Case: Graham v. Evangeline Parish School Board

6:65-cv-11053 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Filed Date: May 4, 1965

Closed Date: 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 4, 1965, five African-American children attending public schools filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs sued the Evangeline Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a racially segregated school system in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. This case has a lengthy history involving consolidations, appeals, and court supervision that lasted until 2012. Original Desegregation ProcessOn June 4, 1965, the district court (Judge Richard …

On May 4, 1965, five African-American children attending public schools filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs sued the Evangeline Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a racially segregated school system in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. This case has a lengthy history involving consolidations, appeals, and court supervision that lasted until 2012.

Original Desegregation Process

On June 4, 1965, the district court (Judge Richard Johnson Putnam) ordered the School Board to submit a desegregation plan within thirty days. The School Board submitted and the district court approved a “freedom of choice” plan that would desegregate the 1st and 12th grades by September 1965 and the rest of the grades by September 1968. However, the Fifth Circuit ruled that same month that these slowly phased integration plans were inadequate in Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, 355 F.2d 865 (1965). Singleton precipitated a district court hearing about whether the desegregation plan was adequate. The hearing was consolidated with other cases raising similar issues. In an opinion issued on August 13 in the consolidated cases, Judge Putnam decided that at least four grades must be immediately desegregated. Trahan v. Lafayette Parish School Board, 244 F. Supp. 583 (1965). On August 23, Judge Putnam determined that Evangeline Parish’s grades 2 and 11 (in addition to 1 and 12) must be desegregated in 1965.

Over the next few years, the Parish implemented parts of the limited desegregation plan. Unhappy with the results, the plaintiffs asked for additional relief on December 11, 1967, which the court denied, and the plaintiffs appealed. The appeal was consolidated with several other appeals of similar phased integration plans adopted by judges in the Western District of Louisiana. In 1969, the Fifth Circuit decided the consolidated appeals by ruling that “freedom of choice” plans were wholly inadequate. Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board, 417 F.2d 801 (1969). For more details on the procedural history of the consolidated cases that led to Hall, of which this case was a part, please see this page on the Clearinghouse.

The Fifth Circuit’s opinion required the district court to adopt a new desegregation plan, but the parties disputed who should create it. Eventually, the court adopted a plan designed by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on August 5, 1969.

Before the Evangeline Parish schools could open in September 1969, 115 white residents sued in state court to enjoin the implementation of the desegregation order. While the schools opened on September 2, 1969, they did so with only 20% student attendance, with many white students refusing to attend desegregated public schools. On the night of September 2, 1969, the School Board passed a resolution closing all schools indefinitely. The district court responded by issuing a temporary restraining order on September 9, 1969, forcing the School Board to re-open the schools. The district court issued a permanent injunction to force the School Board to keep the schools open so as not to frustrate the implementation of the desegregation plan.

In 1971, the United States intervened as a plaintiff.

Enforcement Process

The Fifth Circuit had to intervene again in December of 1974 after the district court (Judge Nauman S. Scott) allowed the School Board to provide support for the Evangeline Academy, a private school set up for whites who wanted to avoid the desegregation orders. The Fifth Circuit enjoined the School Board from providing textbooks, transportation or any other public aid to Evangeline Academy. 484 F.2d 649.

The School Board and the plaintiffs have had several other disputes since the mid-1970s. The district court issued consent decrees in 1998 and 2001, pushing the School Board to correct long-standing racial disparities. In September 2003, the National Association of Neighborhood Schools (“NANS”), an organization whose mission is to terminate all federal school desegregation cases, filed a motion to intervene that was denied by the district court. 223 F.R.D. 407. The Fifth Circuit upheld the district court's decision. 132 F. App'x 507.

On November 4, 2004 the district court granted a motion authorizing the School Board to begin school constructions and renovations on a local high school. In 2006, the School Board (with the consent of the Department of Justice), moved to amend the superseding consent decree of 2001. The 2006 order amended the 2001 consent decree to allow inter- and intra-district transfers that are approved by a Transfer Committee composed of three individuals; one of which was to be the Desegregation Compliance Officer, and the remaining two were to be employed at the building principle level or above.

In 2009, the School Board filed a motion to gain unitary status. The Department of Justice filed a motion opposing unitary status but, after the district court ordered settlement talks, the two sides agreed to unitary status on the issues of transportation, extracurricular activities and staff assignment.

On February 15, 2012, the School Board once again made a motion for declaration of unitary status. The Department of Justice did not object to the School Board’s motion for unitary status. On May 16, 2012, the district court granted the School Board’s motion, officially declaring the school system of Evangeline Parish to be unitary and dissolving the ongoing orders. 2012 WL 1833400. The case is now closed.

Available Opinions

Trahan v. Lafayette Parish School Bd., 244 F. Supp. 583 (W.D. La. 1965).

Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd., 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. 1969).

Jones v. Caddo Parish School Bd. 392 F.2d 721 (5th Cir. 1968).

Conley v. Lake Charles School Bd., 303 F. Supp. 394 (W.D. La. 1969).

Graham v. Evangeline Parish School Bd., 484 F.2d 649 (5th Cir. 1973).

Graham v. Evangeline Parish School Bd., 223 F.R.D. 407 (2004).

Graham v. Evangeline Parish School Bd., 132 F. App'x 507 (2005).

Graham v. Evangeline Parish School Bd., 2012 WL 1833400 (2012).

Summary Authors

Alaael-Deen Shilleh (3/26/2017)

Related Cases

Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana, Western District of Louisiana (1964)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4913429/parties/graham-v-evangeline-parish/


Judge(s)

Cabot, Ted (Florida)

Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (Louisiana)

Garwood, William Lockhart (Texas)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (Louisiana)

Hutcheson, Joseph Chappell Jr. (Texas)

Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

Jones, Edith Hollan (Texas)

Melancon, Tucker L. (Louisiana)

Prado, Edward Charles (Texas)

Judge(s)

Cabot, Ted (Florida)

Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (Louisiana)

Garwood, William Lockhart (Texas)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Hunter, Edwin Ford Jr. (Louisiana)

Hutcheson, Joseph Chappell Jr. (Texas)

Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

Jones, Edith Hollan (Texas)

Melancon, Tucker L. (Louisiana)

Prado, Edward Charles (Texas)

Putnam, Richard Johnson (Louisiana)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Simpson, John Milton Bryan (Florida)

Thornberry, William Homer (Texas)

Tuttle, Elbert Parr (Georgia)

Whitaker, Samuel Estill (District of Columbia)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bell, Murphy W. (Louisiana)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Chachkin, Norman J. (New York)

Ford, Margaret (New York)

Morial, Ernest N. (Louisiana)

Trudeau, A.M. (Louisiana)

Tureaud, A. P. (Louisiana)

White, Marion Overton (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Coreil, C. Brent (Louisiana)

Demoruelle, John (Louisiana)

Gremillion, Jack P.F. (Louisiana)

Hammonds, Robert L. (Louisiana)

Ieyoub, Richard P. (Louisiana)

Kron, Harry Jr. (Louisiana)

Other Attorney(s)

Ashlock, Jules R. (Louisiana)

Aucoin, Preston N. (Louisiana)

Bork, Robert Heron (District of Columbia)

Burson, I. Jackson (Louisiana)

Dorris, Evanjerl (District of Columbia)

Flanagan, William J. (Louisiana)

Hebert, Janice E. (Louisiana)

Manuel, B.J. (Louisiana)

Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia)

McGee, Daniel J. (Louisiana)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Pottinger, J. Stanley (District of Columbia)

Skinner, Michael D. (Louisiana)

Soileau, Donald (Louisiana)

Taylor, Lisa M. (District of Columbia)

Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana)

Washington, Donald W. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

6:65-cv-11053

Docket

June 29, 1998

June 29, 1998

Docket

6:65-cv-11053

Docket

Graham v. Evangeline Parish

May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

Docket

22527

[Order]

Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

348 F.2d 729

June 22, 1965

June 22, 1965

Order/Opinion

6:65-cv-11053

10903

10912

11125

[Order]

Trahan v. Lafayette Parish School Board

244 F.Supp. 583

Aug. 13, 1965

Aug. 13, 1965

Order/Opinion

22527

[Order]

Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

355 F.2d 865

Jan. 26, 1966

Jan. 26, 1966

Order/Opinion

25934

[Order]

Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

392 F.2d 721

March 27, 1968

March 27, 1968

Order/Opinion

02921

15556

[Order]

Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

417 F.2d 801

May 28, 1969

May 28, 1969

Order/Opinion

09981

14516

[Order]

Conley v. Lake Charles School Board

303 F.Supp. 394

June 5, 1969

June 5, 1969

Order/Opinion

72-03033

[Order]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

484 F.2d 649

Aug. 22, 1973

Aug. 22, 1973

Order/Opinion

73-01156

Memorandum for the United States in Opposition

Evangeline Parish School Board v. United Sates of America

Supreme Court of the United States

Oct. 1, 1973

Oct. 1, 1973

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4913429/graham-v-evangeline-parish/

Last updated Aug. 15, 2022, 3:19 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
214

FINDINGS OF THE COURT re 211 Show Cause Hearing, on the issues of civil contempt of Wayne Dardeau. Signed by Judge Richard T Haik Sr on 5/5/06. (crt,Brazell, G)

1 Searchable Copy of Opinion

View on PACER

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

RECAP
392

JUDGMENT: ORDERED that the Evangeline Parish School Board's Motion for Declaration of Unitary Status and to Dismiss is GRANTED, the permanent injunction entered on August 5, 1969 is DISSOLVED, all other orders issued by the Court in this proceeding are VACATED, and the Court's direct supervision of the School Board is ENDED, effective immediately. Signed by Judge Tucker L Melancon on 05/16/12. (crt,Yocum, M)

1 Searchable Copy of Opinion

View on PACER

May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Louisiana

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 4, 1965

Closing Date: 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African American schoolchildren and United States Department of Justice.

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: Unknown

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

Evangeline Parish School Board (Evangeline), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1965 - 2012

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Preliminary relief granted

Reporting

Required disclosure

Student assignment

Issues

General:

Buildings

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Education

Funding

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