Paul Egly, the controversial judge who oversaw court-mandated integration efforts of Los Angeles schools in the late 1970s, has died. He was 97.
California’s Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that Los Angeles Unified School District must work to desegregate its schools in Crawford vs. Board of Education, and Egly was assigned the job in 1977 of overseeing the district’s development and implementation of an integration plan.
He started as a well-liked judge known for his jovial nature and ability to get along with different groups, and tried to bring racial integration to Los Angeles schools through collaboration rather than force. But over the four years that he oversaw the case, Egly faced resistance from white communities and politicians, an effort to recall him and a change to the state constitution that heavily stymied integration efforts.
“He was willing to take a case that nobody in Los Angeles would touch and he tried his best to reason with people,” said Gary Orfield, the co-director of UCLA’s Civil Rights Project and one of Egly’s advisors during the case.
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