 22, 2006

May 22, 2006

Case Details

State / Territory: Alabama

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Special Collection(s):

Civil Rights Division Archival Collection

Selma and Early Civil Rights Enforcement

Featured Historical Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 28, 1963

Closing Date: 1970

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African American students and parents in Macon County, Alabama, on behalf of others similarly situated; later, the United States of America intervened in this case in support of the plaintiffs

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Macon County Board of Education (Macon), School District

Alabama State Board of Education, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Document/information produced

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Declaratory Judgment

Attorneys fees

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Preliminary relief granted

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Required disclosure

Student assignment

Issues

General:

Buildings

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Education

Racial segregation

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Transportation

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run