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Case Name Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ. SD-NC-0016
Docket / Court C-174-WS-68 ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
In October 1968, plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education (the Board) alleging a racially discriminatory dual system of public education and seeking the complete desegregation of the schools through preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. The ... read more >
In October 1968, plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education (the Board) alleging a racially discriminatory dual system of public education and seeking the complete desegregation of the schools through preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. The case was assigned to Judge Jack Murphy Gordon.

Both the plaintiffs and the Board proposed desegregation plans for the district’s elementary, junior high, and senior high schools. Judge Gordon rejected the plaintiff’s proposed plan, known as the Larsen plan, for the junior high and senior high schools, finding the proposed busing would have gone far beyond what was constitutionally required. At the same time, Judge Gordon rejected the Board’s proposed plan for elementary schools, and thus ordered the integration of 8 such schools. In one set of schools, the population was to be 61% white/49% black, and the other set would be 66% white/34% black, both within a five percent margin. Also included in this order was a prohibition of minority-to-majority school transfers, with few exceptions, and a liberal majority-to-minority transfer policy, including the assurance of transportation. The Board requested reconsideration of the order, arguing the cost was exorbitant, but the district court denied the request arguing the order met the reasonableness requirements of the Fourth Circuit. Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bd. of Educ., 317 F.Supp. 453 (M.D.N.C. 1970).

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the Fourth Circuit consolidated Scott with a number of other cases from North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. On June 10, 1971, the Circuit vacated the judgments of the district courts in these desegregation cases and called for new briefs, arguments, and desegregation plans from the parties. Citing Swann, the court emphasized the importance of eliminating segregation even when it is not de jure. The Board was to submit a new plan by July 1, with the district court holding an hearing by July 16, to allow time for the implementation of the plan by the start of the 1971-72 school year. The court also suggested the Larsen plan, with modifications, would meet the requirements of Swann. Adams v. Sch. Dist. No. 5, Orangeburg Cty., S.C., 444 F.2d 99 (4th Cir. 1971).

In response to the Adams decision, the Board proposed changing from a 6-3-3 grade structure to a 4-2-2-2 structure, and all schools were to have white majority student bodies, although not all would reach the proportionality of the district as a whole. Plaintiffs objected that: (1) the choice of schools for grades 1-4 would result in a disproportionate number of black students being assigned to schools far from their homes and (2) the plan would convert the only remaining high school in the black community to junior high status. The district court approved the plan without modification, to be implemented in the 1971-72 term.

Chief Justice Burger, as Circuit Justice, denied a petition to stay the enforcement of the order, but expressed concern that school boards and lower federal courts were misreading the April school decisions as calling for substantial racial balance in all or most of the individual schools in a system. Chief Justice Burger noted Swann had expressly negated any requirement that all schools must reflect the racial composition of the entire school population. District judges were instead to use racial balance as a starting point in the shaping of a remedy. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bd. of Educ. v. Scott, 404 U.S. 1221 (1971)

While an opinion announcing unitary status has not been located, it appears such a finding was made in 1971. See Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ.400 F.Supp. 65 (M.D.N.C. 1974) (an opinion concerning attorney’s fees, stating that the district court found the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system to have achieved unitary status on December 3, 1971). The case appears closed.

Available Opinions
Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bd. of Educ., 317 F.Supp. 453 (M.D.N.C. 1970)
Adams v. Sch. Dist. No. 5, Orangeburg Cty., S.C., 444 F.2d 99 (4th Cir. 1971)
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bd. of Educ. v. Scott, 404 U.S. 1221 (1971)
Scott v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth Cty. Bd. of Educ.400 F.Supp. 65 (M.D.N.C. 1974)

Bryce Freeman - 02/12/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Student assignment
General
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
Transportation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 1968
Case Closing Year 1971
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing SD-NC-0001 : Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Board of Education (W.D.N.C.)
SD-SC-0004 : Adams v. School District No. 5, Orangeburg County, SC (D.S.C.)
SD-NC-0015 : Allen v. State Bd. of Educ. of N.C. (M.D. N.C.)
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum and Order (317 F.Supp. 453) (M.D. N.C.)
SD-NC-0016-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/25/1970
Source: Google Scholar
Order and Opinion (444 F.2d 99)
SD-NC-0016-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/10/1971
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (92 S.Ct. 1236)
SD-NC-0016-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/31/1971
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum (400 F.Supp. 65) (M.D. N.C.)
SD-NC-0016-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/31/1974
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Boreman, Herbert Stephenson (N.D. W. Va., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Bryan, Albert Vickers (Fourth Circuit, FISC, E.D. Va.) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Butzner, John Decker Jr. (E.D. Va., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Craven, James Braxton Jr. (W.D.N.C., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Gordon, Eugene Andrew (M.D. N.C.) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0002 | SD-NC-0016-0003
Haynsworth, Clement Furman Jr. (Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Russell, Donald Stuart (D.S.C., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004
Winter, Harrison Lee (D. Md., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-NC-0016-0004

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