Case: Lee and United States of America v. Macon County School Board (S.D. Ala. cases)

1:70-cv-05945 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama

Filed Date: 1970

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This Clearinghouse entry discusses the post 1970 proceedings in Lee v. Macon County, a seminal Alabama desegregation case. That case originated in the Middle District of Alabama and was transferred to a three-judge district court which supervised school desegregation across the state. However, after 1970, the statewide case was dissolved and desegregation cases in individual school districts were sent to the judicial districts that encompassed them. This Clearinghouse entry describes the Lee li…

This Clearinghouse entry discusses the post 1970 proceedings in Lee v. Macon County, a seminal Alabama desegregation case. That case originated in the Middle District of Alabama and was transferred to a three-judge district court which supervised school desegregation across the state. However, after 1970, the statewide case was dissolved and desegregation cases in individual school districts were sent to the judicial districts that encompassed them. This Clearinghouse entry describes the Lee litigation in the Southern District of Alabama after 1970. To read about what happened between 1963, when the case was filed, and 1970, please see Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Ed. (SD-AL-0002)

Washington County

In September of 1976 in Washington County Alabama, the National Education Association (NEA), a teachers union, intervened in the case to challenge the district's policies with respect to the hiring and placement of Black teachers. The NEA alleged that the district's policies violated the 1970 desegregation order and whether several individual staffing decisions were lawful. 456 F. Supp. 1175. This litigation reached the Court of Appeals (the Fifth, and later Eleventh, Circuits) twice. 625 F.2d 1235; 682 F.2d 894.

Conecuh County

In Conecuh County, both the United States and the NEA both intervened to allege deficiencies in the county's desegregation order. Both motions were denied, but the NEA later appealed to the Fifth Circuit to challenge the hiring and firing of Black teachers. Finding that additional fact finding was needed, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case in July of 1973. 482 F.2d 1253. The District Court eventually dismissed the case in 1974 (1974 WL 10550) and was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit later that year (498 F.2d 1090).

Marengo County

After the adoption and implementation of a desegregation plan, District Judge William Brevard Hand found that Marengo County's schools had reached unitary status in 1977. The United States objected to Judge Hand's decision and filed a motion requesting that the county develop a new plan to desegregate. Judge Hand agreed, finding in an August 7, 1978, opinion that the district had "done little in complying" with the desegregation orders and imposing additional requirements on it. 454 F. Supp 918. However, more information about that litigation is not publicly available.

Dockets

In the Southern District, Lee was assigned a new docket number, not reflected in the record but later changed to 1:70-cv-05945-M. It is unclear how this docket was used, as it is not available in the record. The following cases and docket numbers are off-shoots of the original 1963 litigation:

  • Lee v. Washington County Board of Education (docket: 5945-70-H)
  • Lee v. Conecuh County Board of Education (docket: 5945-79-H)
  • Lee v. Marengo County Board of Education (docket: 5945-70-H)

However, these cases probably represent only a portion of the Lee desegregation litigation conducted in the Southern District of Alabama. Given that these cases happened prior to the advent of electronic filing, it is difficult for the Clearinghouse to find records for them.

Summary Authors

Jonah Hudson-Erdman (11/14/2021)

Related Cases

Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Ed., Middle District of Alabama (1963)

People


Judge(s)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

Clark, Charles (Mississippi)

Fay, Peter Thorp (Florida)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Hand, William Brevard (Alabama)

Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Georgia)

Morgan, Lewis Render (Georgia)

Tate, Albert Jr. (Louisiana)

Thomas, Daniel Holcombe (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

Clark, Charles (Mississippi)

Fay, Peter Thorp (Florida)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Hand, William Brevard (Alabama)

Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Georgia)

Morgan, Lewis Render (Georgia)

Tate, Albert Jr. (Louisiana)

Thomas, Daniel Holcombe (Alabama)

Young, George Cressler (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

0:72-02554

Opinion

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

482 F.2d 1253

July 20, 1973

July 20, 1973

Order/Opinion

1:70-cv-05945

Opinion

Lee v. Conecuh County Board of Education

1974 WL 10550

Feb. 7, 1974

Feb. 7, 1974

Order/Opinion

0:74-01708

Opinion

Lee v. Macon County Board of Education

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

498 F.2d 1090

Aug. 7, 1974

Aug. 7, 1974

Order/Opinion

1:70-cv-05945

Opinion

Lee v. Marengo County Board of Education

454 F.Supp. 918

Aug. 7, 1978

Aug. 7, 1978

Order/Opinion

1:70-cv-05945

Opinion

Lee v. Washington County Board of Education

456 F.Supp. 1175

Sept. 6, 1978

Sept. 6, 1978

Order/Opinion

0:78-03338

Opinion

Lee v. Washington County Board of Education

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

625 F.2d 1235

Sept. 18, 1980

Sept. 18, 1980

Order/Opinion

0:81-07694

Opinion

Lee v. Washington County Board of Education

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

682 F.2d 894

Aug. 9, 1982

Aug. 9, 1982

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 30, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Alabama

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Special Collection(s):

Civil Rights Division Archival Collection

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1970

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Black students and their parents across the Southern District of Alabama. The United States also intervened in support of the plainiffs.

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: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Various City & County School Boards in the Southern District of Alabama (Various), County

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Busing

Hire

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Student assignment

Issues

General:

Buildings

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Education

Racial segregation

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Race:

Black