SUMMERTON, SC (AP) — Civil rights activists in South Carolina plan to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to rename the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision that banned racial segregation in public schools across the country.
In the next three months, a group representing former plaintiffs and their descendants plans to file papers asking the Supreme Court to reorder the five 1954 cases that led to the Brown verdict, reports The Post and Courier reports. The group, which has teamed up with an attorney in Camden, South Carolina, wants to replace Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka with a South Carolina case that was filed earlier but is less well known.
Briggs v. Elliott is a South Carolina case named for Harry Briggs, one of 20 parents who filed a lawsuit against Clarendon County School Board President RW Elliott.
The group sees the name change as a way of restoring South Carolina to the cradle of the desegregation of public education movement.
“Everyone else lies down and says you can’t do that,” said prominent South Carolina civil rights photographer Cecil Williams, who spearheaded the effort.
“Many will call it crazy,” he added. “It could be laughed out of court.”
For Williams and the 20 families who supported the Briggs case, trying to right what they see as an injustice is worth the effort.
“If this country ever wants to come to terms with its history, this is a good place, on the 70th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education,” Williams said.
The Briggs case, filed in May 1950, was the first of its kind to be tried in federal court. The Brown case came almost nine months later.
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