Education: Test Case

One cold February morning in 1946, a slender, bespectacled young man walked into the University of Texas registrar's office and applied for admission to the law school. Heman Marion Sweatt, 33, a Houston mailman who had graduated from a small Southern college, was qualified in every respect but one: he was a Negro. He was the first who ever tried to enter the University. He was turned down flat.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seized upon the Houston mailman for a test case. Its argument: the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the Gaines Case (1938) that Negroes must...

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