The Story: Legislation

Judge McMillan agreed with Chambers. On April 23, 1969, he ruled that the school board had to create a student assignment plan that achieved racial balance, preferably 70 percent white and 30 percent black at each school, more closely reflecting the population of the county. The decision caused an immediate storm of criticism from some parents, community members, politicians, and even the head of the school board. A group of white parents formed an anti-busing organization called the Concerned Parents Association, who protested against their children being bused to schools outside their neighborhoods.

"It Was Turmoil"
- Madge Hopkins

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The school board submitted a student assignment plan for the 1969-70 school year to comply with Judge McMillan's ruling. As part of the plan to desegregate, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board closed down seven all-black schools and assigned their students to white schools. Many black community members were angry at the closing of their schools, which were important institutions in the black community. They were also upset that the school board’s plan required many more black students than white students to be bused to faraway schools. They felt the burden of desegregating should not be only on black students. In addition to these problems, the student assignment plan did not achieve its primary goal; the majority of schools in the district were still segregated.

"Get Beyond Race"
- William Culp

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Judge McMillan became frustrated with the district’s slowness in desegregating. He brought in a desegregation consultant, John Finger, who created a busing plan that would create racial balance in schools across the district. McMillan ordered in February of 1970 that this plan, referred to as the Finger Plan, be put into action. Anti-busing organizations protested this order through rallies and picketing. Both McMillan and the Swann plaintiffs' attorney Julius Chambers received death threats.