University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lee and United States of America v. Macon County School Board (S.D. Ala. cases) SD-AL-0022
Docket / Court 1:70-cv-05945-M ( S.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Special Collection Civil Rights Division Archival Collection
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This Clearinghouse entry discusses the post 1970 proceedings in Lee v. Macon County, a seminal Alabama desegregation case. That case originated in the Middle District of Alabama and was transferred to a three-judge district court which supervised school desegregation across the state ... read more >
This Clearinghouse entry discusses the post 1970 proceedings in Lee v. Macon County, a seminal Alabama desegregation case. That case originated in the Middle District of Alabama and was transferred to a three-judge district court which supervised school desegregation across the state. However, after 1970, the statewide case was dissolved and desegregation cases in individual school districts were sent to the judicial districts that encompassed them. This Clearinghouse entry describes the Lee litigation in the Southern District of Alabama after 1970. To read about what happened between 1963, when the case was filed, and 1970, please see Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Ed. (SD-AL-0002)

Washington County

In September of 1976 in Washington County Alabama, the National Education Association (NEA), a teachers union, intervened in the case to challenge the district's policies with respect to the hiring and placement of Black teachers. The NEA alleged that the district's policies violated the 1970 desegregation order and whether several individual staffing decisions were lawful. 456 F. Supp. 1175. This litigation reached the Court of Appeals (the Fifth, and later Eleventh, Circuits) twice. 625 F.2d 1235; 682 F.2d 894.

Conecuh County

In Conecuh County, both the United States and the NEA both intervened to allege deficiencies in the county's desegregation order. Both motions were denied, but the NEA later appealed to the Fifth Circuit to challenge the hiring and firing of Black teachers. Finding that additional fact finding was needed, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case in July of 1973. 482 F.2d 1253. The District Court eventually dismissed the case in 1974 (1974 WL 10550) and was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit later that year (498 F.2d 1090).

Marengo County

After the adoption and implementation of a desegregation plan, District Judge William Brevard Hand found that Marengo County's schools had reached unitary status in 1977. The United States objected to Judge Hand's decision and filed a motion requesting that the county develop a new plan to desegregate. Judge Hand agreed, finding in an August 7, 1978, opinion that the district had "done little in complying" with the desegregation orders and imposing additional requirements on it. 454 F. Supp 918. However, more information about that litigation is not publicly available.

Dockets

In the Southern District, Lee was assigned a new docket number, not reflected in the record but later changed to 1:70-cv-05945-M. It is unclear how this docket was used, as it is not available in the record. The following cases and docket numbers are off-shoots of the original 1963 litigation:

  • Lee v. Washington County Board of Education (docket: 5945-70-H)

  • Lee v. Conecuh County Board of Education (docket: 5945-79-H)

  • Lee v. Marengo County Board of Education (docket: 5945-70-H)

However, these cases probably represent only a portion of the Lee desegregation litigation conducted in the Southern District of Alabama. Given that these cases happened prior to the advent of electronic filing, it is difficult for the Clearinghouse to find records for them.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 11/14/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Hire
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Buildings
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Various City & County School Boards in the Southern District of Alabama
Plaintiff Description Black students and their parents across the Southern District of Alabama. The United States also intervened in support of the plainiffs.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 1970
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Case Listing SD-AL-0002 : Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Ed. (M.D. Ala.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
U.S. Court of Appeals
07/20/1973
Opinion (482 F.2d 1253)
SD-AL-0022-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D. Ala.
02/07/1974
Opinion (1974 WL 10550)
SD-AL-0022-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/07/1974
Opinion (498 F.2d 1090)
SD-AL-0022-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D. Ala.
08/07/1978
Opinion (454 F.Supp. 918)
SD-AL-0022-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D. Ala.
09/06/1978
Opinion (456 F.Supp. 1175)
SD-AL-0022-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/18/1980
Opinion (625 F.2d 1235)
SD-AL-0022-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/09/1982
Opinion (682 F.2d 894)
SD-AL-0022-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (E.D. La., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0006 | SD-AL-0022-0008
Bell, Griffin Boyette (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0006 | SD-AL-0022-0008
Clark, Charles (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0005
Fay, Peter Thorp (S.D. Fla., Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0004
Godbold, John Cooper (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0006 | SD-AL-0022-0008
Hand, William Brevard (S.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0001 | SD-AL-0022-0002
Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0004
Morgan, Lewis Render (N.D. Ga., Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0005
Tate, Albert Jr. (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0005
Thomas, Daniel Holcombe (S.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0007
Young, George Cressler (N.D. Fla., S.D. Fla., M.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
SD-AL-0022-0004

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