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In Rogers v. Paul (1965), the U.S. Supreme Court essentially overturned the gradual “one grade per year” desegregation plan that it had permitted in an earlier case from Arkansas, Cooper v. Aaron (1958). In Rogers, the Court rejected a school board's clear attempt to exclude students from a broader curriculum based solely on race. In looking at the passage of time since Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the Court also demonstrated its impatience with the school board's unacceptably slow movement to converting the system to unitary status.

Facts of the Case

At issue in Rogers was the constitutionality of a “grade-per-year” desegregation plan. The plan that a local board in Arkansas adopted in 1957 called for desegregating its school system one grade per ...

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