Brown v. Moore

The Leila G. Brown v John L. Moore voter dilution case involved the discriminatory nature of at-large school board elections in Mobile County. Plaintiffs challenged the at-large method of electing members of the board, claiming that it denied African American an equal say in the running of the schools. The district court found for the plaintiffs and instructed the county to institute district voting in its November 1978 elections.

The county appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the court’s decision. The county then appealed to the Supreme Court, which, in the case of Williams v. Brown, reversed the district court’s decision. Plaintiffs then requested a preliminary injunction that would preserve the district voting system until a decision on remand could be made, which the district court granted.

The court investigated the history behind the at-large election of school board members and found that the practice dated back to 1876 (see Alabama Acts 242). It held that Mobile County’s system of electing school board members was discriminatory and enjoined the school commissioners from holding any further elections under the at-large system.

Other companion cases to Brown v Moore were those of Brown v Board of School Commissioners and Brown v Moore and Williams.

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