USDC, Western District of Virginia, Roanoke, Civil Action Case # 341: P. C. Corbin vs. the County School Board of Pulaski County, Virginia

USDC, Western District of Virginia, Roanoke, Civil Action Case # 341: P. C. Corbin vs. the County School Board of Pulaski County, Virginia 

Creator USDC, Western District of Virginia, Roanoke
Description In 1947, African American attorneys Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson represented a legal suit initiated by Dr. P. C. Corbin on behalf of his son, Mahatma Corbin. This case became part of a movement of local class-action lawsuits orchestrated by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to equalize the public education of blacks. Mahatma Corbin v. County School Board of Pulaski County was one of the last equalization cases the NAACP Legal Defense undertook before pursuing the Virginia desegregation case, Davis v. County School Board Prince Edward County. Dr. Corbin filed this lawsuit in Virginia federal court with the intent to achieve an improved education environment for his son. The bus ride to Christiansburg was very long and cold. The school was poorly heated and also too cold. A young girl had died of tuberculosis in 1941 partly due to the conditions, according to briefs filed. The Christiansburg School was also below standard and did not provide adequate preparation for college. As evidence, the legal team presented extensive photographs of school conditions. Spottswood and Hill lost the first round in the Virginia federal court. Six months later, in November 1949, Baltimore’s U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals came down on Corbin’s side: The courts, the judge pronounced, have a “solemn duty” to strike down “forbidden racial discrimination.” A school board spokesman said officials were “shocked” by the decision, insisting that “no discrimination against Negroes existed.” A week later the board met to discuss a possible Supreme Court appeal. At that meeting, the board refused to provide high school facilities for blacks in Pulaski. The case proceeded no further. Shortly thereafter, the NAACP rolled out a new strategy attacking segregation head-on in the Supreme Court. Local battles for equalization were abandoned.
Call number Civil Action Case # 341
Date from 1947
Date to 1949
Geographic school Pulaski County, VA
Size unknown
Access restrictions yes/no no
Access restrictions
Part Of larger collection yes/no
Larger collection title
Repository NARA Mid-Atlantic Region
Repository address 14700 Townsend Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Repository contact name David Weber
Repository contact title Director, Records Management Program
Repository contact email
Repository contact phone (215) 305-2000
DoveRegion (outside of Virginia)
Subjects o    African American students

o    African Americans–Civil rights

o    African Americans–Segregation

o    High school students

o    Public schools

o    Segregation in education

o    Segregation in higher education

o    United States. Supreme Court

o    Hill, Oliver W., 1907-2007

o    Robinson, Spottswood W., 1916-1998

o    Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993

o    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

o    Public schools–Virginia–Pulaski County

o    United States. Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)

Types Legal documents

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