Guide to the Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project Records, 1970-1983 AIS.1993.02

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project Records
Creator
Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project (Pa.).
Collection Number
AIS.1993.02
Date [inclusive]
1970-1983
Extent
0.35 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract
On September 28, 1978, Carletta Washington et al. filed a class-action suit against the School District of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Board of Education, and the Superintendent of Schools requiring the defendants to develop a local plan for system-wide desegregation of city schools. The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberty Foundation joined forces with local churches to aid in the desegregation of Pittsburgh's schools.

Preferred Citation

Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project Records, 1970-1983, AIS.1993.02, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberty Foundation disagreed with the plan for desegregation in Pittsburgh's schools based on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. On September 28, 1978, Carletta Washington et al. filed a class-action suit against the School District of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Board of Education, and the Superintendent of Schools. The suit required the defendants to develop a local plan for system-wide desegregation of city schools. The suit alleged that the schools were in fact segregated, and according to the U.S. Constitution, this was an infringement of citizen's rights. The case became known as Washington et al. vs. the Pittsburgh School Board of Education. Helen Seager was hired by the American Civil Liberties Union to conduct research, garner public support, and keep the defendants informed. Her research became part of the class-action civil suit "Factual Allegations" section.

The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberty Foundation joined forces with local churches to aid in the desegregation of Pittsburgh's schools. The intent of the Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project wasn't to come up with a specific proposal for desegregation, but to force the school board to come up with one that would be equitable for all. The final disposition of the case cannot be determined from the documents, but ultimately, federal action banned segregation because it violated constitutional rights. This in essence backed up the civil case.

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Scope and Content Notes

The records contain copies of the class-action suit, as well as local newspaper articles concerning desegregation from years 1978 to 1983. Newsletters from October 1978 to June 1979, contain the most helpful information for the chronology of events, and attitudes. The newsletters were written by Helen Seager. The last copy of the newsletter in June of 1979 stated that the next newsletter would occur in mid-September 1979. However, it either wasn't written, or wasn't part of the existing records. The records show the active involvement of the local union of Black Christian churches. Many of the records are reference works and journal articles used in preparation of the civil case.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, August 19, 1993

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Helen Seager in 1993.

Processing Information

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Kate Colligan on April 28, 1999. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Notis ID number:AKH0551

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Civil Liberty Foundation. Pittsburgh Chapter.
  • Pittsburgh Board of Public Education (Pa.).
  • Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project (Pa.).

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Social conditions

Subject(s)

  • Busing for school integration -- Pennsylvania --Pittsburgh
  • Discrimination in education -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Education
  • Education -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • School integration -- United States
  • Social action

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Previous Citation

Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project Records, 1970-1983, AIS.1993.02, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project, records, 1970-1983, ais 93:2, Archives Service Center University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Legal Documents, 1978-1979 

Scope and Content Notes

Contains Class Action Complaint filed September 28, 1978 against School District of Pittsburgh and the Board of Education of the School District of Pittsburgh by Carletta Washington, a minor, and her Mother Paulet Washington et al.; Certified copy of Plaintiffs' Memorandum in opposition to Defendants' Preliminary Objections August 31, 1978; Memo from Pat Miller, esq., on applicable law, what we must show, burden of proof, remedy plaintiffs' legal team of Mike Louik, Gary Davis, Carl Cooper, and to Helen Seager; Opinion of Judge Flaherty on January 19, 1979 to deny defendants' motion to stay.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically

  BoxFolder
Legal Documents, 1978-1979 11

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Series  II. Report and Notes, 1978 

Scope and Content Notes

Includes "The Colored Schools of Pittsburgh and Allegheny from 1834 to 1934?" draft written and researched by Helen Seager, and was basis for   "Factual Allegations" on pages 6-9 of the class action complaint. The collection also contains a map of Pittsburgh revised February 1971 showing locations of public schools, parochial schools, private schools, orphan's homes, settlement houses. Other informations includes a report by Urban League of Pittsburgh of Black percentage of the student population of Pittsburgh Public Schools from 1967 - 1977, a chart of membership history 1936 to 1977? of white, black and total population of school children, as well as secondary sources used by Helen Seager for her draft.

Arrangement

Arranged by subject

  Folder
Report and Notes, 1978 2

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Series  III. Newsletters, 1978-1983 

Scope and Content Notes

Includes newsletters summarizing the court case and status of Washington et al. vs. School District of Pittsburgh; Membership of Coalition for Integrated Schools to date on May 22, 1979.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically

  Folder
Newsletters, 1978-1983 3

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Series  IV. Church Involvement, 1978 - 1979 

Scope and Content Notes

Contains policy statement by Progressive Action Coalition (A union of Black Christian churches for social justice; Memo to Dwight French, of Christian Associates from Helen Seager outlining position of Pittsburgh School Desegregation Project.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically

Folder
4
  Folder
Church Involvement, 1978-1979 4

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Series  V. Pittsburgh Newspaper Articles/Press Releases on Desegregation, December 1978 - December 1983 

Scope and Content Notes

Includes newspaper 12-13-79 article "Pittsburgh Schools Rank with Worst in Civil Rights";Article on integration focus in Pittsburgh 2-25-80; Philadelphia Inquirer article 1-18-83 about Pittsburgh's schools written on   "Selling the Public on Public Schools"; Press releases from School Board of Pittsburgh.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically

  Folder
Pittsburgh Newspaper Articles/Press Releases on Desegregation, December 1978 - December 1983 5

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Series  VI. Press Notes, 1970-1978 

Scope and Content Notes

Includes and written notes presumably by Helen Seager outlining newsworthy national events related to desegregation

  Folder
Press Notes, 1970-1978 6-8

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Series  VII. General Desegregation Reference Articles, 1972-1979 

Scope and Content Notes

Contains article by Gary Orfield "How to Make Desegregation Work: The Adaptation of Schools to their Newly-Integrated Student Bodies"; Includes 1979 monograph by Dr. David Bennett   The Impact of Court Ordered Desegregation: A Defendant's View; National Institute of Education's  A Citizen's Guide to School Desegregation Law.; Contains paperback references by religious organizations such as  The Role of the Community in the School Desegregation/ Integration Process.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by Author

  Folder
General Desegregation Reference Articles, 1972-1979 9-11

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