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Carlin Integration Case Records

Identifier: MS-0029

Scope and Contents

The Carlin Integration Case Records include nearly three decades of court proceedings and research for Kari Carlin et al v. Board of Education, San Diego Unified School District.  The records include court transcripts, briefs and court orders, correspondence, maps and charts of ethnic imbalance, various committee reports, court exhibits and depositions, declarations, interrogatories, enrollment statistics, student testing result studies, trial notes, news clippings, and information concerning similar court cases. The collection is divided into two series:  Research Files and Court Records.

The Research Files, dating from 1950 to 1997, include all the research materials necessary for conducting the trial.  This series is divided into five sub series:  General Files, Similar Cases, Data/Reports, Reference Books, and Maps. The General Files (1965-1997) are organized alphabetically and contain correspondence, news clippings, court case volunteer information, "white flight" research, and statements to the Board of Education by various organizations. The Similar Cases files (1954-1997) are arranged chronologically by case. These files detail information about related integration cases in both California and other states, such as Crawford v. LA and Brown v. Board of Education. The Data/Reports sub series (1965-1996) is likewise organized chronologically, and contains extensive documentation of enrollment statistics, various committee reports, district wide testing results, and VEEP and magnet program progress reports. The Reference Materials files (1962-1979) include alphabetical reference publications regarding previous integration cases, law terminology, and legal code. Lastly, the Maps sub series (1950-1982), organized alphabetically, contains maps of district boundaries, census tracts, ethnic composition of schools, VEEP schools, and ethnically balanced and imbalanced high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools. Most of these maps are from the late 1960's and 1970's.

The Court Records, dating from 1962-1997, include the official court papers created by the Carlin case, and documents court proceedings, actions taken by the plaintiffs and defendants, arguments, exhibits, and the general legal process. This series is divided into five sub series:  General Files, Interrogatories, Exhibits and Depositions, Briefs and Court Orders, and Transcripts.  The General Files (1967-1985) are organized alphabetically and include the chronological indexes to the major legal documents from the case, along with the documents themselves, subpoenas, declarations, and travel documents. The Interrogatories (1966-1970) are arranged by question order. These files document the pre-trial questions, answers, and attachments to potential witnesses, experts, defendants and plaintiffs. The Exhibits and Depositions files (1962-1983) include the various exhibits and depositions used during the official court hearings, such as declarations, statistics, reports, and letters to and from school board personnel. These files are in chronological order according to court hearing dates and by the order in which they were shown to the court. Several exhibits, however, are missing. The Briefs and Court Orders sub series (1967-1997) document official court papers, such as petitions, temporary restraining orders, declarations, court memorandums and requests, briefs, and judgments. This sub series is arranged chronologically. Finally, the Transcripts sub series (1975-1992) include both the clerk's and reporter's transcripts of the hearings. These files are divided into clerk's transcripts and reporter's transcripts, and are organized chronologically.


  • Creation: 1950-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1964-1997


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

The San Diego City Schools originally followed a neighborhood school policy, under which students attended the school nearest their homes. Therefore, the schools reflected neighborhood segregation. While wealthier whites could afford to move to newer, more expensive neighborhoods with better schools, lower income minority populations remained in the older neighborhoods with older schools.

The San Diego Unified School District had received many complaints concerning the obvious segregation of city schools. In 1963, the NAACP presented recommendations designed to reduce school segregation in the San Diego Unified School District. Then, in 1965, the San Diego School Board adopted a resolution calling for the elimination of segregation in San Diego schools. In 1966, the Citizens Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity confirmed that a racial imbalance existed. The school district, however, failed to implement any of the Citizens Committee's 39 recommendations. About forty groups, unhappy with the district's non-response, established the Interorganizational Committee (IOC) to make further recommendations. Larry Carlin, a teacher and former secretary for the Citizens Committee, headed the IOC. In 1967, Carlin and several other parents active in the IOC filed a class action lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District for alleged inequalities of educational opportunities for students of all ethnic backgrounds, formally titled Kari Carlin et al v. Board of Education, San Diego Unified School District. The plaintiffs filed the suit in the name of ten children who represented four ethnic groups (white, Black, Chicano, and Asian-American).

A conflict between state and federal law prevented the case from moving forward. San Diego city school segregation was not deliberate, it was the result of housing patterns. Federal law stipulated that segregation was illegal, but California law maintained that as long as segregation was not intentional and facilities were equal, de facto segregation was not unlawful. The decision to continue the Carlin case rested on the outcome of Crawford v. Los Angeles Board of Education. In 1976, the California Supreme Court ruled that segregation, "regardless of its cause," must be rectified, thus making San Diego's segregation illegal.

In 1975, Carlin was reactivated. Two years later Judge Welsh found that twenty-three San Diego schools were segregated, and the Court ordered the San Diego Unified School District to develop a detailed voluntary plan to alleviate racial segregation in these schools. The plaintiffs had hoped for a mandatory plan. In 1978, Judge Welsh created the Integration Task Force to assess and monitor the school district's progress. Annual hearings to evaluate the new plan were implemented, and additional hearings were also set up to deal with any unforeseen issues that arose during the integration process.

In response to Judge Welsh's order, the Board of Education began improving existing school integration programs, and implementing new ones. In 1966, the Board had created the Voluntary Ethnic Transfer Program (later called the Voluntary Ethnic Enrollment Program, or VEEP), to improve the ethnic balance at predominately white schools. In 1974, the school board began promoting VEEP through feeder patterns. A magnet program, set up in 1973, was meant to attract white students to inner-city schools. Finally, the Race/Human Relations program, begun in 1972, designed and promoted multicultural awareness through workshops and field trips for staff and students.

In 1985, the court decided that progress toward an acceptable ethnic and racial balance had been reached, and it issued a final order, which terminated the Integration Task Force, and ended the annual progress hearings. An annual written report was to be submitted to review the district's progress. Although the Board's plan changed the ethnic composition of city schools, very little social integration occurred, and an achievement gap still existed between the white majority students and minority students.


60.70 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



I. Research Files, 1950-1997

1. General Files, 1965-1997

2. Similar Cases, 1954-1997

3. Data and Reports, 1965-1996

4. Reference Materials, 1962-1979

5. Maps, 1950-1982

II. Court Records, 1962-1997

1. General Files, 1967-1985

2. Interrogatories, 1966-1970

3. Exhibits and Depositions, 1962-1983

A) Hearing, November, 1976, 1962-1977

i. Plaintiff's Exhibits, 1962-1977

ii. Defendant's Exhibits, 1965-1977

B) Hearing, May 7, 1979, 1977-1979

C) Hearing, June 25, 1979, 1974-1980

i. Plaintiff's Exhibits, 1974-1980

ii. Defendant's Exhibits, 1978-1979

iii. Court's Exhibits

D) Hearing, May 20, 1980

E) Hearing, July 15, 1981, 1981

F) Hearing, May 25, 1982, 1981-1982

G) Hearing, October 7, 1983, 1979-1983

H) Depositions, 1969-1983

I) Index of Exhibits, 1979

4. Briefs and Court Orders, 1967-1997

5. Transcripts, 1975-1992

A) Court Clerk, 1976-1980

B) Court Reporter, 1975-1992

Source of Acquisition

William Gavin

Accruals and Additions

1985-001. Addition from Charles Shuford Swift on February 18, 1997

Related Materials

Citizens United for Racial Equality Records

Reverend George Walker Smith Papers

School Integration Task Force

Harold K. Brown Papers, 1956-2000

Separated Materials

Journals California Law Review 60, no.2 (March 1972).

Federal Supplement 269, no.4 (September 4, 1967).

Harvard Law Review 78, no.3 (January 1965).

Hastings Law Journal 24, no.4 (March 1973).

Journal of Negro Education 63, no.2 (Spring 1974).

Journal for the Promotion of Research, Service, and Leadership in Education 67, no.2 (October 1965).

Books Bloom, Benjamin S., Allison Davis, and Robert Hess. Compensatory    Education for Cultural Deprivation. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1965.

Caughey, John. To Kill a Child's Spirit: The Tragedy of School Segregation in Los Angeles. Illinois: F.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc., 1973.

Caughey, John and Laree Caughey. School Segregation on Our Doorstep: The Los Angeles Story. Los Angeles: Quail Books, 1966.

Grodzins, Morton. Metropolitan Area as a Racial Problem. Chicago: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1958.

Passow, A. Harry, ed. Education in Depressed Areas. (New York: Teachers College Columbia University, 1963).

Trubowitz, Sidney. A Handbook for Teaching in the Ghetto School. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1968.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Racial Isolation in the Public Schools. Vol.1. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967.

U.S. Riot Commission Report. Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. New York: Bantam Books, 1968.

Other Descriptive Information

This collection was processed as part of the San Diego African American Archives Project, made possible by a grant from the President's Leadership Fund.


Carlin Integration Case Records
Amanda Lanthorne
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US