Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Board of Education

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Board of Education

402 U.S. 1 (1971), authorized the use of busing, racial quotas, and gerrymandered school districts to wipe out the lingering effects of segregation in Southern schools. More than 15 years after Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), many Southern schools remained segregated. Having written guidelines for districts in the wake of Brown, and having already done away with Brown's “all deliberate speed” formula in favor of one mandating desegregation “now” (Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, Virginia, 391 U.S. 430 (1968)), the Court delivered in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County its longest desegregation opinion to date: 30 pages, complete with “mathematical ratios” for school composition and an endorsement of busing and redistricting as means to achieve the desired end.

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