Aline Black: Plaintiff in Case Challenging the Disparate Pay of Black Teachers in Norfolk, VA

0 Posted by - June 15, 2017 - LATEST POSTS

Aline Black is recognized as a plaintiff in a case challenging the disparate pay of African Americans and white teachers in Norfolk.

Aline Elizabeth Black was born in Norfolk and began working in the local school system as a science instructor in 1924. She attended Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (later Virginia State University) while teaching and continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she received an M.S. in 1935.

Black salary was substantially smaller than a comparably qualified white teacher. According to the petition, black high school teachers were receiving a minimum yearly salary of $699 and a maximum of $ 1,105; white high school teachers received a minimum of $970 and a maximum of $1,900.

The Norfolk Teachers Association and the Virginia State Teachers Association banned together with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and decided to challenge the double standard as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Black volunteered to be the plaintiff in the law suit. The case was dismissed in 1939, and Black attorneys, among whom was Thurgood Marshall, filed for an appeal. The school board retaliated against Black by firing her. The Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals then denied the appeal on the grounds that Black was no longer an employee.

Black attorneys and teachers were not giving up. Another Norfolk teacher, Melvin O. Alston, took Black’s place as plaintiff, and a new suit was filed. In November 1940, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld an appellate court’s ruling that teacher salaries fell under the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Norfolk School Board then promised to raise the salaries of black teachers. When the Norfolk Teachers Association and the Virginia State Teachers Association, together with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, decided to challenge the double standard as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Black volunteered to be the plaintiff in the suit.

In November 1940, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld an appellate court’s ruling that teacher salaries fell under the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Norfolk School Board then promised to raise the salaries of black teachers.

Black married Frank A. Hicks during World War II, and they had one daughter.   She retired in 1973 from her job as an instructional development specialist at Jacox Junior High School.  Black died on August 22, 1974, in Norfolk,Virginia.

 

source:

http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/aline-black-fought-equal-salaries

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/trailblazers/2008/index.htm?id=6

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