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Case Name Quarles v. Oxford Municipal Separate School District SD-MS-0017
Docket / Court WC6962-K-D ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
This is a school desegregation case that lasted from 1969 through 1989 and involved the public schools in Oxford, Mississippi. The plaintiffs, black students and their families, initially filed the lawsuit on July 17, 1969 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. They ... read more >
This is a school desegregation case that lasted from 1969 through 1989 and involved the public schools in Oxford, Mississippi. The plaintiffs, black students and their families, initially filed the lawsuit on July 17, 1969 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. They alleged that the Oxford Municipal Separate School District was not sufficiently desegregated because the freedom of choice plan used by the School District did not allow for full school integration.

The district court entered a desegregation order on January 8, 1970. The desegregation order required that all students enrolled in grades 1 through 3 attend one elementary school (formerly an all-white school), students in grades 4 through 6 attend another elementary school (formerly an all-white school), students in grades 7 through 9 attend one junior high school (formerly an all-black school), and students in grades 10 through 12 attend one high school (formerly an all-white school). All other schools were closed. A 1972 district court decision on a motion for supplemental relief to determine whether the School District had to provide bus transportation to students noted "a remarkable degree of community support . . . for this radical change in operating the city schools. . . . [P]arents of both races, teachers, and students alike, and in fact all segments of the community rallied to meet the crisis so that upon school reopening in February 1970 more than 90% of the enrolled students remained in the system, with a remarkably small amount of attrition of flight to private schools." 366 F. Supp. 247, 248 (5th Cir. 1972). The district court also noted in the same opinion that because of the desegregation order "one-race schools have been altogether eliminated and are a thing of the past."

After the desegregation order was implemented in early 1970, there were several subsequent opinions issued to resolve issues stemming from the order. The first opinion that is available in this case is a 5th Circuit decision affirming the district court's denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction. An individual, who was not a plaintiff in this litigation, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction because he claimed the School District did not consider his application for a bus driver due to his wife's civil rights activity. The 5th Circuit affirmed the district court's decision because the School District fairly considered his application. 439 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1971) (per curiam).

In 1972, there was a district court proceeding on a motion for supplemental relief from a district court decision that held the School District was not obligated to bus elementary school students under the desegregation order. The district court denied the motion on the grounds that the School District did not have to provide busing for elementary students that live more than one and a half miles away from their assigned schools because the School District was able to achieve unitary status without providing bus services. Additionally, the court determined that one race was not disadvantaged more than another because there were similar numbers of black and white students that lived more than one and a half miles away from their schools. 366 F. Supp. 247 (N.D. Miss. 1972). This decision was affirmed by the 5th Circuit. 487 F.2d 824 (5th Cir. 1973) (per curiam). In doing so, the 5th Circuit noted that Oxford's situation was unique because the desegregation order had been effectively implemented without busing and there was not a disproportionate impact on either race.

All injunctive orders were dissolved against the school district by District Judge William C. Keady in 1989 in an unavailable opinion. Plaintiffs appealed to the 5th Circuit, which affirmed the district court's decision and held that the School District's achievement grouping was not discriminatory against black students, there was not adequate evidence that black students were mistreated and disciplined in a discriminatory fashion, the School District did not use discriminatory employment practices, and there was not evidence that the School District had one race extracurricular activities. The 5th Circuit held that each party had to bear its own costs and the School District was not required to bear any of the plaintiffs' litigation costs. 868 F.2d 750 (5th Cir. 1989).

The case was closed in 1989.

Available Opinions
Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 439 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1971).
Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 366 F. Supp. 247 (N.D. Miss. 1972).
Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 487 F.2d 824 (5th Cir. 1973).
Quarles v. Oxford Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 868 F.2d 750 (5th Cir. 1989).

Amelia Huckins - 03/04/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Education
Racial segregation
School/University policies
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Oxford Municipal Separate School District
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs were a class of African-American parents and students within the Oxford Municipal Separate School District.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1969 - 1989
Filing Year 1969
Case Closing Year 1989
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
WC6962-K-D (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/17/1989
Source: Pro Publica
General Documents
Order (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/1970
Source: Pro Publica
Opinion (439 F.2d 261)
SD-MS-0017-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/24/1971
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion (366 F.Supp. 247) (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0017-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/07/1972
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (487 F.2d 824)
SD-MS-0017-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/09/1973
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (868 F.2d 750)
SD-MS-0017-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/27/1989
Source: Westlaw
Judges Brown, John Robert (Fifth Circuit)
SD-MS-0017-0002
Keady, William Colbert (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0017-0003
Morgan, Lewis Render (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, N.D. Ga.)
SD-MS-0017-0004
Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Fifth Circuit)
SD-MS-0017-0005
Thornberry, William Homer (W.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
SD-MS-0017-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brittain, John C (Texas)
SD-MS-0017-0001 | SD-MS-0017-9000
Maxey, John L. II (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0017-9000
Spriggs, Peter Kent (Florida)
SD-MS-0017-0001 | SD-MS-0017-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Freeland, Thomas H. III (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0017-0001 | SD-MS-0017-9000
Hickman, Will A. (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0017-9000
Perry, F. Edwin (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0017-0001 | SD-MS-0017-9000

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