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Case Name Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C. SD-NC-0015
Docket / Court docket unknown ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
In 1969, pro se plaintiff J. Alston Atkins brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against the State Board of Education of North Carolina, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and others to require the State and County Boards of ... read more >
In 1969, pro se plaintiff J. Alston Atkins brought this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against the State Board of Education of North Carolina, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and others to require the State and County Boards of Education to provide a racially integrated unitary school system. The suit was initially dismissed in district court because of issues with standing: Mr Atkins argued that he had standing to bring this action because he was a taxpayer, the grandparent of children attending public schools, and an African-American. After the district court found Atkins had no standing, the parents of his grandchildren, the Allens, intervened in the suit. The Fourth Circuit then vacated the judgment and permitted the district court to either substitute the Allens as plaintiffs or consolidate the case with similar actions brought by other plaintiffs. Atkins v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 418 F.2d 874 (4th Cir. 1969).

Once the Allens were substituted as plaintiffs, the district court considered the substance of the complaint. Plaintiffs sought, among other relief, to restrain the issuance and sale of school bonds, arguing they would be used to promote a segregated school system. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants, holding that “any present or future controversy over the expenditure of the proceeds of the school bond issue does not affect their validity, the right of the county to issue them, or its obligation to pay the principal and interest as they become due.” Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 447 F.2d 960 (4th Cir. 1971). The Fourth Circuit affirmed this decision and suggested that when the matter is returned to district court, it be consolidated with Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, because the plaintiffs had become more receptive to consolidation.

In April 1972, Chief Judge Gordon of the Middle District of North Carolina dismissed this case for failure to state a claim. In the intervening time between the partial summary judgment decision and this dismissal, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education was ordered to desegregate its school system in the Scott decision. The Middle District had approved the school district’s plan, which it found “fully and completely eliminated [its] segregated dual system,” The court noted that, while there may be aesthetic differences across schools, there was at that time no correlation between a school’s aesthetic and the race of students attending those schools. The Fourth Circuit affirmed this decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.

This case is closed.

Available Opinions
Atkins v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C., 418 F.2d 874 (4th Cir. 1969) (vacating the district court finding of no standing and remanding to district court for substitution of the Allens as plaintiffs).
Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C. , 447 F.2d 960 (4th Cir. 1971) (affirming partial summary judgment of district court and remanding for consideration of consolidation with Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education).
Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N. C. , 55 F.R.D. 350 (M.D.N.C. 1972), aff’d, 473 F.2d 906 (4th Cir. 1973)

Bryce Freeman - 02/04/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Education
Funding
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State Board of Education
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education
Plaintiff Description Parents of an African-American student in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 1969
Case Closing Year 1973
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing SD-NC-0016 : Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ. (M.D. N.C.)
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion (418 F.2d 874)
SD-NC-0015-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/25/1969
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (447 F.2d 960)
SD-NC-0015-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/09/1971
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (55 F.R.D. 350) (M.D. N.C.)
SD-NC-0015-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/03/1972
Source: Westlaw
Judges Butzner, John Decker Jr. (E.D. Va., Fourth Circuit)
SD-NC-0015-0001
Craven, James Braxton Jr. (W.D.N.C., Fourth Circuit)
SD-NC-0015-0001
Gordon, Eugene Andrew (M.D. N.C.)
SD-NC-0015-0003
Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (Fourth Circuit)
SD-NC-0015-0002
Russell, Donald Stuart (Fourth Circuit, D.S.C.)
SD-NC-0015-0002
Winter, Harrison Lee (D. Md., Fourth Circuit)
SD-NC-0015-0001 | SD-NC-0015-0002

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