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Little Rock School District v. Lorene Joshua

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Education | Desegregation

This long-standing school desegregation case addresses key educational equity issues, including
racial disparities in school discipline, student achievement, access to advanced placement and honors curriculum and inequities school facilities in three Arkansas school districts:  the Little Rock School District, the North Little Rock School District and the Pulaski County School District.  Each of these districts once illegally segregated students by race and were subjected to intra-district school desegregation norders.

The case is perhaps best known for the historic 1958 standoff in which then-Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used National Guard troops to literally block the schoolhouse door as African-American students known as the “Little Rock Nine” attempted to enter then all-white Central High School.  That matter wound its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Cooper v. Aaron, which rejected such acts of defiance against federal court desegregation orders.

In 1982, another dimension was added to the multi-district desegregation saga.  The Little Rock School District, joined by a group of parents now known as the “Joshua Intervenors,” file a new lawsuit  against the Pulaski County School District, the North Little Rock School district and the State of Arkansas, whose collective practices exacerbated racial segregation in Little Rock and Pulaski County.  After successful litigation, the federal district court implemented an inter-district desegregation remedy and consolidated this case with the three original intradistrict desegregation lawsuits.