|Houston Informer, May 17, 1947. Used with
permission of the Houston Informer
Segregation Intensifies Suspicion and Distrust, Sociologist Asserts in Sweatt Hearing at Austin
AUSTIN--A surprise witness for the counsel in the case of Heman Marion Sweatt Wednesday, was Robert Redfield, eminent sociologist, anthropologist and lawyer at the University of Chicago, who went on the stand as an expert witness on sociological aspects of segregated education.
Mr. Redfield stated that over a period of twenty years he had given special attention to racial differences in education. He alleged that there are no racial differences in comparing capacity for education under similar circumstances. He stated that the main purpose of education is to develop in every citizen his intellectual and moral qualities to the fullest extent. He believed that that this citizenship can only be developed in a pattern similar to that under which citizens live in America as a whole. He emphasized that segregation tends to intensify suspicion and distrust therefore is not a favorable condition for educational purposes. Segregated schools provide less than full participation in the community of which a student is a member. It tends to accentuate unfavorable differences between Negro and white.
On cross examination by the states attorney, Price Daniel, Redfield was asked if he felt that the elimination of segregation in the south where it has been established by law would be favorable. He also asked Redfield if he recalled circumstances following the Civil War with regard to "carpetbaggers." The noted sociologist answered, "I recall reading something about carpetbaggers." Daniel asked, "Do you think the system was effected [sic]?" Redfield answered with a very telling gesture, "We see the results right here," as he shrugged at the segregated audience in the courtroom.
In an attempt to emphasize that the NAACP had influenced Sweatt in his intentions of not attending a segregated school, Price Daniel, the attorney general placed the relator Heman Sweatt on the stand and asked if it were not true that he had changed his mind about attending a proposed law school for Negroes at Prairie View, Texas after June 16, 1946. Sweatt emphatically said, "No!"
Other witnesses placed on the stand by Daniel were Sweatts attorney, W.J. Durham, who testified that he had not been influenced by the NAACP in discussing the relative values of segregated education in the proposed law school by the University of Texas in discussing the case with his client, Heman Sweatt, but had advised Sweatt after having the proposed school investigated by Maceo Smith, secretary of the Texas Conference of the NAACP, that said school would not be equal to the law school of the University of Texas.
Miss Helen Hargrave, law librarian of the University of Texas law school, testified on cross examination by counsel for Sweatt, that she did not know whether the university law library could be duplicated for $100,000, the amount set aside by the State of Texas for setting up the law school for Negroes at Austin, or not. Thurgood Marshall, NAACP counsel, asked Miss Hargrave, "If the library would not be a qualifying standard in meeting those standards set by the American Association of law schools."
Expert testimony is expected Thursday morning from Earl G. Harrison, dean of the law school at the University of Pennsylvania.