Attorney Fights for Black Colleges

By Berkhalter, Denise | The Crisis, July/August 2004 | Go to article overview
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Attorney Fights for Black Colleges


Berkhalter, Denise, The Crisis


Alvin O. Chambliss Jr. has done it again. The Oxford, Miss.-based attorney has appealed the $503 million settlement of the nearly 30-year-old Ayers case in Mississippi to the U.S. Supreme Court, calling for adequate funding of the state's historically Black colleges and universities.

Chambliss says he has appealed the settlement, again, because the money awarded will not bring Black colleges up to the standards of their White counterparts.

"The settlement doesn't wholistically look at the Black colleges," argues Chambliss. "You can't come to any reasonable conclusion that a certain remedy is effective without doing a comparative analysis on all of the schools in the system."

This isn't the first time the Supreme Court has seen the 1975 case originating from the late Jake Ayers Sr.'s lawsuit that argued Mississippi shortchanged HBCUs when issuing state funding. In 1992, the Supreme Court noted the discrimination and ordered the state to give money to HBCUs to remedy the problem.

The U.S. District Court settled the case in February 2002. Plaintiffs appealed in January 2004 to the 5th U.

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