The 25th Heman Sweatt Symposium gets underway Thursday, Jan. 27, with Gary Lavergne, author of Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road to Justice. Laverne is the first speaker in a lecture series schedule monthly until May, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Sweatt Symposium. He will be awarded the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History from the Texas State Historical Association at the Association’s annual meeting in March.
Lavergne will speak twice on the 27th, with a lunchtime lecture in the Texas Union Eastwood Room 2.102, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. That evening, at 6:30 in John Hargis Hall, Lavergne will interview members of the Sweatt family. The family will discuss their memories of Heman Sweatt and his experience here at UT, and offer a glimpse into the family’s history and accomplishments.
As the director of admissions research and policy, Lavergne has spent years studying issues of race and social justice. His interest about the case Sweatt v. Painter was piqued when he first read the Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003. The Sweatt case was mentioned in the 2003 decision which ruled that the University of Michigan could use race as a factor in admissions decisions. Lavergne’s book provides many details into Mr. Sweatt’s life and the legal battles to which he was subjected.
Later lectures are scheduled for February 24, March 24, and April 14 from noon-1:30 in the Texas Union. Visit the Sweatt Symposium web page for details as they are confirmed. These events are free and open to the public.
The Sweatt Symposium will culminate on May 6 with an Evening of Honors that will recognize 25 outstanding individuals who helped integrate The University of Texas of Texas at Austin, making significant contributions in civil rights.
The Sweatt Symposium is organized by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement with support from colleges and schools across The University of Texas at Austin campus.