A historical look back at Joe Biden’s position against busing in 1975

A historical look back at Joe Biden’s position against busing in 1975
Busing was a tool used for racial desegregation in American public school systems

These historical newspaper articles gives a brief overview at what the then young U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s anti-busing amendment aimed to do with regard to the anti-busing bill that was introduced by the then Republican U.S. Senator Jesse Helms’ from North Carolina.

Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 1971, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education dealt with the desegregation plan adopted by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Chief Justice Warren Burger rendered the opinion of the court, and its decision was unanimous.

When Swann was argued before the Supreme Court, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system was one of the largest and most diverse in the United States.

In 1965, the system began implementing a federal court-approved desegregation plan that stipulated geographic zoning while permitting voluntary student transfers. The plan proved ineffectual.

After the NAACP took the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board to court for its failure to desegregate in 1968, the board drafted a new desegregation plan. Busing began in Charlotte after Judge James McMillan of Federal District Court ruled in 1969 that the district was intentionally segregating students by race.

Although the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board adopted the Finger plan, it asserted that the plan was unreasonable. A federal court of appeals upheld the district court’s ruling, and the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in late 1970.

The most controversial topic in the opinion was busing. In his opinion, Burger stated that busing was a suitable “remedial technique” for achieving desegregation. White students in suburban Mecklenburg County had protested the very possibility that they be bused into the City of Charlotte to attend school. Burger’s ruling increased tensions. During the era of segregation, southern states had used busing to transport African American students distances of 50 miles or more to attend black schools, so some believed that the Supreme Court was meting out retribution for segregation on southern white students.

In 1999, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, which pioneered busing for desegregation, was ordered to halt the program by a Federal judge who ruled that forced integration was no longer necessary because all vestiges of intentional discrimination had disappeared.


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September 1975

October 1975

December 1975

1977 What might Joe Biden become in the future?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (North Carolina)


Boston Pubic Schools (Massachusetts)
The City of Boston was asked to voluntarily desegregate its public schools.The city failed. In 1974, a federal judge imposed court-ordered desegregation via busing between neighborhoods in the landmark Morgan v. Hennigan decision. The court-ordered busing was implemented during the 1974-1975 school year.


Durham Pubic Schools (North Carolina)

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