|©1946, Austin American, Thursday, November 28,1946 . Reprinted
with permission of the Austin American Statesman
Sweatt In Effect Offered Houston Law Course
A&M Directors Ask Funds To Establish Prairie View Set-Up
By The Austin American Capitol Staff
Directors of Texas A&M College Wednesday in effect offered a law course in Houston to Heman Marion Sweatt. Houston Negro, if he will present himself to Prairie View University for registration.
Sweatt has won an interlocutory judgment in an Austin district court for entry to the University of Texas unless the State provides separate educational opportunities for Negroes on a par with facilities for whites.
Whether the movement to set up a public law course for Negroes under the plan voted by the A&M board satisfies legal requirements is still to be determined. Another round in the Sweatt case is set for Dec. 17 before Judge Roy Archer.
The A&M board, which is also governing agency for the Prairie View Institution for Negroes, made a formal request to Governor Coke Stevenson for emergency funds to establish the proposed first-year law course. Stevenson has said he is ready to grant a deficiency appropriation when it is requested, and he has estimated the cost at $50,000, mainly for a law library. The A&M resolution said qualified Negro attorneys would be the teachers .
The A&M measure also carried a provision that Negro students presenting themselves at Prairie lView to register for the Houston course must bring along a "suitable transcript and certificate" from the University of Texas law dean showing they are scholastically qualified to take up their law studies.
The course to be offered at Houston will be "substantially the same approved course as is now offered at the University of Texas for entering students," the A&M resolution asserted. In other paragraphs, the proposed work was described as "standard" and '"in accordance with" regulations of the State Supreme Court
The qualifications of teachers would be determined by the State Board of Law Examiners.
Apparently In reference to Sweatt, the resolution said that it "the applicant and, or, similar other applicants for first-year courses in law offer themselves to the registrar at Prairie View University.[sic]bringing with them a suitable transcript and a certificate from the dean of the law school of the University of Texas that they are ccholastically prepared for a course of law equivalent to that given at the University of Texas, they will be admitted to Prairie View University for the semester beginning February. 1947.
The board said it has determined "by investigation" that arrange-ments may be made to give the law work in Houston with Negro lawyers as teachers.
The revolution also noted that Prairie View, a onetime normal, was given the designation "University" by the 49th Legislation.
When Sweatt presented himself to the University of Texas and was denied entrance last spring, Attorney General Grover Sellers advised that the Negro made his demand for law training at Prairie View. If the State then should fail to make a law course available to him, the Negro could not legally be barred from the UT law school, the opinion stated.
Sweatt sued to force the University of Texas to admit him. Judge Archer hearing the case on June 17. Archer declared that Sweatt may enter the University if the State docs not within a reasonable time set up separate facilities for Negroes who want law training. Archer gave a six-month grace period to the Slate ending Dec. 17.
The action by the A&M board Wednesday is regarded as a stop-gap until the 50th Legislature, convening in January, takes up a plan to create a first class university for Negroes. Main controversy over this will hinge on the insistence by Negro citizens that they be given the branch university authorized for them in the Texas Constitution. The constitutional branch would share in the University Permanent Fund in which A&M and the main University now share.
Awaiting trial In another district court here is a mandamus suit brought by Dr. Everett Given?. Austin Negro dentist, to compel the University regents to cslablifh that branch university in Austin in compliance with an old referendum.
Meanwhile Sweatt's court fight has acquired the backing of some 17 student organizations on the main campus. One of these, the Campus Guild, a men's cooperative house, has now invited Sweatlt to apply to it for membership "when he is admitted to the University of Texas."