Case: Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education

6:66-cv-00606 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Filed Date: Feb. 24, 1966

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On 2/24/1966, the plaintiffs brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children by and through their parents, sued the Beaufort County Board of Education to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system. They were represented by, among others, Jack Greenberg and Derrick A. Bell (for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund). In 1967, the North Carolina Teachers Association intervened as a …

On 2/24/1966, the plaintiffs brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children by and through their parents, sued the Beaufort County Board of Education to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system. They were represented by, among others, Jack Greenberg and Derrick A. Bell (for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund). In 1967, the North Carolina Teachers Association intervened as a plaintiff.

Prior to the filing of this case, the Board had taken minimal steps to desegregate in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. Pursuant to the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it devised a freedom-of-choice plan -- but apart from that, it took no action. On August 23, 1967, the district court (Judge John Larkins) entered an order governing desegregation for the 1967-68 school year, including freedom-of-choice and also some reassignment for both students and faculty. The Board did little to comply with the order and thus on August 5, 1968, the district court ordered the Board to implement a new desegregation plan, eliminating freedom of choice. As Judge Larkins concluded

The defendants are maintaining a racially dual public school system. Freedom of choice is an unconstitutional and impermissible means for desegregation for the Beaufort County Public Schools. It is therefore imperative that an order be entered directing that the defendants implement a plan consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court.
Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 294 F.Supp. 179 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 5, 1968)

As part of the court's order, the Board was required to report on the racial breakdown of student and faculty assignments in the district's schools. After being fired and also examining those statistics, a number of black educators in the district brought their own lawsuit, alleging continued racial discrimination. On September 30, 1971, the district court held that the Board had failed to meet its faculty desegregation obligations and was continuing to discriminate on the basis of race with respect to hiring and firing decisions. The court ordered the Board to reinstate the fired educators with back pay and to take further steps to restore the racial balance of the district's faculty. James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 348 F.Supp. 711 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 1971). The Fourth Circuit subsequently affirmed the district court. James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 465 F.2d 477 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 1972).

The district court dismissed the underlying school desegregation case in 1972. Unfortunately, we were not able to find any more details about -- or documents from -- the court's decision to close the case a mere four years after the implementation of the Board's non-freedom-of-choice plan.

Available Opinions

Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 294 F.Supp. 179 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 5, 1968)

James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 348 F.Supp. 711 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 1971)

James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 465 F.2d 477 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 1972)

Summary Authors

Greg Margolis (2/27/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Blatt, Solomon Jr. (South Carolina)

Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (South Carolina)

Larkins, John Davis Jr. (North Carolina)

Russell, Donald Stuart (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chambers, J. LeVonne (New York)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Pearson, C. O. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Knott, Lee Jr. (North Carolina)

Mayo, William P. (North Carolina)

Ross, L. H. (North Carolina)

Judge(s)

Blatt, Solomon Jr. (South Carolina)

Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (South Carolina)

Larkins, John Davis Jr. (North Carolina)

Russell, Donald Stuart (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chambers, J. LeVonne (New York)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Pearson, C. O. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Knott, Lee Jr. (North Carolina)

Mayo, William P. (North Carolina)

Ross, L. H. (North Carolina)

Tucker, Irvin B (North Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Boomer vs. The Beaufort County Board of Education

Jan. 17, 1972 Docket

Opinion and Order

Boomer vs. The Beaufort County Board of Education

294 F.Supp. 179

Aug. 5, 1968 Order/Opinion

[Order]

James v. Beaufort County Board of Education

348 F.Supp. 711

Nov. 11, 1971 Order/Opinion

[Order]

James v. Beaufort County Board of Education

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

465 F.2d 477

Aug. 28, 1972 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 24, 1966

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs were African-American minor school children; the North Carolina Teachers Association also intervened as a plaintiff

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Beaufort 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:

Trial Court Docket

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1967 - 1972

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Discrimination Prohibition

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

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