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Case Name Prigden & North Carolina Teachers Association v. Weldon City Board of Education SD-NC-0011
Docket / Court 1019-CIVIL ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
On March 7, 1967, the plaintiff brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiff, an African-American teacher, sued defendant Weldon City Board of Education, alleging that she had been fired on the basis of race and that the Board's process ... read more >
On March 7, 1967, the plaintiff brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiff, an African-American teacher, sued defendant Weldon City Board of Education, alleging that she had been fired on the basis of race and that the Board's process for hiring, firing and assigning teachers was racially discriminatory. The North Carolina Teachers Association intervened as a plaintiff in the suit.

On June 14, 1967, the district court (Judge John Larkins) concluded that the plaintiff's individual claim of racial discrimination had no merit but that her class action claim about the Board's process for teacher assignment did. On August 15, 1967, Judge Larkins entered a consent order granting injunctive relief against the Board's racially discriminatory practice of hiring, firing and assigning teachers. Under the order, the Board agreed to take steps to integrate faculty and to file an annual report to the court on its progress. Such reports were filed for four years, 1967 through 1970.

Meanwhile, the Board submitted a desegregation plan to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in September 1968 pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plan, which HEW approved, laid out how the Board would undertake desegregation efforts starting in the 1969-70 school year. It combined the district's two high schools but continued freedom-of-choice in the elementary schools. For 1970-71, the Board proposed dividing the district into attendance zones with combined schools. The Board also stated that it would reassign teachers on a non-racial basis.

In 1970, HEW informed the Board that it was operating a unitary school district and thus was preliminarily in compliance with the requirements of the Civil Rights Act.

The docket in this case ends in 1970.

Post-script
There was apparently never a private student plaintiff lawsuit against the Weldon City Board of Education. This litigation concerned teacher integration; on the student front, the Board worked with HEW to achieve unitary status without a lawsuit, through the implementation of HEW-approved plans. Nonetheless, the reality on the ground remained stark for students -- so much so that around 2010, the North Carolina Center for Civil Rights issued a report concluding that the existence of three separate districts in the area (Weldon City, Halifax County and Roanoke Rapids) amounted to an equal protection violation. In 2015, a group of parents, the NAACP and a non-profit sued the Halifax County Commissioners in state court to force consolidation of the three districts, in Silver v. Halifax County Bd. of Commissioners; more details compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Preliminary relief denied
Reporting
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Weldon City
Plaintiff Description African-American teacher suing for herself on one claim and on behalf of all others similarly situated on another claim
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1967 - 1970
Case Closing Year 1970
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1019-CIVIL (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/1970
Source: Pro Publica
General Documents
Complaint
SD-NC-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/1967
Source: Pro Publica
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment] (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/1967
Source: Pro Publica
Order [Granting Injunctive Relief] (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/1967
Source: Pro Publica
[Review of Desegregation Plan]
SD-NC-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/27/1969
Source: Pro Publica
[Re: Information from Weldon Board of Education]
SD-NC-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/1979
Judges Larkins, John Davis Jr. (E.D.N.C.)
SD-NC-0011-0003 | SD-NC-0011-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chambers, Julius LeVonne (New York)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004 | SD-NC-0011-9000
Greenberg, Jack (New York)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004
Harper, Conrad K. (New York)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004
Nabrit, James M. III (New York)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004
Pearson, Conrad O. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004 | SD-NC-0011-9000
Walker, James R. Jr. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0011-0002 | SD-NC-0011-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Allsbrook, Richard B. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0011-0004 | SD-NC-0011-9000
Allsbrook, Julian R. (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0011-9000
James, John (North Carolina)
SD-NC-0011-0004 | SD-NC-0011-9000

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