Delores CLARK et al., Appellants, v. The BOARD OF EDUCATION OF the LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT et
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
369 F.2d 661; 1966 U.S. App. LEXIS 4025
December 15, 1966
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, remanded.
JUDGES: Vogel, Chief Judge, Gibson, Circuit Judge, and Register, District Judge.
GIBSON, Circuit Judge.
This appeal presents another of a long series of complaints against the operation of the Little Rock School system and
specifically concerns the constitutionality of a school desegregation plan submitted by the Board of Education and
approved by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The appellants are five Negro
children acting for themselves and as representatives of a class of children similarly situated. The desegregation plan
is known generally as a "freedom of choice" plan.
The present case has numerous ancestors that have preceded it before this and other courts. The litigation began ten
years ago with the filing of a class action seeking the desegregation of the public schools of Little Rock, Arkansas,
Aaron v. Cooper, 143 F. Supp. 855 (E.D.Ark. 1956). The Board in that case proposed a gradual desegregation plan, to
be fully implemented by 1963, based upon geographical attendance zones. We approved that plan in Aaron v. Cooper,
243 F.2d 361 (8 Cir. 1957), [**2]
with the understanding that the District Court would retain jurisdiction to insure the
effectuation of the transition to a racially nondiscriminatory school system. The attempted implementation of the plan,
however, resulted in the well-known difficulties at Central High School in 1957. Continued official resistance to the law
resulted in the enjoining as part of the original Aaron case of various persons, including the Governor of Arkansas, from
interfering with the desegregation steps. Thomason v. Cooper, 254 F.2d 808 (8 Cir. 1958); Faubus v. United States,
254 F.2d 797 (8 Cir. 1958), cert. denied 358 U.S. 829, 79 S. Ct. 49, 3 L. Ed. 2d 68. We were then forced to deny an
attempt to place a two and one-half year moratorium on integration. Aaron v. Cooper, 257 F.2d 33 (8 Cir. 1958), affd.
358 U.S. 1, 78 S. Ct. 1401, 3 L. Ed. 2d 5. An "emergency session" of the Arkansas legislature in August 1958
resulted in the enactment of legislation under which the Governor closed the Little Rock schools for the 1958-1959
school year, which closing was subsequently held unconstitutional. Aaron v. McKinley, D.C., 173 F. Supp. 944 [**3]
(3-judge Court 1959), affd. sub nom. Faubus v. Aaron, 361 U.S. 197, 80 S. Ct. 291, 4 L. Ed. 2d 237. Thereafter, the
Board sought to lease the public school facilities to a private school system operating on a racially segregated basis.
This Court enjoined that transfer Aaron v. Cooper, 261 F.2d 97 (8 Cir. 1958).