Funding Higher Education

What is the Adams v. Richardson case?

The celebrated Adams v. Richardson case addressed the dismantling of dual systems of public higher education that existed well after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which mandated, among other benefits to black Americans, the removal of racial discrimination in education. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and Welfare found that ten states still had segregated higher education systems during the period of January 1969 until February 1970. The mandate referred to those public colleges that received federal funds. HEW required each state to submit a desegregation plan. Five states then submitted plans that were unacceptable while the other five disregarded the mandate altogether. John Quincy Adams, a black Mississippian whose name appeared first in the list of plaintiffs, and others filed suit against HEW Secretary Elliot L. Richardson to force him to follow the congressional mandate and enforce Title VI in the states. The case was heard in the U .S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, June 12, 1973. This case, and several others, was instrumental in breaking down barriers that prevented African Americans and other minorities from claiming their rights as U.S. citizens. The case also had a positive impact on public and private black colleges in several areas and underscored the need for their continued existence.


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