National Archives at Atlanta

National Archives at Atlanta

Briggs v. Elliott

In 1947, Harry and Eliza Briggs were concerned parents in Summerton, South Carolina because their children were not afforded the opportunity to ride buses to school like the white students across town. When they complained to the superintendant, R.M. Elliott, he refused to provide one of the thirty-three buses in Clarendon County. With the help of funding and support from the NAACP, the Briggs, as well as some twenty one other African American families, filed suit against Mr. Elliott, challenging that separate institutions were not equal. After a two to one defeat in the District Court - the dissenting opinion made by "progressive" Judge Waties Waring - the case went to the Supreme Court as the first of five cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education. Despite the success of their efforts in court Harry and Eliza Briggs, as well as most of the other plaintiffs, lost their jobs, were subject to violent intimidation tactics, and had to move elsewhere for the support and safety of their family.


African Americans | Desegregation | Education


Records of District Courts of the United States,
Record Group 21


Charleston Civil Case Files, 1938-1957




National Archives at Atlanta


Textual Document, 25 pages


National Archives Identifier 279304


Clarendon County (S.C.)

Original Format