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Landmark Case

Selmont Improvement Association et al. v. Dallas County Commission et al.

Case Number


The SPLC rectified a 20-year injustice in 1972 when a federal court ordered the paving of 10 miles of streets in an unincorporated black neighborhood near Selma in Dallas County, Ala. The new streets had to be equal in quality to those installed free in adjacent white neighborhoods in 1954. 

This landmark ruling established that there is no limit on the constitutional principle of equal protection. The ruling was a precedent applicable in every Southern city that had discriminated against blacks in such basic municipal services as recreational facilities, street paving and medical care.

U.S. District Court Judge Virgil Pittman heard evidence in the case during a two-day trial that began on Nov. 22, 1971, in Mobile, Ala.