University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board: The Second Battle of New Orleans, Chronicles of the Case and the Judge"
Date Summer 2015
Author James E. Wright III
Abstract Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board was a decade-long struggle to have the law as declared by the U.S. Supreme Court enforced on the public schools in New Orleans.2 Because it was an epic struggle, it has been called the Second Battle of New Orleans. 3 In its day, some sixty years ago, it was simply referred to as the New Orleans school crisis. 4 Today, it is a dark and long forgotten chapter in Louisiana history. J. Skelly Wright, the federal district judge to whom the case fell by chance in 1952, 5 faced down the fury of Louisiana's Governor, legislature, and virtually its entire white population. Before it was over, Judge Wright had become the most known and, perhaps, the most hated man in Louisiana, his birthplace and home. Throughout it all, he had no blueprint to follow. Never before had a federal district judge been thrust into the role of implementing the amorphous mandate of Brown-"with all deliberate speed"-in the community in which he lived nor had a federal judge been forced to draft a desegregation plan for a school board to implement. Simply put, it had never been done before, a theme which would come to define Judge Wright's career on the federal bench. Indeed, the Bush case was recognized early as an important case by The Louisiana State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, which issued a report in 1961 stating that: The school crisis in New Orleans was one of the most significant events of 1960, not only for the United States but for the entire world. Race relations is the most momentous domestic problem in our country.7 Of the many noteworthy cases Judge Wright decided over his long judicial career, this would certainly be his defining case. This is the story of the Bush case and the judge who presided over it.
Source Loyola Law Review
Citation 61 Loy. L. Rev. 135 2015


This Resource Relates To
case Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board (SD-LA-0001)

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