| Home > 108th Congressional Public Laws > Pub.L. 108-181 Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eighth Congress. <> ...
Pub.L. 108-181 Appointing the day for the convening of the second session of the One Hundred Eighth Congress. <> ...
[[Page 117 STAT. 2645]]
Public Law 108-180
To award congressional gold medals posthumously on behalf of Reverend
Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs, and Levi Pearson in
recognition of their contributions to the Nation as pioneers in the
effort to desegregate public schools that led directly to the landmark
desegregation case of Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka
et al. <<NOTE: Dec. 15, 2003 - [H.R. 3287]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: 31 USC 5111
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds as follows:
(1) The Reverend Joseph Armstrong DeLaine, one of the true
heroes of the civil rights struggle, led a crusade to break down
barriers in education in South Carolina.
(2) The efforts of Reverend DeLaine led to the desegregation
of public schools in the United States, but forever scarred his
(3) In 1949, Joseph DeLaine, a minister and school
principal, organized African-American parents in Summerton,
South Carolina, to petition the school board for a bus for black
students, who had to walk up to 10 miles through corn and cotton
fields to attend a segregated school, while the white children
in the school district rode to and from school in nice clean
(4) In 1950, these same parents, including Harry and Eliza
Briggs, sued to end public school segregation in Briggs et al.
v. Elliott et al., one of 5 cases that collectively led to the
landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown et al. v. Board of
Education of Topeka et al.
(5) Because of his participation in the desegregation
movement, Reverend DeLaine was subjected to repeated acts of
domestic terror in which--
(A) he, along with 2 sisters and a niece, lost their
(B) he fought off an angry mob;
(C) he received frequent death threats; and
(D) his church and his home were burned to the
(6) In October 1955, after Reverend DeLaine relocated to
Florence County in South Carolina, shots were fired at the
DeLaine home, and because Reverend DeLaine fired back to mark
the car, he was charged with assault and battery with intent to
[[Page 117 STAT. 2646]]
(7) The shooting incident drove him from South Carolina to
Buffalo, New York, where he organized an African Methodist
(8) Believing that he would not be treated fairly by the
South Carolina judicial system if he returned to South Carolina,
Reverend DeLaine told the Federal Bureau of Investigation, ``I
am not running from justice but injustice'', and it was not
until 2000 (26 years after his death and 45 years after the
incident) that Reverend DeLaine was cleared of all charges
relating to the October 1955 incident.
(9) Reverend DeLaine was a humble and fearless man who
showed the Nation that all people, regardless of the color of
their skin, deserve a first-rate education, a lesson from which
the Nation has benefited immeasurably.
(10) Reverend DeLaine deserves rightful recognition for the
suffering that he and his family endured to teach the Nation one
of the great civil rights lessons of the last century.
(11) Like the Reverend DeLaine and Harry and Eliza Briggs,
Levi Pearson was an integral participant in the struggle to
equalize the educational experiences of white and black students
in South Carolina.
(12) Levi Pearson, with the assistance of Reverend Joseph
DeLaine, filed a lawsuit against the Clarendon County School
District to protest the inequitable treatment of black children.
(13) As a result of his lawsuit, Levi Pearson also suffered
from acts of domestic terror, such as the time gun shots were
fired into his home, as well as economic consequences: local
banks refused to provide him with credit to purchase farming
materials and area farmers refused to lend him equipment.
(14) Although his case was ultimately dismissed on a
technicality, Levi Pearson's courage to stand up for equalized
treatment and funding for black students served as the catalyst
for further attempts to desegregate South Carolina schools, as
he continued to fight against segregation practices and became
President of Clarendon County Chapter of the NAACP.
(15) When Levi Pearson's litigation efforts to obtain
equalized treatment and funding for black students were stymied,
Harry and Eliza Briggs, a service station attendant and a maid,
continued to fight for not only equalized treatment of all
children but desegregated schools as well.
(16) As with Reverend DeLaine and Levi Pearson, the family
of Harry and Eliza Briggs suffered consequences for their
efforts: Harry and Eliza both were fired from their jobs and
forced to move their family to Florida.
(17) Although they and their family suffered tremendously,
Harry and Eliza Briggs were also pioneers leading the effort to
desegregate America's public schools.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--In recognition of the contributions of
Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs, and Levi Pearson to
the Nation as pioneers in the effort to desegregate public schools that
led directly to the landmark desegregation case of Brown et al. v. the
Board of Education of Topeka et al., the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the
Congress, of a gold medal
[[Page 117 STAT. 2647]]
of appropriate design, to Joseph De Laine, Jr., as next of kin of
Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, and to the next of kin or other personal
representative of Harry and Eliza Briggs and of Levi Pearson.
(b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the awards referred to
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter in this Act
referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall strike 3 gold medals with
suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the
SEC. 3. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold
medals struck pursuant to section 2, under such regulations as the
Secretary may prescribe, and at a price sufficient to cover the costs
thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and
overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medals.
SEC. 4. STATUS AS NATIONAL MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--The medals struck pursuant to this Act are
national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31,
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered
to be numismatic items.
SEC. 5. FUNDING.
(a) Authority To Use Fund Amounts.--There is authorized to be
charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such
amounts as may be necessary to pay for the cost of the medals authorized
by this Act.
(b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of duplicate
bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited in the United States
Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
Approved December 15, 2003.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 3287 (S. 498):
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 149 (2003):
Nov. 18, considered and passed House.
Nov. 25, considered and passed Senate.
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108th Congressional Public Laws Records and Documents
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