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Darius Swann (2020), lead plaintiff in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

by Kirk Fox

Darius Swann was the lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. In 1964, Reverend Swann tried to send his 6-year old son James to an integrated elementary school in their neighborhood. James came home upset with a note from the principal that he must first attend an all-black school before applying to attend an integrated school. That led the Swanns to be the lead plaintiffs in the case that was decided in 1971. The court said that busing was a proper tool to use to desegregate schools.  

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Died: Sunday, March 8, 2020. (Who else died on March 8?)  


Details of death: Died at the age of 95.

Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways. 

Reverend Swann on integration: “Ultimately, we have to have an integrated society for us to survive. But I do not see it being practiced right now.” “I feel black people have made huge efforts to try to integrate society, and we have not been successful.” “So we feel that any energies we have to devote to that should be directed at improving things in our community and hoping that integration will come.” – Reverend Swann told the Charlotte Observer 

What they said about him: “Oh Rest In Power #DariusSwann, plaintiff is one of the most important & groundbreaking school desegregation cases, litigated by the great Julius Chambers” – LFD President Sherrilyn Ifill  

Full obituary: Washington Post 

Related lives: 

Inspired by Rosa Parks  

Thurgood Marshall, 20 Facts 

Wilbur Eggleston and Racial Integration in North Carolina 

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