Case: Monroe & United States of America v. Jackson City & Madison County School Board of Education

1:72-cv-01327 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee

Filed Date: Jan. 8, 1963

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On 02/22/1972, plaintiffs brought this school desegregation suits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children and their parents, sued both the defendants Jackson City school system and Monroe County school district to enjoin the operation of the segregated school systems. A note about the litigation and the two school systems: A lawsuit against both districts proceeded as one lawsuit until 1972 when the court severed t…

On 02/22/1972, plaintiffs brought this school desegregation suits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children and their parents, sued both the defendants Jackson City school system and Monroe County school district to enjoin the operation of the segregated school systems.

A note about the litigation and the two school systems: A lawsuit against both districts proceeded as one lawsuit until 1972 when the court severed the defendants, concluding that the actions against Jackson City and Madison County schools were, for all intents and purposes, distinct lawsuits. The case against Jackson City was designated as docket number 1327 and Madison County was set as 2209. Adding a further complication, however, in 1989, the two school systems were consolidated; the lawsuits, too, were then combined.

What became the two separate lawsuits and the underlying desegregation efforts followed substantially similar paths from their joint initiation.

After Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the Boards had done next to nothing integrate the schools -- the sole accommodation being that they agreed to entertain voluntary transfer requests. By the 1961-62 school year, there were no white children in black schools and only seven black students in white schools.

On June 19, 1963, the district court (Judge Bailey Brown) granted the plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment and ordered the defendants to devise and present to the court plans to desegregate both the Jackson City and Madison County schools. From this point through 1977, the plaintiffs, in both cases, engaged in a protracted battle with the Board to develop and implement a desegregation plan that would produce tangible results in a timely fashion.

In the Jackson City case, the Board presented a plan that included a free transfer provision and racially gerrymandered elementary school zones. The case reached the Supreme Court in 1968, with the Court holding that the Board was not meeting its affirmative duty to desegregate. Specifically, the geographic school zones and the free transfer program were racially discriminatory and thus unconstitutional. 391 U.S. 450 (1968). In the wake of that decision and the Court's decision in Green v. County School Board, the plaintiffs petitioned for further relief. Despite an order from the district court (and the Supreme Court's clear mandate), the Board failed to adequately revise the school attendance zone and refused to eliminate the free transfer program. The Board eventually enlisted the help of the University of Tennessee to devise a desegregation plan that was eventually accepted.

Simultaneously, in the Madison County case, the district court, in May of 1964, approved the Board's plan for gradual desegregation with a free transfer provision. The plaintiffs petitioned for further relief, asking for faculty and extracurricular desegregation. After the Supreme Court declared the free transfer program unconstitutional in the Jackson City case, the district court in Madison County required the Board to submit a new plan and in doing so to seek assistance from the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The parties continued to battle through the late 1970s on the adequacy of the Board's desegregation efforts.

In 1989, the district court approved the consolidation and unification of the school systems and in 1990 it issued a consent decree that laid out a comprehensive plan to achieve integration. Ambitious in scope, the plan included magnet schools, aggressive promotion of transfers and other initiatives to encourage integration in all facets of the school system. The plan actually produced some success; fewer schools in the district were racially identifiable. In 2000, the parties agreed to modifications of the plan, including a long-range strategy to identify steps that would lead to a declaration of unitary status. However, demographic changes undermined some of the district's desegregation success, as white families left the district at higher rates. Nevertheless, in 2010, the parties made a joint motion to declare full unitary status and dismissed the case. The district court had previously granted unitary status in some areas -- but not in student assignment. Notwithstanding the district's changing racial makeup -- and here the court noted the absence of any evidence that the growing imbalance was due to racial discrimination -- the district court, on September 24, 2010, declared the consolidated Jackson-Madison County school system fully unitary, thus releasing it from the court's oversight.

Available Opinions

City of Jackson

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 221 F.Supp. 968 (W.D. Tenn. Aug. 12, 1963)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 229 F.Supp. 580 (W.D. Tenn. May 21, 1964)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 244 F.Supp. 353 (W.D. Tenn. July 30, 1965)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 380 F.2d 955 (6th Cir. July 21, 1967)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, 391 U.S. 450 (May 27, 1968)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 427 F.2d 1005 (6th Cir. June 19, 1970)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of City of Jackson, 453 F.2d 259 (6th Cir. Jan. 7, 1972)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 505 F.2d 105 (6th Cir. Oct. 22, 1974)

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, 581 F.2d 581 (6th Cir. Aug. 9, 1978) (attorneys’ fees)

Madison County

Monroe v County Board of Education of Madison County, 269 F.Supp. 758 (W.D. Tenn. Aug. 2, 1965)

Monroe v County Board of Education of Madison County, 439 F.2d 804 (6th Cir. Mar. 15, 1971)

Monroe v. County Board of Education of Madison County, 505 F.2d 109 (6th Cir. Oct. 22, 1974)

Malesus Area Concerned Parents v. Monroe, 557 F.2d 1225 (6th Cir. July 13, 1977)

Monroe v. County Board of Education of Madison County, 583 F.2d 263 (6th Cir. Aug. 22, 1978) (attorneys’ fees)

Joint

Monroe v. Jackson-Madison County School System Board of Education, 2007 WL 1485267 (W.D. Tenn. May 18, 2007)

Monroe v. Jackson-Madison County School System Board of Education, 2010 WL 3732015 (W.D. Tenn. Sept. 24, 2010)

Summary Authors

Greg Margolis (3/8/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown, Bailey (Ohio)

Bryant, Edward G. (Tennessee)

Edwards, George Clifton Jr. (Michigan)

Gibbons, Julia Smith (Tennessee)

Mays, Samuel H. Jr. (Tennessee)

McRae, Robert Malcolm Jr. (Tennessee)

O'Sullivan, Clifford Patrick (Michigan)

Peck, John Weld II (Ohio)

Phillips, Harry (Tennessee)

Judge(s)

Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown, Bailey (Ohio)

Bryant, Edward G. (Tennessee)

Edwards, George Clifton Jr. (Michigan)

Gibbons, Julia Smith (Tennessee)

Mays, Samuel H. Jr. (Tennessee)

McRae, Robert Malcolm Jr. (Tennessee)

O'Sullivan, Clifford Patrick (Michigan)

Peck, John Weld II (Ohio)

Phillips, Harry (Tennessee)

Todd, James Dale (Tennessee)

Wellford, Harry Walker (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Amer, Kevin R. (District of Columbia)

Chachkin, Norman J. (New York)

Dann, Mark (District of Columbia)

Dinkins, Richard Hovey (Tennessee)

Fields, Richard (Tennessee)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Jones, Elaine R. (New York)

Kaminski, Gerald F. (District of Columbia)

Kohrman, Daniel B. (District of Columbia)

Looby, Z. Alexander (Tennessee)

Mansukhani, Sunil H (District of Columbia)

Maurer, Michael S. (District of Columbia)

Motley, Constance Baker (New York)

Nabrit, James M. III (New York)

Norton, Helen L. (District of Columbia)

Rogers, Laura Kym Davis (District of Columbia)

Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Conder, Milton Dale (Tennessee)

Kizer, Jerry D. Jr. (Tennessee)

Other Attorney(s)

Dunbaugh, Frank M. III (District of Columbia)

Ross, Alexander C. (District of Columbia)

Ruzicho, Andrew [Jack] Jack (District of Columbia)

Teel, Jerome C. Jr. (Tennessee)

Weaver, Macon L. (Alabama)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Monroe v. Jackson-Madison County Board of Education

Jan. 26, 2011 Docket
431

Complaint

Monroe v. Jackson-Madison County School System

Jan. 8, 1963 Complaint
450

Order

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee

June 19, 1963 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee

221 F.Supp. 968

Aug. 12, 1963 Order/Opinion
467

Order on Plaintiffs' Motion Under Rule 60

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee

Oct. 9, 1963 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee

229 F.Supp. 580

May 21, 1964 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners, City of Jackson, Tennesse

244 F.Supp. 353

July 30, 1965 Order/Opinion

[Order]

Monroe v. Board of Education, Madison County, Tennessee

269 F.Supp. 758

Aug. 2, 1965 Order/Opinion
494

Order

Monroe v. Board of Education, Madison County, Tennessee

Aug. 9, 1965 Order/Opinion

Order

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee

Aug. 11, 1965 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Tennessee

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 8, 1963

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African-American minor school children, by and through their parents, who attended the Jackson City and Madison County schools; the United States as intervening plaintiff

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Jackson City , City

Madison County, School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1963 - 2010

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Magnet school

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Preliminary relief granted

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Student assignment

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Education

Racial segregation

School/University Facilities

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run