Brown v. School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina, Civ. A. No. 7747.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Citation226 F. Supp. 819
Decision Date22 August 1963
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 7747.
PartiesMillicent F. BROWN et al., Plaintiffs, v. SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 20, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, a public body corporate, and Charles A. Brown, Chairman of School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina; and Thomas A. Carrere, Superintendent, Lawrence O'Hear Stoney, Leonard A. Mackey, John T. Welch, Mrs. Edwin A. Pearlstine, Mrs. W. Allan Moore, Jr., John C. Hawk, Jr., Members, Board of Trustees of School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina, Defendants, Mark Allen, a minor, by W. K. Allen, his father and next friend; and Barbara L. Bellows and George Bellows, Jr., minors, by their father and next friend George Bellows, Julia Jeanne Canfield, a minor, by Eugene C. Canfield, her father and next friend, and Elizabeth S. Stack and William F. Stack, Sr., their father and next friend, Intervenors.

226 F. Supp. 819

Millicent F. BROWN et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 20, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, a public body corporate, and Charles A. Brown, Chairman of School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina; and Thomas A. Carrere, Superintendent, Lawrence O'Hear Stoney, Leonard A. Mackey, John T. Welch, Mrs. Edwin A. Pearlstine, Mrs. W. Allan Moore, Jr., John C. Hawk, Jr., Members, Board of Trustees of School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina, Defendants, Mark Allen, a minor, by W. K. Allen, his father and next friend; and Barbara L. Bellows and George Bellows, Jr., minors, by their father and next friend George Bellows, Julia Jeanne Canfield, a minor, by Eugene C. Canfield, her father and next friend, and Elizabeth S. Stack and William F. Stack, Sr., their father and next friend, Intervenors.

Civ. A. No. 7747.

United States District Court E. D. South Carolina, Charleston Division.

August 22, 1963.


Matthew J. Perry, Lincoln C. Jenkins, Jr., Columbia, S. C., Constance Baker Motley, Jack Greenberg, Michael Meltsner, New York City, F. Henderson Moore, Benjamin Cooke, Charleston, S. C., for plaintiffs.

Huger Sinkler, Charles H. Gibbs, Charleston, S. C., A. T. Graydon, and D. W. Robinson, Columbia, S. C., for defendants.

Burnet R. Maybank, Charleston, S. C., and George Stephen Leonard, Washington, D. C., for intervenors.

MARTIN, District Judge.

This action was brought by thirteen1 Negro children and their parents on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated for an injunction enjoining the operation of the school system of School District Number 20 in Charleston County, South Carolina, on a racially segregated basis. Plaintiffs seek an order of this Court requiring that the plaintiffs here be allowed to enroll in the white school of their choice; requiring the School Board to submit a plan calling for the abolition of a dual school system; for an order requiring the complete integration of school personnel and for costs.

Plaintiffs invoke the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343 (3), 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

After the pleadings were complete, several white students and their parents moved the Court for permission to intervene in this action. This motion was granted and they were permitted to participate in the hearing and filed extensive briefs thereafter.

The cause was heard at Columbia, South Carolina, on August 5, 1963.

School District Number 20 is composed of the City of Charleston.2 The school system is completely segregated and operates a total of fifteen schools, six for white children and nine for Negro children. Areas served by each school

226 F. Supp. 820
are established so that a dual set of attendance area lines exist; white children live in the zones of Negro schools but attend white schools. Negro children live in zones of white schools but attend Negro schools. When the white elementary school (Mitchell) was closed, (end of school year 1963) all of its former pupils living on one side of a line bisecting its zone were assigned to one of the other two white schools and all other former pupils living on the opposite side of the dividing line were assigned to another white school by the direction of the Superintendent of Schools. The total population of the District is 65,925 — made up of 32,313 whites and 33,612 Negroes. There are a total of 12,647 students — 9,539 Negroes and 3,108 whites. 420 teachers are employed — 286 Negroes and 134 whites

There have been no formal applications filed by Negro children to enter white schools at the first grade level. All the plaintiffs herein have made application to transfer from a Negro school to a white school.

The applications of the various plaintiffs were considered by the Board and all were rejected. Applications for transfer from one school in School District Number 20 to another are governed by rules adopted by the Board of Trustees of the District on the 10th day of June 1959. These rules prescribe the procedure for filing an application for transfer and the procedure to be followed when an application has been denied. Three of the plaintiffs, Brown, Hines and Dawson, have exhausted the administrative remedies provided for by the rules of the Board. Their applications for transfer to a white school were denied by the Board for the reason, that, the Board concluded, it was for the children's best interest to remain in the Negro schools they were presently enrolled in and attending. The other plaintiffs have not exhausted such remedies but allege that the remedies are inadequate to provide the relief sought.

The defendants contend, that the plaintiffs have no standing in this Court, until all administrative remedies are exhausted and therefore the action should be dismissed as to those plaintiffs who have failed to exhaust administrative remedies. The defendants further contend, that there is no evidence of racial discrimination present in the rejection of the applications of the plaintiffs who have exhausted their administrative remedies and, that any racial separation in the public schools of District Number 20 is voluntary and therefore offends no constitutional principle.

The primary questions presented, therefore, are the justification of the School Board's denial of that group of applications which were denied on their merits; and the remaining applications which were denied because of that group's failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

The rules promulgated by the Board of Trustees of Charleston School District Number 20 and the South Carolina Statutory Law, known as the South Carolina Pupil Assignment Law, § 21-247 et seq., South Carolina Code of Laws (1962), are the authority by which the School Board attempts to justify the denial of both groups of petitions. This same position was taken by the School Board in the case of Jeffers v. Whitley, 309 F.2d 621 (4th Cir. 1962). The overall factual situation in the instant case is analogous to that presented in the Jeffers case. By a Per Curiam opinion, the Fourth Circuit sitting en banc in the Jeffers case held:

* * * * * *
"Racial segregation in the schools was required by the Constitution of North Carolina until 1954 when the Supreme Court held similar requirements invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment. Since then the School Board of Caswell County has routinely assigned each pupil to the school he attended the previous year. This practice, in conjunction with invariable denial of transfer applications, perpetuated the old system with no opportunity for escape by
226 F. Supp. 821
any pupil enrolled in the schools in 1954.
"Since 1954, all first grade pupils have been segregated by race. The School Board contends, however, that the assignments of such pupils have been voluntary. It has routinely assigned all first grade pupils to the schools where they attended a preschool clinic, but, the Board says, the parents could select the school to which the child was taken for enrollment in the preschool clinic, their choice being limited only by the availability of transportation facilities.
"We need not consider whether freedom of choice at the first grade level, without any right of choice thereafter, would be a sufficient interim step toward establishment of a constitutionally permissible, voluntary system, for the record does not establish the factual premise. The record refers to no resolution of the Board establishing a right of choice at the time of enrollment in the preschool clinics. No such right of choice was mentioned in the pleadings of the Board in this action. The District Court has not found that the Board adopted any such policy or intended to confer any such right of choice. Indeed, the record indicates that the principal of each school controlled preschool clinic enrollments at that school. More importantly, there is no evidence that any such policy, if ever adopted, had been announced, or made known, to the people of Caswell County. Since the schools had been operated on a completely segregated basis, parents of preschool children cannot be said to have any freedom of choice until there has been some announcement that such a right exists.
* * * * * *
"The principal questions, therefore, go to the justification of the School Board's denial of the Brown applications on their merits and of the Jeffers applications because of their failure to exhaust administrative remedies in 1960.
"The School Board takes shelter behind the North Carolina Pupil Enrollment Act.
"We have held that Act to be constitutional upon its face.3 We have held that rights derived from the Fourteenth Amendment are individual and are to be individually asserted in the Federal Courts, but only after exhaustion of reasonable administrative remedies provided by the state. We have required exhaustion of administrative remedies though the School Board had initiated no abandonment of discriminatory practices which antedated the 1954 School Cases.
"Those principles, firmly established in this circuit, do not support the position of the School Board, or warrant denial of all judicial relief except to the two Saunders children. They presuppose a fair and lawful conduct of administrative procedures. They are premised upon an expectation that administrators will take appropriate steps to relieve victims of discrimination, when an unwanted assignment is shown administratively to have been discriminatory. Until there has been a failure of the administrative process, it should be assumed in a federal court that state officials will obey the law when their official action is properly invoked. When, however, administrators have displayed a firm purpose to circumvent the law, when they have consistently employed the administrative processes to frustrate enjoyment of legal rights, there is no longer room for indulgence of an assumption that the administrative
226 F. Supp. 822
proceedings provide an appropriate method by which recognition and enforcement of those
...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 practice notes
  • Smith v. Board of Education of Morrilton Sch. Dist. No. 32, No. 18243.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 14 de setembro de 1966
    ...427 (5 Cir. 1963), 333 F.2d 55, 61 (5 Cir. 1964), cert. denied 379 U.S. 933, 85 S.Ct. 332, 13 L.Ed.2d 344; Brown v. School Dist. No. 20, 226 F.Supp. 819, 825-826 (E.D.S.C.1963), aff'd per curiam, 328 F.2d 618 (4 Cir. 1964), cert. denied 379 U.S. 825, 85 S.Ct. 52, 13 L. Ed.2d 35; Armstrong v......
  • U.S. v. Charleston County, No. 2:01-0155-23.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 6 de março de 2003
    ...August 1963, the school system of District 20 in Charleston County was completely segregated by race.19 Brown v. School District No. 20, 226 F.Supp. 819, 826 (E.D.S.C.1963); (Tr. at 90, 813, 1359-61, 1429.) In August, 1963, a federal court ordered the admission of eleven African-American st......
  • US v. Charleston County School Dist., Civ. A. No. 2:81-0050-8
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 5 de junho de 1990
    ...of Charleston County began in 1962 with the filing of the Complaint in Brown v. School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina, 226 F.Supp. 819 (E.D.S.C.1963), aff'd, 328 F.2d 618 (4th Cir.1964) cert. denied, 379 U.S. 825, 85 S.Ct. 52, 13 L.Ed.2d 35 (1964). That complaint was filed to e......
  • Stell v. Savannah-Chatham County Bd. of Ed., No. 20557
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 23 de julho de 1964
    ...entirely inappropriate for it to be rejected or obviated by this court. See Brown v. School District No. 20, Charleston, E.D.S.C., 1964, 226 F.Supp. 819, affirmed, 4 Cir., 1964, 328 F.2d 618; Youngblood v. Board of Public Instruction of Bay County, N.D.Fla., 1964, 230 F.Supp. 74; and see al......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Smith v. Board of Education of Morrilton Sch. Dist. No. 32, No. 18243.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 14 de setembro de 1966
    ...427 (5 Cir. 1963), 333 F.2d 55, 61 (5 Cir. 1964), cert. denied 379 U.S. 933, 85 S.Ct. 332, 13 L.Ed.2d 344; Brown v. School Dist. No. 20, 226 F.Supp. 819, 825-826 (E.D.S.C.1963), aff'd per curiam, 328 F.2d 618 (4 Cir. 1964), cert. denied 379 U.S. 825, 85 S.Ct. 52, 13 L. Ed.2d 35; Armstrong v......
  • U.S. v. Charleston County, No. 2:01-0155-23.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 6 de março de 2003
    ...August 1963, the school system of District 20 in Charleston County was completely segregated by race.19 Brown v. School District No. 20, 226 F.Supp. 819, 826 (E.D.S.C.1963); (Tr. at 90, 813, 1359-61, 1429.) In August, 1963, a federal court ordered the admission of eleven African-American st......
  • US v. Charleston County School Dist., Civ. A. No. 2:81-0050-8
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 5 de junho de 1990
    ...of Charleston County began in 1962 with the filing of the Complaint in Brown v. School District No. 20, Charleston, South Carolina, 226 F.Supp. 819 (E.D.S.C.1963), aff'd, 328 F.2d 618 (4th Cir.1964) cert. denied, 379 U.S. 825, 85 S.Ct. 52, 13 L.Ed.2d 35 (1964). That complaint was filed to e......
  • Stell v. Savannah-Chatham County Bd. of Ed., No. 20557
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 23 de julho de 1964
    ...entirely inappropriate for it to be rejected or obviated by this court. See Brown v. School District No. 20, Charleston, E.D.S.C., 1964, 226 F.Supp. 819, affirmed, 4 Cir., 1964, 328 F.2d 618; Youngblood v. Board of Public Instruction of Bay County, N.D.Fla., 1964, 230 F.Supp. 74; and see al......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT