NAACP Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality Of Plan To Resegregate Omaha Public Schools

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has filed a federal lawsuit with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) to block Nebraska from redistricting Omaha public schools along racial and ethnic lines. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case 52 years ago that government mandated school segregation violates the Constitution.

NAACP President & CEO Bruce S. Gordon said: "For nearly 100 years the NAACP has fought against state imposed segregation. That's why we stand today with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in opposition to this onerous law that violates the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the doctrine of separate but equal. We are concerned that this law will have a negative impact on children in our community."

Tommie Wilson, president, the Omaha Branch NAACP, said at a news conference in Omaha: "In the 21st Century we believe we should be making progress toward greater integration. That the public schools should be a place where students have the opportunity to learn from and be exposed to others from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, not places of racial isolation that may very well lead to greater racial tension. Segregation is a moral wrong regardless of who advocates for it." The Omaha Branch and several families with children in the Omaha public schools are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Theodore M. Shaw, LDF Director-Counsel and President, said: "We joined this litigation because we continue to believe that racially segregated schools are not equal, and that the state ought not to make decisions that intentionally segregate students on the basis of race."

The Nebraska legislature voted last month to divide the Omaha school system starting in 2008 into –one mostly black, one predominately white and one largely Hispanic district. Gov. Dave Heineman signed the measure into law.

The Omaha school system was desegregated by court order in 1976. The city ran a mandatory busing program from 1976 to 1999.

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