William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Molly O'Brien


While no one can deny the importance of desegregating all educational institutions over the past half-century, one of the unexpected consequences of the movement has been to make uncertain the legality of historically black public colleges. This uncertainty has created an opportunity for those who oppose historically black colleges, for whatever reason, to bring suit against them and potentially close their doors for not enrolling a student body that represents the racial make-up of the state. Professor O'Brien explores this issue in her Article by chronicling the progress of higher education in Georgia, from the establishment of a dual system, to the successful efforts of the NAACP and others to desegregate white colleges and universities, and finally to the efforts of white plaintiffs to desegregate historically black colleges and universities. By examining traditionally black colleges in their historical context, she concludes that the Supreme Court's focus on remedying the racial identifiability of institutions is misguided. Instead, she argues that the remedies for the constitutional harm caused by de jure segregation must be designed such that only the actual harms of desegregation are addressed and further regimes of desegregation are halted