Vanderbilt Law Review

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Black citizens of Tate County, Mississippi, brought suit' seeking rescission of the County Board of Education's sale of a public school to a foundation that used the property to establish a private, segregated academy. Respondent, Tate County Board of Education, had determined that the continued operation of the dilapidated school would be uneconomical and had conveyed the property to a private citizen without knowing the purpose for which the school was to be used. The purchaser later conveyed the property to the Tate County Foundation, which established a private, segregated academy. Petitioners contended that the sale violated the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment because it encouraged and fostered racially segregated education. The district court refused to invalidate the sale of the school on the grounds that there was no showing of illegality or bad faith by the school board in disposing of the property. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, held, reversed. In order to bring about a unitary school system,a school board has the affirmative duty to make a reasonable inquiry into the purposes of a prospective purchaser of public school property and must refuse to sell to one who intends to establish a racially segregated school on the premises. McNeal v. Tate County School District,No. 30722 (5th Cir., Sept. 17, 1971).