Sweatt v. Painter Successfully Challenges the Separate but Equal Doctrine of Racial Segregation
Heman Marion Sweatt was an African-American Bahá’í from Houston, Texas who was refused admission to the University of Texas School of Law at Austin in 1946 on the grounds that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education.
Mr. Thurgood Marshall, then a top lawyer for the NAACP, took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s affirmative ruling in 1950 on Mr. Sweatt’s case helped lead to the end of ‘official’ racial discrimination in public schools and was a precursor for Brown v. Board of Education. Mr. Marshall wrote to Heman Sweatt, “If it had not been for your courage and your refusal to be swayed by others, this victory would not have been possible.”
A commemorative plaque in honor of Mr. Sweatt outside the District Court room in the Court House where the decision was made denying Mr. Sweatt permission to enroll in the Law School.
On October October 21, 2005, the Travis County Court House in Austin, TX was renamed after Mr. Sweatt.