On June 5, 1950, the United States Supreme Court handed down two decisions that dealt with racial segregation in higher learning institutions. In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education et al, George McLaurin, an African American student, alleged his constitutional rights were violated when he was assigned to sit in a particular row designated for “colored students” in class, in the library and in the cafeteria.
The Court agreed that it was unconstitutional to treat students differently solely on the basis of one’s race.
In Sweatt v. Painter et al, the University of Texas Law School refused to admit an African American student, Heman Sweatt, on the basis of his race. The State of Texas established another law school for African Americans, and that school did admit him; however, Sweatt refused to register. He claimed that the school was inferior.
The Court (unanimously) sided with Heman Sweatt finding that the University of Texas Law School was “superior.” They ordered that he be admitted.