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.

April 20, 1971 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County


Not all public did not require all schools in a district to reflect the district's racial composition, but that the existence of all-white and all-black schools must be shown not to result from segregation policies.

Where do we see it today?

We see it today in the school choice plan, this plan divided the city into four large attendance zones based on neighborhoods. They had a choice of three schools including a "home school" that was in their neighborhood. If they chose the "home school" they were guaranteed entrance. For the other two school you would have to take an enrollment exam.