Civil Rights: 1960s & 1970s
Stevens v. Dobs, Inc. (1973)—the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit concluded that an apartment building owner's justification for rejecting the black plaintiff''s application for an apartment--that he had an offensive odor--though credited by the district court, was suggestive of racial prejudice and was a pretext for unlawful racial discrimination.
Cotton v. Scotland Neck City Bd. of Educ. (1972)—the United States Supreme Court ruled that the North Carolina legislature's creation of a predominantly white Scotland Neck school system in the midst of a majority black county school district, which was in the process of dismantling its dual school system, was an unconstitutional impediment to the disestablishment of the dual school system. The case was reported with United States v. Scotland Neck City Board of Education, 407 U.S. 484 (1972).
North Carolina State Bd. of Educ. v. Swann (1971)—United States Supreme Court held that the North Carolina's "anti-busing statute" was an unconstitutional infringement upon the power of courts and school boards to dismantle illegally segregated school systems.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ. (1971)—black parents brought suit against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education's maintenance of a racially segregated, dual public school system. After a seven-year court battle involving multiple proceedings, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision ordering the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board to implement a desegregation plan which included the use of extensive busing. This case paved the way for court-ordered busing throughout the United States where necessary for effective desegregation in districts with illegally segregated schools. Julius Chambers argued the case in the Supreme Court.
Jenkins v. Averett (1970)—the firm brought a claim of police brutality. The Fourth Circuit's case established (for a time) the principle that a plaintiff need not prove intent to injure nor evil motive by a police officer in order to win a suit for excessive force by the police under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
Nesbit v. Statesville City Bd. of Educ. (1969)—which involved three separate cases, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, for the first time, abandoned the principle of "all deliberate speed" in desegregating schools and directed immediate, mid-year desegregation. The cases caused a dramatic acceleration in the pace of desegregation throughout the circuit
Nesmith v. Young Men's Christian Assoc. (1968) and Wooten v. Moore (1968)—black plaintiffs sought the desegregation of, respectively, the Raleigh-YMCA and a barbecue restaurant. The Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in both cases by expansively construing coverage under the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and, in the case of the YMCA, restrictively interpreting its private club exception.