|©Dallas Morning News, 1947. Reprinted with permission of The Dallas Morning News.
Sweatt Case Appeal Aims At High Court Showdown
By Dawson Duncan, Austin Bureau of The News.
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 30. - Negro attorneys left no doubt Tuesday that they plan to make Texas' Sweatt case a top test in their fight against racial segregation in Southern schools.
A strongly-worded brief, filed in the Third Court of Civil Appeals, pointed to an eventual showdown before the United States Supreme Court.
Tuesday's action was another phase of the long litigation in behalf of Heman Marion Sweatt, 34 year-old postal employee.
Two Year Battle
For almost two years Sweatt has demanded, without success, the right to study law at the University of Texas in the same classrooms with white students. He has refused to enroll in a law class for Negroes.
The latest plea was an expansion of his contention that segregation is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. It was filed in an appeal from a district court ruling that denied him entry to white classrooms.
Indication that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People plans to make the Texas case a main test in the South is found in this statement from the sixty-four page printed brief:
"Although separate school laws have been enforced by several states, an examination of the cases in the United States Supreme Court and lower courts will demonstrate that these statutes have never been seriously challenged nor their validity examined and tested upon a record adequately presenting the critical and decisive issues such as are presented by the record in this case.
Barred Because of Race.
Sweatt started his effort to enter the university nearly two years ago. University officials excluded him solely because of his race, in compliance with state law.
When Sweatt took his case to court in June last year, District Judge Roy C. Archer refused the negro immediate entry and gave the state six months to offer equal, but separate educational opportunities. This resulted in the Legislature's spending $3,350,000 to set up a State University for Negroes at Houston. Sweatt went before Judge Archer again last May and was refused admittance to white classes.
Sweatt's attorneys have not based their case on an outright attack against segregation. Thurgood Marshall, New York, NAACP attorney, and W.J. Durham, Dallas, in their appeal from Judge Archer's ruling, contend that "there is no rational justification for segregation in professional education."
Lack of Equality Charged.
It was argued that the record demonstrates "that racially separated schools inevitably deny the equality required by the Fourteenth Amendment."
At another point, the attorney wrote:
"Segregation in public education help to preserve and enforce a caste system which is based upon race and color.
"It is designed and intended to perpetuate the slave tradition sought to be destroyed by the Civil War and to prevent Negroes from attaining the equality guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
Meanwhile, the interim law school of the negro university had attracted three students while the main university at Houston had enrolled at 1,800.
The appellate court, which resumes session Wednesday, has not set a date for a hearing in the Sweatt appeal.