Charles Ogletree: Civil Rights Seminar Provides Basis for Book


History Buzz

Source: The State, 5-23-11

A day and a half seminar last week in Charleston on the late U.S. Judge Waties Waring and his landmark 1951 dissent in the South Carolina case that led to the overturning of America’s racial segregation laws will be the basis for a book.

The book will be put together by University of South Carolina School of Law professor Lewis Burke and will be an extension of remarks and speeches made at the seminar.

The seminar was called “J. Waties Waring and the Dissent that Changed America.”

“The book will be far more complete, with elaborations and footnotes,” said U.S. Judge Richard Gergel, one of the key movers in putting together the seminar, along with S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal and the State Supreme Court Historical Society.

The 1951 dissent by Waring, made while he was a federal judge in Charleston, in the Briggs v. Elliott case eventually became the basis for the famed 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Brown decision eventually led to the dismantling of legally sanctioned segregation in America in schools, voting, housing, accommodations, parks, dining, libraries, buses and other areas.

Waring’s dissent in Briggs v. Elliott grew out of a Clarendon County controversy in which local whites refused to do anything about the grossly inferior public schools they made available to blacks.

The historic Brown decision was made of five cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1950s. But in those five cases, Waring was the only judge who said segregation was wrong. Waring’s “fingerprints were all over” the Brown decision, in the words of Harvard legal professor and civil rights historian Charles Ogletree, who spoke at the Charleston seminar….READ MORE

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