Journal or Book Title
The Journal of Southern History
The basic historical details of Heman M. Sweatt's lawsuit to desegregate the University of Texas Law School are well known. Sweatt, a postal carrier from Houston, sought admission to the school and was denied because he was black; he sued, his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in Sweatt v. Painter (1950) the Court ruled in his favor but refused to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice, Gary M. Lavergne demonstrates that so much more took place. He traces the long history of segregation in higher education and the complex legal issues that Sweatt and his attorneys challenged in state and federal court. Lavergne asserts, "I want Before Brown to be more than a biography of a single plaintiff in a Supreme Court case" (p. 2). Indeed, the breadth of the book's coverage is its greatest strength.
Southern Historical Association
Behnken, Brian D., "Review of Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice. Jess and Betty Jo Hay Series by Gary M. Lavergne" (2012). History Publications. 97.