Case: Banks v. Claiborne Parish School Board

5:65-cv-11304 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Filed Date: Aug. 8, 1965

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 8, 1965, the plaintiffs, African-American school children by and through their parents, brought this class action school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. They sued the defendant Claiborne Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a de jure segregated school system, with Judge Ben Dawkins presiding. Initially, the Board pursued a freedom-of-choice approach to desegregation. The Fifth Circuit at first approved the use of freedom o…

On August 8, 1965, the plaintiffs, African-American school children by and through their parents, brought this class action school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. They sued the defendant Claiborne Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a de jure segregated school system, with Judge Ben Dawkins presiding.

Initially, the Board pursued a freedom-of-choice approach to desegregation. The Fifth Circuit at first approved the use of freedom of choice plans in United States v. Jefferson. 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. Dec. 29, 1966). And even in the wake of Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), in which the Supreme Court expressed frustration at the inadequacy of freedom of choice plans, the Western District continued to accept them as a viable option. See Adams v. Matthews, 401 F.2d 181 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 1968); Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, 293 F.Supp. 84, 87 (W.D. La. Nov. 14, 1968) (including Claiborne Parish). Ultimately, however, in Hall v. St. Helena Parish, a consolidated appeal of cases from across Circuit, the Fifth Circuit ordered the district courts to reverse course and solicit alternative plans from the various defendant school boards. 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. May 28, 1969) (including Claiborne Parish).

The district court (Judge Ben Dawkins) subsequently approved the Board's desegregation plan -- only to have it reversed by the Fifth Circuit, which cited its woeful inadequacy. Banks v. Claiborne, 425 F.2d 1040 (5th Cir. Apr. 15, 1970). The Fifth Circuit ordered the Board to implement the more rigorous plan that had been proposed by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

The back and forth continued in the early 1970s, with the district court working with the parties on various desegregation plans and modifications.

From the 1980s onward, the Board filed its annual progress reports without interference from the district court.

On July 3, 2014, the district court (Judge Maurice Hicks) declared the school district unitary, ending nearly 50 years of court supervision.

Available Opinions

Adams v. Matthews, 403 F.2d 181 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 1968) (consolidated appeals, directing district courts, including in the Claiborne case, to determine whether desegregation plan was adequate)

Conley v. Lake Charles School Bard, 293 F.Supp. 84 (W.D. La. Nov. 14, 1968) (en banc) (approving freedom-of-choice plans in Western District cases as workable and realistic)

Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board, 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. May 28, 1969) (consolidated appeals, including of Claiborne decision, concluding freedom-of-choice plans to be constitutionally inadequate)

Conley v. Lake Charles School Bard, 303 F.Supp. 394 (W.D. La. June 5, 1969) (consolidated case, including Claiborne, ordering the Board to submit a new desegregation plan)

Banks v. Claiborne Parish School Board, 425 F2d 1040 (5th Cir. Apr. 15, 1970)

Banks v. Claiborne Parish School Board, 431 F.2d 951 (5th Cir. Aug. 21, 1970) (per curiam)

Summary Authors

Greg Margolis (2/26/2017)

Related Cases

Hall and United States of America v. St. Helena Parish School Board, Middle District of Louisiana (1952)

Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Western District of Louisiana (1964)

Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana, Western District of Louisiana (1965)

People


Judge(s)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Cabot, Ted (Florida)

Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (Louisiana)

Dyer, David William (Georgia)

Gewin, Walter Pettus (Alabama)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Louisiana)

Hicks, S. Maurice Jr. (Louisiana)

Hornsby, Mark L. (Louisiana)

Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (Louisiana)

Judge(s)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Cabot, Ted (Florida)

Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (Louisiana)

Dyer, David William (Georgia)

Gewin, Walter Pettus (Alabama)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Louisiana)

Hicks, S. Maurice Jr. (Louisiana)

Hornsby, Mark L. (Louisiana)

Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (Louisiana)

Putnam, Richard Johnson (Louisiana)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ford, Margaret (New York)

Walter, Donald Ellsworth (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gremillion, Jack P.F. (Louisiana)

Guice, Jon K (Louisiana)

Hammonds, Robert L. (Louisiana)

Henderson, Hal R. (Louisiana)

Kron, Harry Jr. (Louisiana)

Other Attorney(s)

Clay, Kelly N. (Louisiana)

Giovingo, Wendy E.W. (Louisiana)

Goldschmidt, Iris (District of Columbia)

Hebert, Janice E. (Louisiana)

Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana)

Washington, Donald W. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

June 19, 2006 Docket

Docket

Banks v. Claiborne Parish

June 14, 2014 Docket

[Order]

Adams v. Mathews

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

403 F.2d 181

Aug. 20, 1968 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Conley v. Lake Charles School Board

293 F.Supp. 84

Nov. 14, 1968 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

417 F.2d 801

May 28, 1969 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Conley v. Lake Charles School Board

303 F.Supp. 394

June 5, 1969 Order/Opinion

[Order]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

425 F.2d 1040

April 15, 1970 Order/Opinion

[Order]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

431 F.2d 951

Aug. 21, 1970 Order/Opinion
24

Status Report

US vs. Claiborne Parish School Board

Oct. 23, 2012 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
24-4

Exhibits

US vs. Claiborne Parish School Board

Oct. 23, 2012 Other

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Louisiana

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 8, 1965

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African-American school children by and through their parents; United States as intervenor

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Claiborne Parish , School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1965 - 2014

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Discrimination Prohibition

Monitoring

Preliminary relief granted

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Student assignment

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Education

Racial segregation

School/University Facilities

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run