The case commonly referred to as the Kalamazoo Case began as a lawsuit filed by three citizens of Kalamazoo in 1873 who did not want their tax dollars to support secondary schools. In early 1874, Circuit Court Judge Charles R. Brown ruled against their challenge. They appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Thomas M. Cooley penned a unanimous opinion on July 21, 1874, upholding Judge Brown's ruling and concluding that neither the legislature nor the state constitution restricted the scope of public education. By 1890 there were 278 high schools in Michigan.The Kalamazoo Case changed the landscape of public education in Michigan and served as a landmark for educational reform across the United States.
Speakers at the dedication included SBM President Lori Buiteweg, SBM Executive Director Janet Welch, Varnum Partner John Allen, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School Associate Dean of External Affairs and General Counsel James Robb, Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Bob Jorth and Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice.
At the dedication, President Buiteweg revealed the 40th Michigan Legal Milestone plaque, which will be permanently installed on the grounds of the Ninth Circuit Courthouse in Kalamazoo.