Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice

By Gary M. Lavergne | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
The House That Sweatt Built

To keep Heman Sweatt out of its white college, Texas builds one for him, but he
won’t go to it
.

LIFE, SEPTEMBER 29, 1947

The debate over whether the case method was appropriate for teaching law in very small classes continued when the state called UT Law professor A. W. Walker to the stand and Assistant Attorney General Joe Greenhill made his début as a questioner. But Walker’s testimony was little more than a rehash of previous testimony provided by both the state’s and Sweatt’s witnesses about the law-school teaching experience. Greenhill, however, proved himself to be more adept than Price Daniel at handling the vigorous cross-examination of James Nabrit, Jr. He even used it to the state’s advantage.

GREENHILL: Judge Walker, these thought-provoking questions that [James
Nabrit, Jr.] is asking you about; I will ask you whether or not it is often that
the professor himself asks those [kinds of] questions?

WALKER: Oh, yes.

Nabrit declined to recross, and Walker was dismissed as a witness.

Following Walker’s testimony, Greenhill called Benjamin Floyd Pittenger, a professor of educational administration at UT’s College of Education. Pittenger had been at the university since 1911 and had served as dean of the college since 1926. More recently, he had served as chairman of the steering committee of Governor Coke Stevenson’s Bi-Racial Conference on Negro Education. His testimony reflected the conference’s report, which concluded that African Americans did not favor, and would not be “happy”

-204-

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Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1- Prologue 5
  • Chapter 2- One of the Great Prophets 8
  • Chapter 3- The Cast of Characters 20
  • Chapter 4- Iron Shoes 34
  • Chapter 5- The Shadow of Failure 45
  • Chapter 6- The Second Emancipation 58
  • Chapter 7- A University of the First Class 73
  • Chapter 8- [A Brash Moment] 86
  • Chapter 9- The Great Day 96
  • Chapter 10- [Time Is of the Essence] 111
  • Chapter 11- [the Tenderest Feeling] 124
  • Chapter 12- The Basement School 139
  • Chapter 13- A Line in the Dirt 152
  • Chapter 14- [I Don't Believe in Segregation] 170
  • Chapter 15- The Sociological Argument 187
  • Chapter 16- The House That Sweatt Built 204
  • Chapter 17- [Don't We Have Them on the Run 222
  • Chapter 18- A Shattered Spirit 238
  • Chapter 19- The Big One 253
  • Chapter 20- Why Sweatt Won 267
  • Chapter 21- Epilogue 285
  • Notes 295
  • Bibliography and Notes on Sources 335
  • Index 343
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