Case: Quarles v. Oxford Municipal Separate School District

3:69-cv-00062 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: July 17, 1969

Closed Date: 1989

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Case Summary

This is a school desegregation case that lasted from 1969 through 1989 and involved the public schools in Oxford, Mississippi. The plaintiffs, black students and their families, initially filed the lawsuit on July 17, 1969 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. They alleged that the Oxford Municipal Separate School District was not sufficiently desegregated because the freedom of choice plan used by the School District did not allow for full school integration.The …

This is a school desegregation case that lasted from 1969 through 1989 and involved the public schools in Oxford, Mississippi. The plaintiffs, black students and their families, initially filed the lawsuit on July 17, 1969 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. They alleged that the Oxford Municipal Separate School District was not sufficiently desegregated because the freedom of choice plan used by the School District did not allow for full school integration.

The district court entered a desegregation order on January 8, 1970. The desegregation order required that all students enrolled in grades 1 through 3 attend one elementary school (formerly an all-white school), students in grades 4 through 6 attend another elementary school (formerly an all-white school), students in grades 7 through 9 attend one junior high school (formerly an all-black school), and students in grades 10 through 12 attend one high school (formerly an all-white school). All other schools were closed. A 1972 district court decision on a motion for supplemental relief to determine whether the School District had to provide bus transportation to students noted "a remarkable degree of community support . . . for this radical change in operating the city schools. . . . [P]arents of both races, teachers, and students alike, and in fact all segments of the community rallied to meet the crisis so that upon school reopening in February 1970 more than 90% of the enrolled students remained in the system, with a remarkably small amount of attrition of flight to private schools." 366 F. Supp. 247, 248 (5th Cir. 1972). The district court also noted in the same opinion that because of the desegregation order "one-race schools have been altogether eliminated and are a thing of the past."

After the desegregation order was implemented in early 1970, there were several subsequent opinions issued to resolve issues stemming from the order. The first opinion that is available in this case is a 5th Circuit decision affirming the district court's denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction. An individual, who was not a plaintiff in this litigation, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction because he claimed the School District did not consider his application for a bus driver due to his wife's civil rights activity. The 5th Circuit affirmed the district court's decision because the School District fairly considered his application. 439 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1971) (per curiam).

In 1972, there was a district court proceeding on a motion for supplemental relief from a district court decision that held the School District was not obligated to bus elementary school students under the desegregation order. The district court denied the motion on the grounds that the School District did not have to provide busing for elementary students that live more than one and a half miles away from their assigned schools because the School District was able to achieve unitary status without providing bus services. Additionally, the court determined that one race was not disadvantaged more than another because there were similar numbers of black and white students that lived more than one and a half miles away from their schools. 366 F. Supp. 247 (N.D. Miss. 1972). This decision was affirmed by the 5th Circuit. 487 F.2d 824 (5th Cir. 1973) (per curiam). In doing so, the 5th Circuit noted that Oxford's situation was unique because the desegregation order had been effectively implemented without busing and there was not a disproportionate impact on either race.

All injunctive orders were dissolved against the school district by District Judge William C. Keady in 1989 in an unavailable opinion. Plaintiffs appealed to the 5th Circuit, which affirmed the district court's decision and held that the School District's achievement grouping was not discriminatory against black students, there was not adequate evidence that black students were mistreated and disciplined in a discriminatory fashion, the School District did not use discriminatory employment practices, and there was not evidence that the School District had one race extracurricular activities. The 5th Circuit held that each party had to bear its own costs and the School District was not required to bear any of the plaintiffs' litigation costs. 868 F.2d 750 (5th Cir. 1989).

The case was closed in 1989.

Available Opinions

Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 439 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1971).

Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 366 F. Supp. 247 (N.D. Miss. 1972).

Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 487 F.2d 824 (5th Cir. 1973).

Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 868 F.2d 750 (5th Cir. 1989).

Summary Authors

Amelia Huckins (3/4/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Davidson, Glen H. (Mississippi)

Keady, William Colbert (Mississippi)

Morgan, Lewis Render (Georgia)

Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Texas)

Thornberry, William Homer (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brittain, John C (Texas)

Lipman, David M. (Mississippi)

Maxey, John L. II (Mississippi)

Myers, Lewis Jr. (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

Davidson, Glen H. (Mississippi)

Keady, William Colbert (Mississippi)

Morgan, Lewis Render (Georgia)

Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Texas)

Thornberry, William Homer (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Brittain, John C (Texas)

Lipman, David M. (Mississippi)

Maxey, John L. II (Mississippi)

Myers, Lewis Jr. (Mississippi)

Spriggs, Peter Kent (Florida)

Taylor, Stanley (Mississippi)

Trister, Michael B. (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Freeland, Thomas H. III (Mississippi)

Hickman, Will A. (Mississippi)

Perry, F. Edwin (Mississippi)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:69-cv-00062

Docket

Aug. 17, 1989

Aug. 17, 1989

Docket

3:69-cv-00062

Order

Jan. 16, 1970

Jan. 16, 1970

Order/Opinion

30376

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

439 F.2d 261

Feb. 24, 1971

Feb. 24, 1971

Order/Opinion

3:69-cv-00062

Memorandum Opinion

366 F.Supp. 247

Nov. 7, 1972

Nov. 7, 1972

Order/Opinion

72-03534

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

487 F.2d 824

Nov. 9, 1973

Nov. 9, 1973

Order/Opinion

88-00469

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

868 F.2d 750

March 27, 1989

March 27, 1989

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 6, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 17, 1969

Closing Date: 1989

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The plaintiffs were a class of African-American parents and students within the Oxford Municipal Separate School District.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Oxford Municipal Separate School District (Oxford, Lafayette), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1969 - 1989

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Student assignment

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Education

Racial segregation

School/University policies

Transportation

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run