University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States of America v. Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District SD-MS-0020
Docket / Court 1368(N) ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This school desegregation case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on August 18, 1966. The U.S. Department of Justice filed this suit against the Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District, in Mississippi, claiming that Philadelphia's schools were ... read more >
This school desegregation case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on August 18, 1966. The U.S. Department of Justice filed this suit against the Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District, in Mississippi, claiming that Philadelphia's schools were segregated on the basis of race.

On January 30, 1967, District Court Judge William H. Cox ordered that Philadelphia submit a desegregation plan in accordance with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Later that year, on May 5, 1967, Philadelphia was permanently enjoined from discriminating on the basis of race. Judge Cox ordered that Philadelphia "take affirmative action to disestablish all school segregation and to eliminate the effects of the dual school system." Additionally, Philadelphia was ordered to file annual reports with the court regarding its affirmative steps to desegregate the schools.

Philadelphia was again ordered to submit a desegregation plan to the district court on July 5, 1968. Soon thereafter, on August 21, 1968, the case was consolidated with United States v. Hinds County School Board along with twenty-three other school desegregation cases in the Southern District of Mississippi. For an overview of that consolidated litigation, see the Clearinghouse entry available here.

On May 19, 1969, the district court ordered Philadelphia "to take steps to achieve complete desegregation of school faculties by the beginning of the 1970–71 school year" because Philadelphia had apparently been engaging in racially-based teacher assignment practices. After the Fifth Circuit's ruling on the consolidated cases on July 3, 1969, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) submitted a new desegregation plan to Judge Cox. This was followed by a Fifth Circuit order on September 2, 1969 that ordered Philadelphia to submit a desegregation plan conjunction with HEW. Philadelphia submitted such a plan on September 30, 1969.

Apparently, Judge Cox approved school desegregation plans that allowed the use of a freedom of choice program. It is unclear from the Fifth Circuit decision on November 7, 1969 in United States v. Hinds County School Board, 423 F.2d 1264 (5th Cir. 1969), if Philadelphia proposed a freedom of choice plan that was approved by Judge Cox. In any event, all school districts in the consolidated action were ordered to comply with HEW's desegregation plans and were barred from continuing to use freedom of choice plans.

Later, on November 26, 1969, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund was granted permission by the Fifth Circuit to participate in this action as amicus curiae. After that, it appears that Philadelphia continued to submit annual reports to the court. This action was placed on the inactive docket on May 24, 1972 according to the 2010 order dismissing the case.

The case remained quiet until 2006. In 2006, the United States began a review of the Philadelphia case. After that review, the court determined that "there is no evidence that vestiges of segregation remain" and the case was dismissed on July 19, 2010 by District Judge Tom S. Lee.

Amelia Huckins - 05/14/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reporting
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Philadelphia Municipal Separate School District
Plaintiff Description The United States Department of Justice was the plaintiff.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1966 - 2010
Filing Year 1966
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing SD-MS-0035 : 30 Related School Desegregation Cases in the Southern District of Mississippi (S.D. Miss.)
Docket(s)
1368(N) (S.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0020-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/1974
Source: Pro Publica
General Documents
Agreed Order of Dismissal (S.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2010
Source: Pro Publica
Judges Lee, Tom Stewart (S.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0020-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Doar, John (District of Columbia)
SD-MS-0020-9001
Hauberg, Robert E. Jr. (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0020-9001
Katzenbach, Nicholas de B. (District of Columbia)
SD-MS-0020-9001
Owen, D. Robert (District of Columbia)
SD-MS-0020-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Alford, Herman (Pennsylvania)
SD-MS-0020-9001

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