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Case Name Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education SD-NC-0007
Docket / Court 66-606-CIVIL ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Case Summary
In February 1966, the plaintiffs brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children by and through their parents, sued the Beaufort County Board of Education to enjoin the operation of ... read more >
In February 1966, the plaintiffs brought this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, African-American minor school children by and through their parents, sued the Beaufort County Board of Education to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system. They were represented by, among others, Jack Greenberg and Derrick A. Bell (for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund). In 1967, the North Carolina Teachers Association intervened as a plaintiff.

Prior to the filing of this case, the Board had taken minimal steps to desegregate in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. Pursuant to the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it devised a freedom-of-choice plan -- but apart from that, it took no action. On August 23, 1967, the district court (Judge John Larkins) entered an order governing desegregation for the 1967-68 school year, including freedom-of-choice and also some reassignment for both students and faculty. The Board did little to comply with the order and thus on August 5, 1968, the district court ordered the Board to implement a new desegregation plan, eliminating freedom of choice. As Judge Larkins concluded
The defendants are maintaining a racially dual public school system. Freedom of choice is an unconstitutional and impermissible means for desegregation for the Beaufort County Public Schools. It is therefore imperative that an order be entered directing that the defendants implement a plan consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court.
Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 294 F.Supp. 179 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 5, 1968)

As part of the court's order, the Board was required to report on the racial breakdown of student and faculty assignments in the district's schools. After being fired and also examining those statistics, a number of black educators in the district brought their own lawsuit, alleging continued racial discrimination. On September 30, 1971, the district court held that the Board had failed to meet its faculty desegregation obligations and was continuing to discriminate on the basis of race with respect to hiring and firing decisions. The court ordered the Board to reinstate the fired educators with back pay and to take further steps to restore the racial balance of the district's faculty. James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 348 F.Supp. 711 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 1971). The Fourth Circuit subsequently affirmed the district court. James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 465 F.2d 477 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 1972).

The district court dismissed the underlying school desegregation case in 1972. Unfortunately, we were not able to find any more details about -- or documents from -- the court's decision to close the case a mere four years after the implementation of the Board's non-freedom-of-choice plan.

Available Opinions
Boomer v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 294 F.Supp. 179 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 5, 1968)
James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 348 F.Supp. 711 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 1971)
James v Beaufort County Board of Education, 465 F.2d 477 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 1972)

Greg Margolis - 02/27/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Discrimination Prohibition
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reporting
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Beaufort County
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were African-American minor school children; the North Carolina Teachers Association also intervened as a plaintiff
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1967 - 1972
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
606-CIVIL (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/1972
Source: Pro Publica
General Documents
Opinion and Order (294 F.Supp. 179) (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/05/1968
Source: Pro Publica
[Order] (348 F.Supp. 711) (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/11/1971
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Order] (465 F.2d 477)
SD-NC-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/28/1972
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Judges Blatt, Solomon Jr. (D.S.C.)
SD-NC-0007-0003
Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (Fourth Circuit)
SD-NC-0007-0003
Larkins, John Davis Jr. (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0007-0001 | SD-NC-0007-0002
Russell, Donald Stuart (Fourth Circuit, D.S.C.)
SD-NC-0007-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chambers, Julius LeVonne (New York)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Greenberg, Jack (New York)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Pearson, C. O. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Knott, Lee Jr. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Mayo, William P. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Ross, L. H. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0007-9000
Tucker, Irvin B (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0007-9000

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