MLK JR. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN V. ANN ARBOR SCHOOL DISTRICT
Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School Children v. Ann Arbor, Michigan School District was decided in 1979.
Black children at Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School were not receiving the same educational resources as their White, wealthier peers. Over time, this case became not about resources, but about “Black English” or what today is often termed “Black English” or “African American Vernacular English”
In the end, King set a legal precedent about Black English as a formal language; however, it seems that the Ann Arbor School Board did little if anything to address the problems that lead to the case in the first place.
The stories collected here are of people involved in the case. We invite you to explore this website and hear their own stories.
A note on how we refer to the case.
Though the case is popularly known as The Ann-Arbor Decision or “The Black English Case,” we refer to it as King or MLK Elementary Decision to emphasize and reclaim the agency of the original actors in this case. This follows the examples of H. Samy Alim, Geneva Smitherman, and other scholars.