Aug. 23, 2013
Lee v. Macon County Board of Education sought the integration of the all-white Tuskegee High School. The 1963 lawsuit was later expanded to include all of Alabama’s primary, secondary and postsecondary schools and public universities. A three-judge panel of Frank Johnson, Richard Rives and Harlan Grooms issued a blanket desegregation order that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The original suit filed by Tuskegee attorney Fred Gray was named for Anthony and Henry Lee, who were among 14 black students denied entry to the all-white high school. On this day in 2013, Gray, Anthony Lee and others celebrated the 50th anniversary of the case with a two-day symposium that brought together many of the former Tuskegee High School students.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Montgomery native Richard T. Rives (1895-1982) was a federal circuit court judge known for adjudicating civil rights cases such as Browder v. Gayle and Lee v. Macon County Board of Education. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Fifth Circuit Library, New Orleans, Louisiana)
Frank M. Johnson Jr. (1918-1999) was a federal judge whose legal decisions moved the civil rights movement forward in Alabama. His rulings led to desegregation of public places and equal opportunities for African Americans, and he authorized the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. He also decided cases leading to improvements in mental health care in the state. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Alabama W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library)
The Frank M. Johnson Federal Building and Courthouse was formerly downtown Montgomery’s main post office, constructed in 1932. It was renamed to honor Johnson in 1992. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.