Case: United States of America v. Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District

66-01368 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: Aug. 18, 1966

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This school desegregation case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on August 18, 1966. The U.S. Department of Justice filed this suit against the Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District, in Mississippi, claiming that Philadelphia's schools were segregated on the basis of race.On January 30, 1967, District Court Judge William H. Cox ordered that Philadelphia submit a desegregation plan in accordance with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitutio…

This school desegregation case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on August 18, 1966. The U.S. Department of Justice filed this suit against the Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District, in Mississippi, claiming that Philadelphia's schools were segregated on the basis of race.

On January 30, 1967, District Court Judge William H. Cox ordered that Philadelphia submit a desegregation plan in accordance with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Later that year, on May 5, 1967, Philadelphia was permanently enjoined from discriminating on the basis of race. Judge Cox ordered that Philadelphia "take affirmative action to disestablish all school segregation and to eliminate the effects of the dual school system." Additionally, Philadelphia was ordered to file annual reports with the court regarding its affirmative steps to desegregate the schools.

Philadelphia was again ordered to submit a desegregation plan to the district court on July 5, 1968. Soon thereafter, on August 21, 1968, the case was consolidated with United States v. Hinds County School Board along with twenty-three other school desegregation cases in the Southern District of Mississippi. For an overview of that consolidated litigation, see the Clearinghouse entry available here.

On May 19, 1969, the district court ordered Philadelphia "to take steps to achieve complete desegregation of school faculties by the beginning of the 1970–71 school year" because Philadelphia had apparently been engaging in racially-based teacher assignment practices. After the Fifth Circuit's ruling on the consolidated cases on July 3, 1969, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) submitted a new desegregation plan to Judge Cox. This was followed by a Fifth Circuit order on September 2, 1969 that ordered Philadelphia to submit a desegregation plan conjunction with HEW. Philadelphia submitted such a plan on September 30, 1969.

Apparently, Judge Cox approved school desegregation plans that allowed the use of a freedom of choice program. It is unclear from the Fifth Circuit decision on November 7, 1969 in United States v. Hinds County School Board, 423 F.2d 1264 (5th Cir. 1969), if Philadelphia proposed a freedom of choice plan that was approved by Judge Cox. In any event, all school districts in the consolidated action were ordered to comply with HEW's desegregation plans and were barred from continuing to use freedom of choice plans.

Later, on November 26, 1969, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund was granted permission by the Fifth Circuit to participate in this action as amicus curiae. After that, it appears that Philadelphia continued to submit annual reports to the court. This action was placed on the inactive docket on May 24, 1972 according to the 2010 order dismissing the case.

The case remained quiet until 2006. In 2006, the United States began a review of the Philadelphia case. After that review, the court determined that "there is no evidence that vestiges of segregation remain" and the case was dismissed on July 19, 2010 by District Judge Tom S. Lee.

Summary Authors

Amelia Huckins (5/14/2017)

Related Cases

30 Related School Desegregation Cases in the Southern District of Mississippi, Southern District of Mississippi (None)

People


Judge(s)

Lee, Tom Stewart (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berman, Amy I. (District of Columbia)

Doar, John (District of Columbia)

Hauberg, Robert E. Jr. (Mississippi)

Katzenbach, Nicholas de B. (District of Columbia)

Kilgore, Jerry W. (Virginia)

Moore, John R. (District of Columbia)

Owen, D. Robert (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Alford, Herman (Pennsylvania)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Kassabain, Tamara H. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Lee, Tom Stewart (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berman, Amy I. (District of Columbia)

Doar, John (District of Columbia)

Hauberg, Robert E. Jr. (Mississippi)

Katzenbach, Nicholas de B. (District of Columbia)

Kilgore, Jerry W. (Virginia)

Moore, John R. (District of Columbia)

Owen, D. Robert (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Alford, Herman (Pennsylvania)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Kassabain, Tamara H. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

April 18, 1974 Docket

Agreed Order of Dismissal

United States of America v. Philadelphia Municipal Separate School

July 19, 2010 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 18, 1966

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The United States Department of Justice was the plaintiff.

Plaintiff Type(s):

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: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District (Philadelphia, Neshoba), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

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: 1966 - 2010

Content of Injunction:

Student assignment

Discrimination Prohibition

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reporting

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Education

Racial segregation

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run