This article examines the case of Karla Galarza v. Washington, DC Board of Education. On April 3, 1947, Karla Galarza refused to accept the board's directive to withdraw from the Black segregated Margaret Murray Washington Vocational School. Her father, Dr. Ernesto Galarza, supported her decision and worked to challenge the expulsion, and the system of segregation, as unconstitutional. The authors analyze materials from regional and national archives, oral accounts, legal documents, and personal collections, focusing on Dr. Galarza's voice in over one hundred pages of correspondence. Dr. Galarza brought together an interracial legal team, including Charles Hamilton Houston, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, and the National Lawyers Guild. Dr. Galarza lauded the pedagogy of a Black teacher and the pluralism cultivated in a Black school community as evidence of democracy in action. The legal team proposed that Karla's expulsion constituted a violation of the Fifth Amendment, naming education as a property right. However, after extensive research and discussion across ten months, the organizations determined they should not pursue the case in court. The authors assert that this attempted legal intervention is an unnamed forerunner in the attack on Plessy v. Ferguson and complicates previous narratives of the long struggle to end school segregation.

You do not currently have access to this content.