Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Board of Education
Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 1971, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education dealt with the desegregation plan adopted by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Chief Justice Warren Burger provided the opinion of the court, and its decision was unanimous. The product of several years of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People litigation, the Swann decision led the Court to busing as a solution to insignificant desegregated public schools.
When Swann was argued before the Supreme Court, the school system was one of the largest and most diverse in the United States. The system included schools in downtown Charlotte and in smaller suburban communities. In 1965, the system began implementing a federal court-approved desegregation plan that stipulated geographic zoning while permitting voluntary student transfers. The plan proved ineffectual. During the 1968-1969 school year, the school system's student population numbered approximately 84,000, a figure that included 24,000 African-American students.NAACP litigation, the Swann decision lent the imprimatur of the Court to busing as a solution to inadequately desegregated public schools.