Olga Balderas


In 1971, in Mims v. Duval County School Board, United States District Court Judge Gerald Tjoflat, with the goal of eliminating the vestiges of legalized public school segregation, issued an order re-assigning students in Duval County. The order, which mandated the closing of several schools and affected thousands of students in schools across the county, temporarily resolved years of litigation and resulted in the almost immediate integration of Duval County schools. The Mims desegregation order has been rightly praised for resulting in the swift integration of Duval County schools; something that the Duval County School Board was unable to accomplish voluntarily in the seventeen years following the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Due to the impact of Mims, in 2001, the Eleventh Circuit, affirmed the District Court's determination that the School Board had "eliminate[d] the vestiges of de jure segregation," marking the end of federal court supervision of Duval County public schools. Despite this apparent success, Mims's legacy is perhaps more complex than Judge Tjoflat and the litigants might have imagined forty years ago because today, a significant number of public schools in Duval County have reverted to single-race status. This Comment will first discuss the legal and factual background of school segregation in Duval County. Second, this Comment will discuss the Mims order itself. Finally, this Comment will examine the legacy of Mims.