NSFNS: Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 50 Years

Levine Museum of the New SouthLive Events, New South for the New Southerner

April 20, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971). A ruling that made Charlotte-a segregated southern city-the nation’s test case for court-ordered busing, and eventually created one of the country’s most integrated school districts. Join us for a discussion on this historic event with some of the most authoritative voices on the case: James Ferguson, Arthur Griffin, Frye Gaillard, and Pamela Grundy.

Our panelists bring unique and intimate insight into this topic, and will provide historical background on the case, Charlotte’s response to the decision, the successes and challenges of implementing the mandate, Judge Potter’s eventual reversal of the decision, as well as some insights into current issues threatening education equality.


Meet the Panelists:

Attorney James FergusonAttorney James Ferguson is a founding partner in the first integrated law firm in North Carolina that represented the Swann and other black families who sued Charlotte Mecklenburg School System for maintaining segregation in 1965. 

 

 

Arthur GriffinArthur Griffin, is a Charlotte native that attended segregated schools and became one of the city’s most vocal equal education advocates—but more importantly, served on the school board and led it through a period when busing was court-mandated. 

 

 

Frye GaillardFrye Gaillard, served as a longtime race relations reporter and writer who relocated to Charlotte in 1972 to take an editor’s and columnist’s position with the Charlotte Observer a year after the Swann decision, and eventually produced one of the more authoritative works on the Supreme Court case, entitled The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

Pamela GrundyPamela Grundy has served as a community historian and education activist in the city for several decades, and recently produced a groundbreaking work entitled Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle for Educational Equality