COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A man at the center of a lawsuit that culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing segregated public schools has died. Harry Briggs Jr. was 75.
According to Samuels Funeral Home in Manning, Briggs died Aug. 9 at his New York City home. A funeral is scheduled for Friday.
Briggs’ parents, Harry and Eliza Briggs, were the first signers of a 1949 petition seeking equal treatment for black students. Harry Jr.’s signature was third.
The case began in 1947 with black parents seeking a bus for their children. When that was thrown out, parents filed a bolder lawsuit challenging desegregation.
Briggs v. Elliott was the first of five cases that were eventually combined and led to the high court’s landmark 1954 decision.