Continued operation of racially segregated schools under the
standard of "all deliberate speed" is no longer constitutionally
permissible. School districts must immediately terminate dual
school systems based on race and operate only unitary school
systems. The Court of Appeals' order of August 28, 1969, delaying
that court's earlier mandate for desegregation in certain
Mississippi school districts is therefore vacated, and that court
is directed to enter an order, effective immediately, that the
schools in those districts be operated on a unitary basis. While
the schools are being thus operated, the District Court may
consider any amendments of the order which may be proposed, but
such amendments may become effective only with the Court of
Vacated and remanded.
Page 396 U. S. 20
This case comes to the Court on a petition for certiorari to the
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The petition was granted on
October 9, 1969, and the case set down for early argument. The
question presented is one of paramount importance, involving as it
does the denial of fundamental rights to many thousands of school
children, who are presently attending Mississippi schools under
segregated conditions contrary to the applicable decisions of this
Court. Against this background the Court of Appeals should have
denied all motions for additional time because continued operation
of segregated schools under a standard of allowing "all deliberate
speed" for desegregation is no longer constitutionally permissible.
Under explicit holdings of this Court, the obligation of every
school district is to terminate dual school systems at once and to
operate now and hereafter only unitary schools. Griffin v.
School Board, 377 U. S. 218
377 U. S. 234
(1964); Green v. County School Board of New Kent County,
391 U. S. 430
391 U. S.
-439, 391 U. S. 442
It is hereby adjudged, ordered, and decreed:
1. The Court of Appeals' order of August 28, 1969, is vacated,
and the case is remanded to that court to issue its decree and
order, effective immediately, declaring that each of the school
districts here involved may no longer operate a dual school system
based on race or color, and directing that they begin immediately
to operate as unitary school systems within which no person is to
be effectively excluded from any school because of race or
Page 396 U. S. 21
2. The Court of Appeals may, in its discretion, direct the
schools here involved to accept all or any part of the August 11,
1969, recommendations of the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare, with any modifications which that court deems proper
insofar as those recommendations insure a totally unitary school
system for all eligible pupils without regard to race or color.
The Court of Appeals may make its determination and enter its
order without further arguments or submissions.
3. While each of these school systems is being operated as a
unitary system under the order of the Court of Appeals, the
District Court may hear and consider objections thereto or proposed
amendments thereof, provided, however, that the Court of Appeals'
order shall be complied with in all respects while the District
Court considers such objections or amendments, if any are made. No
amendment shall become effective before being passed upon by the
Court of Appeals.
4. The Court of Appeals shall retain jurisdiction to insure
prompt and faithful compliance with its order, and may modify or
amend the same as may be deemed necessary or desirable for the
operation of a unitary school system.
5. The order of the Court of Appeals dated August 28, 1969,
having been vacated and the case remanded for proceedings in
conformity with this order, the judgment shall issue forthwith and
the Court of Appeals is requested to give priority to the execution
of this judgment as far as possible and necessary.