Case: Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C.

6:69-cv-00068 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

Filed Date: 1969

Closed Date: 1973

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1969, pro se plaintiff J. Alston Atkins brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against the State Board of Education of North Carolina, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and others to require the State and County Boards of Education to provide a racially integrated unitary school system. The suit was initially dismissed in district court because of issues with standing: Mr Atkins argued that he had standing to bring this ac…

In 1969, pro se plaintiff J. Alston Atkins brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against the State Board of Education of North Carolina, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and others to require the State and County Boards of Education to provide a racially integrated unitary school system. The suit was initially dismissed in district court because of issues with standing: Mr Atkins argued that he had standing to bring this action because he was a taxpayer, the grandparent of children attending public schools, and an African-American. After the district court found Atkins had no standing, the parents of his grandchildren, the Allens, intervened in the suit. The Fourth Circuit then vacated the judgment and permitted the district court to either substitute the Allens as plaintiffs or consolidate the case with similar actions brought by other plaintiffs. Atkins v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 418 F.2d 874 (4th Cir. 1969).

Once the Allens were substituted as plaintiffs, the district court considered the substance of the complaint. Plaintiffs sought, among other relief, to restrain the issuance and sale of school bonds, arguing they would be used to promote a segregated school system. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants, holding that “any present or future controversy over the expenditure of the proceeds of the school bond issue does not affect their validity, the right of the county to issue them, or its obligation to pay the principal and interest as they become due.” Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 447 F.2d 960 (4th Cir. 1971). The Fourth Circuit affirmed this decision and suggested that when the matter is returned to district court, it be consolidated with Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, because the plaintiffs had become more receptive to consolidation.

In April 1972, Chief Judge Gordon of the Middle District of North Carolina dismissed this case for failure to state a claim. In the intervening time between the partial summary judgment decision and this dismissal, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education was ordered to desegregate its school system in the Scott decision. The Middle District had approved the school district’s plan, which it found “fully and completely eliminated [its] segregated dual system,” The court noted that, while there may be aesthetic differences across schools, there was at that time no correlation between a school’s aesthetic and the race of students attending those schools. The Fourth Circuit affirmed this decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.

This case is closed.

Available Opinions

Atkins v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 418 F.2d 874 (4th Cir. 1969) (vacating the district court finding of no standing and remanding to district court for substitution of the Allens as plaintiffs).

Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C. , 447 F.2d 960 (4th Cir. 1971) (affirming partial summary judgment of district court and remanding for consideration of consolidation with Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education).

Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N. C. , 55 F.R.D. 350 (M.D.N.C. 1972), aff’d, 473 F.2d 906 (4th Cir. 1973)

Summary Authors

Bryce Freeman (2/4/2018)

Related Cases

Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ., Middle District of North Carolina (1968)

People


Judge(s)

Butzner, John Decker Jr. (Virginia)

Craven, James Braxton Jr. (Virginia)

Gordon, Eugene Andrew (North Carolina)

Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (South Carolina)

Russell, Donald Stuart (South Carolina)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Judge(s)

Butzner, John Decker Jr. (Virginia)

Craven, James Braxton Jr. (Virginia)

Gordon, Eugene Andrew (North Carolina)

Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (South Carolina)

Russell, Donald Stuart (South Carolina)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

13320

Opinion

Atkins v. State Board of Education of North Carolina

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

418 F.2d 874

Nov. 25, 1969

Nov. 25, 1969

Order/Opinion

71-01563

Opinion

Allen v. State Board of Education of North Carolina

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

447 F.2d 960

Sept. 9, 1971

Sept. 9, 1971

Order/Opinion

6:69-cv-00068

Opinion

Allen v. State Board of Education of North Carolina

55 F.R.D. 350

April 3, 1972

April 3, 1972

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 5, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1969

Closing Date: 1973

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Parents of an African-American student in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State Board of Education, State

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education (Winston-Salem, Forsyth), 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

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Education

Funding

Racial segregation

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run