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Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

United States Supreme Court
402 U.S. 1 (1971)


After the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the state of North Carolina applied the decision by ending segregation through a school assignment plan based on neighborhoods approved by the Court. However, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (defendant) consolidated school districts from the city itself and within its surrounding areas, the practical effect was that the majority of African American children still attended segregated schools because of the geographic location of their residences. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought suit in federal district court on behalf of Swann (plaintiff), an African American school-age child, challenging continued segregation by the Board and seeking a judgment from the court that busing of students to different school districts was required for desegregation. The district court agreed with Swann, but the court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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