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January 9, 2004

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law, (512) 471-7330.

In Memoriam: Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr., 1930-2004

Integrated The University of Texas School of Law with six other African American men in 1950

Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr.
Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jr., who died on Jan. 4, in Chicago, Illinois, was one of the six African Americans who first attended The University of Texas School of Law in 1950. The other students were Elwin Franklin Jarmon, Virgil C. Lott, Dudley D. Redd, Heman Marion Sweatt, and George Washington Jr.

The Chicago Tribune in its January 7 edition stated that Carruthers, a professor and scholar at Northeastern Illinois for 32 years, spent much of the past 20 years studying Egyptian hieroglyphics in creating a body of work to prove that Western interpretations excluded Africans' role in shaping world civilizations.

Carruthers grew up in Texas and graduated from Wheatley High School in Houston. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Samuel Huston College in Austin. In 1950, he was among the first African American students to integrate the University of Texas Law School. Dr. Carruthers left after one year, went into the Air Force for two years, then obtained a master's degree and doctorate (University of Colorado, Boulder). He taught political science at Kansas State College and then began teaching at Northeastern Illinois in 1968.

He was the author of several books and essays, including Intellectual Warfare and Essays in Ancient Egyptian Studies, and he lectured around
the world on African civilization history. Dr. Carruthers also was the founding president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and co-founder of the teacher-training program, Teaching About Africa.

"We have worked for decades to create a diverse student body and alumni, and this work started with Jacob Carruthers, Jr., Heman Marion Sweatt, and the other courageous men and women who integrated our law school. Jacob challenged the status quo and made our world a better place. We thank him for his courage, and our best thoughts are with his family at this time," said Dean Bill Powers.

"Dr. Carruthers was a scholar, patriot, and pioneer. His bravery in 1950 would mean that future generations of African Americans could enjoy the benefits of attending one of the country's top law schools. We are forever indebted to him for his dedication to the cause of advancing civil rights. While he will undoubtedly be missed by his family, friends, and associates, he has left a legacy that will stand the test of time," said Keith Smith, the President of UT Law's Thurgood Marshall Legal Society.

Today The University of Texas School of Law has been recognized as the national leader among schools working to broaden their traditional applicant pool. Hispanic Business Magazine wrote, "The University of Texas School of Law has produced more Hispanic and African-American graduates combined than any other law school in the United States (with the exception of the historically African-American schools such as Howard University.)" The students today reflect a diverse mix of educational, cultural and professional backgrounds. UT Law alumni include 1,564 Hispanic alumni, 698 African American alumni, 322 Asian-American alumni, and 46 Native American alumni. Over the years, these graduates have included a cabinet secretary, nine federal judges, mayors of the two largest cities in Texas, two Texas Supreme Court Justices, and numerous leaders of the bar, business, and government.