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Mon, 02.14.1944

Duvall v. School Board is Ruled

Congressional Tribute Plaque

*On this date in 1944, Duvall v. School Board was ruled on.  This case involved equal pay for certified schoolteachers in South Carolina regardless of race. 

On November 10, 1943, NAACP lawyers filed the case with the federal district court to equalize the salary of Viola Louise Duvall, a Black educator from Charleston’s Burke High School. The trial on Valentine’s Day, 1944, took only fifteen minutes. The evidence was clear. Though Duvall had earned the highest teaching certificate possible and was the best-paid educator among her African American cohort, she earned $645 a year. In contrast, the lowest-paid White teacher with the same certificate earned $1,100. 

Judge J. Waties Waring of Charleston brought the Alston case to the school board lawyers’ attention, relying on this precedent in Virginia to rule in favor of the plaintiffs. Soon after, South Carolina civil rights activist Septima Clark worked with the NAACP to rally teacher support for a similar suit in Columbia. Despite these successes, the state’s General Assembly avoided comprehensively equalizing salaries for Black and White teachers. 

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