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Benjamin S. Horack papers

Identifier: MS0042

Scope and Contents

These papers primarily trace the progress of the case through the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court through dockets filed with the various courts and through clippings about the case. The collection also documents similar desegregation cases but does not include significant documentation on Horack's formulation of his defense tactics. Most of the material is in photocopied or in printed form. Contains papers, primarily legal documentation, relating to Horack's defense of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the case on which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in 1970, that busing to achieve racial desegregation of the schools is constitutional. [For a historical synopsis of Swann, see the Julius L. Chambers Papers.]


  • Creation: 1918 - 1984
  • Creation: 1968 - 1971


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Shambaugh Horack was born on October 3, 1917 in Iowa City, Iowa to Claude and Eleanor Horack. When he was 12, his family moved to Durham for his father to join the faculty of Duke Law School. Horack received his undergraduate and law degree from Duke University. Upon graduation, he practiced law for a period of time in Atlanta and then with the government in Washington, D.C. until he joined the Army to serve in World War II. After the war, he started practicing at the law firm Horack, Talley, Pharr and Lowndes, where he remained until his retirement in November of 1985.

Benjamin's personal areas of expertise were real estate, wills, trust and estates, corporate and business law, taxes and zoning. He was particularly well-known for his zoning expertise and was often referred to as the "Dean of Zoning." Additionally, he was first president of WTVI and president of Mecklenburg Kiwanis. He also was president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bar Association in 1967-1968.

Horack was a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board from 1953-1962. A few years after retiring from the Board, he represented the school board before the U.S. Supreme Court in the busing case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1970. He died in Charlotte on May 3, 2019 at 101 years of age.



6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of a Charlotte attorney relating to his defense of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in the landmark case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts were constitutionally authorized to exercise broad powers to oversee and produce solutions to achieve school integration, which could include using student quotas as a starting point, and developing new attendance zones and busing policies to achieve more racially balanced schools. Consists primarily of legal documentation of proceedings and briefs prepared by defendants and plaintiffs for presentation to the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Also includes maps of proposed attendance zones, notes and correspondence, data on pupil placement plans and school transportation costs, clippings, and material relating to previous desegregation cases and to satellite suits, especially involving the North Carolina anti-busing statute.


Arranged in six series.

Series 1, U.S. District Court Proceedings, 1968-1970

Series 2, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Proceedings, 1970

Series 3, U.S. Supreme Court Proceedings, 1970

Series 4, Research Material, 1952-1970

Series 5, Clippings, 1969-1970

Series 6, Data on Proposed $8,000,000 Bond, 1970-1971

Series 7, Newspapers and Magazines, 1918-1984

Series 1 through 3 contain material relating to the particular court having jurisdiction over the case at the time the material was created or for which the material was prepared. These series also document the progress of subsidiary related suits regarding the North Carolina Anti Busing Statute and related cross petitioning. Includes orders, motions, memoranda of opinion, findings of fact, briefs and arguments, briefs amici curiae, affidavits and depositions, exhibits, and other dockets. Also included are briefs of petitioners and respondents, amici curiae, and other documentation. Series 4 contains documentation relating to other school desegregation cases and assorted correspondence, memoranda, research notes and data. Series 5 contains newspaper clippings documenting the case. Series 6 relates to a Mecklenburg County school bond issue affected by the pending litigation. Series 7 contains newspapers and magazines documenting major historical events.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Benjamin S. Horack, 1979, 1997.

Available Online

A portion of the Benjamin Horack papers documenting the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case have been digitized and can be found

Related Materials

Fred D. Alexander Papers (UNCC Manuscript 91); Kelly M. Alexander Papers (UNCC Manuscript 55); Julius L. Chambers Papers (UNCC Manuscript 85); Reginald A. Hawkins Papers (UNCC Manuscript 125); Margaret Whitton Ray Papers (UNCC Manuscript 131); William J. Waggoner Papers (UNCC Manuscript 221); James B. McMillan Papers, UNC-Chapel Hill (SHC #4676).

Processing Information

Additions processed by James Kusik, 2001. Updated by: Christopher Geissler and Rita Johnston, 2014.

Guide to the Benjamin Horack papers
James Kusik
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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