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Mon, 06.05.1950

Sweatt v. Painter is Ruled

*Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950) was decided on this date in 1950.  

This was a U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation established by the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson. The case was influential in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education four years later.

The case involved a Black man, Heman Marion Sweatt, who was refused admission to the School of Law of the University of Texas, whose president was Theophilus Painter, on the grounds that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education. The state district court in Travis County, Texas, instead of granting the plaintiff a right of mandamus, continued the case for six months.

This allowed the state time to create a law school only for Black students, which is established in Houston, rather than in Austin. The 'separate' law school and the college became the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University (known then as "Texas State University for Negroes").  

The trial court decision was affirmed by the Court of Civil Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court denied writ of error on further appeal. Sweatt and the NAACP next went to the federal courts, and the case ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.  Robert L. Carter and Thurgood Marshall presented Sweatt's case.  

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