Sweatt logoThe Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights is an annual event organized by students, faculty and staff at The University of Texas at Austin. The symposium is named after Heman Marion Sweatt, the first African American admitted into the UT School of Law after the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Sweatt v. Painter in 1950.

Heman M. Sweatt applied for admission to The University of Texas Law School in 1946, but was denied admission on the basis of race. Mr. Sweatt, with the help and assistance of the NAACP, brought legal action against the university. In the landmark case, Sweatt v. Painter, The United States Supreme Court ruled that separate law school facilities could not provide a legal education equal to that available at The University of Texas Law School, one of the nation’s ranking law schools.

2016 Events

The Intersection of Athletics and Race on the 40 Acres

Virginia moderates the panelThe first part of this year’s Sweatt Symposium took place during the Black Student-Athlete Summit, January 7.

  • Moderator: Virginia Cumberbatch
  • Panelists: Fran Harris, Bill Lyons, Roosevelt Leaks

EnGENDERing Power on the 40 Acres: The Story of Integration at UT 

This panel took place on Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bass Lecture Hall at The LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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Moderator Fran Harris interviewed three precursors who helped pave the way for women of color on the 40 acres, Sherryl Griffin Bozeman (UT, 1964), Judith Jenkins and Judge Harriet Murphy (UT Law School, 1969). Fran Harris is a Longhorn Network analyst and former UT Women’s Basketball champion, Fran Harris (UT, 1986).

Barbara Jordan banner


Race and the Politics of Access: 1950–Present

Thursday, April 28, 2016 • 6:30 p.m.
Main Building (The Tower), MAI 212
110 Inner Campus Dr. • Austin, Texas 78712

Please join us in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Heman Sweatt Symposium by engaging in an important dialogue around race, policy, and access. The evening will include a one-on-one conversation with Dr. Peniel Joseph, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama and Professor Michael Higginbotham, professor of law at the University of Baltimore and author of Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America. RSVP at 2016eveningofhonors.eventbrite.com.

Panelists, with their books

 


Evening Of Honors: The Precursors, As we Saw It panel – Symbols of an Ivory Tower: Past & Present

Join us this year as we honor The Precursors, UT-Austin first African-American students to be admitted.

The Precursors


Heman Sweatt

heman_sweattHeman Marion Sweatt applied for admission to The University of Texas Law School in 1946, but was denied admission on the basis of race. Mr. Sweatt, with the help and assistance of the NAACP, brought legal action against the university. In the landmark case, Sweatt v. Painter, The United States Supreme Court ruled that separate law school facilities could not provide a legal education equal to that available at The University of Texas Law School, one of the nation’s ranking law schools.

The Supreme Court ruling established an important precedent for the desegregation of graduate and professional schools. Challenging the “separate but equal” doctrine, the court affirmed Mr. Sweatt’s right to equal educational opportunity and in 1950, he entered the University of Texas School of Law. The Sweatt decision helped pave the way for African-Americans’ admission to formerly segregated colleges and universities across the nation, and led to the overturn of segregation by law in all levels of public education in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education four years later.

The Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights is an event organized by the students, faculty, and staff working on the Heman Sweatt Symposium Steering Committee. Annually held during the spring semester, all events are free and open to the public. The symposium is named after Heman Sweatt, the first African American admitted into the UT Law School.

Read more about Heman Sweatt’s life on the Texas State Historical Association’s website.