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De Laine brothers recount context for Briggs case from Brown era

May 17, 2011

Two brothers whose family was deeply involved in one of the school lawsuits that led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board in 1954 discussed some of that history Tuesday at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum.

David Belton, third from left above, introduced his uncles, Joseph A. De Laine Jr., far left, and Brumit (B.B.) De Laine. The fourth member of the panel was Tom Hanchett, right, historian at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte. Belton is Piedmont regional director in N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue's Charlotte office.

Below are video clips of the De Laines' comments. Carol Baldwin, who was in the audience, wrote about the event on her blog.




1. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. discusses the background of Briggs and other cases that were combined under the name Brown v. Board of Education. (4:50)



2. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. discusses the lawyers involved in arguing the Briggs and other Brown cases before the Supreme Court. (1:27)




3. B.B. DeLaine and Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on how the Briggs case moved to the Supreme Court, and the how Judge Waring's dissent at the District Court level helped shape the Supreme Court's final decision in Brown. (2:45)



4. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on Harold Boulware's role as South Carolina attorney for the NAACP as the Briggs v. Elliott lawsuit was filed in 1950. (1:07)



5. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on Modjeska Monteith Simkins' role in the Briggs case, with a warning from B.B. De Laine not to believe all the stories surrounding Briggs that involve hearses. (5:18)



6. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on the segregated environment of Clarendon County, S.C. and B.B. De Laine on education and attitudes and the ability of African-Americans to manipulate the system of segregation in order to survive so that today's generation of African-Americans could be here today. (7:20)



 7. B.B. De Laine recounts a conversation with a high school student who asked why desegregation advocates wanted to eat with white people. De Laine says the teen could not imagine a world with no restaurant at every corner. It was not that blacks wanted to eat with whites, it was that they wanted to eat. Adults, De Laine said, had failed to equip teens with an understanding of what their forefathers faced. (1:41)



8. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. recounts some of the "quiet support" offered by blacks who appeared to be uninvolved in the Briggs v. Eliott case, and tells  about the men who guarded the De Laine house after the family received threats. (2:47)




9. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on the false claims made on behalf of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, and on Sara J. Fletcher, who was beaten for taking a seat on a segregated bus in South Carolina before Rosa Parks was arrested for the same defiance in Montgomery, Ala. (1:26)




10. B.B. De Laine on how in the '40s and '50s, and even today, people need to be mentally prepared before getting involved in civil rights activity. (2:12)




11. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on how widespread education has altered the challenge of bringing African-Americans together. (1:48)




12. B.B. De Laine on how the African-American community made strides when people like his father acted on the notion that he was his brother's keeper. (2:07)




13. B.B. De Laine on the Charlotte lunch counter sit-ins of 1960, and the parents of student participants who worried that they would lose their jobs over the children's participation. (2:10)




14. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. on how children played key roles in two of the component cases of Brown v. Board. (6:19)




15. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. and B.B. De Laine discuss the need for each generation to take responsibility to act against wrongdoing. (3:11)




16. B.B. DeLaine on his father's ethic of taking personal action and not "waiting on the Lord." (2:49)




17. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. gives an example of his work to be sure that the media get the details of Briggs v. Elliott correct. (2:38)




18. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. suggests that the unsung heroes deserve more credit than they receive for desegregating public schools. (0:43)




19. Sarah Stevenson talks about adding more names of Charlotte's desegregation trailblazers to a list at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro. (0:51)




20. B.B. De Laine discusses Charlotte's key role in fully implementing Brown v. Board after the Supreme Court's ruling in Swann v. Mecklenburg. (1:08)




21. B.B. De Laine addresses the fallacy of neighborhood schools, and Joseph A. De Laine Jr. the potential for future actions against minorities like the Tulsa firebombings and the Wilmington, N.C. attacks. (3:26)




22. Joseph A. DeLaine Jr. on black congregations that allowed their ministers to act improperly. (1:03)




23.Tom Hanchett on the "Courage" exhibit at the Museum of the New South. (1:50)




24. Joseph A. De Laine Jr. and B.B. De Laine address the question, "What can I do to help today?" (2:45)




25. Tom Hanchett on how the "Courage" exhibit about Briggs v. Elliott helps create conversations about living together going forward. (2:08)




26. Community Relations Director Willie Ratchford says that talking usefully about race is possible only if those in the conversation already know and respect one another. (1:29)




27. David Belton closes the discussion with thanks and a special acknowledgement of B.B. De Laine's efforts to be present. (1:56)


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