This Day in History

June 5, 1950: The Supreme Court and School Segregation Cases

Time Periods: 1945
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights

Heman Marion Sweatt on the campus of University of Texas School of Law in Austin in August of 1950. Source: Joseph Scherschel, LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

On June 5, 1950 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in three cases that weakened the structure of legalized segregation.

The cases included,

(1) In 1946, the University of Texas Law School denied entry to Heman Marion Sweatt and proposed a makeshift law school for him in the basement of a building near all-Black Prairie View University. Sweatt and his wife had their lives threatened and their home defaced during the fight for his right to attend law school.

(2) In 1948, George McLaurin, a teacher, applied to the University of Oklahoma to pursue his doctorate. The University admitted McLaurin but segregated him from white students.

(3) Henderson v. United States, a landmark decision that abolished segregation in railroad dining cars.