Heman Sweatt Symposium Founders Discuss Evolution of Campus Tradition

Feb. 21, 2011

Event: The monthly speaker series of the 25th annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights at The University of Texas at Austin presents two former university administrators, Drs. George C. Wright and Edwin R. Sharpe, to discuss "How it All Began — The Evolutionary Steps in Establishing the Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights."

When: Thursday, Feb. 24, noon to 1:30 pm.

Where: Texas Union Theatre, 2.228

Background: Dr. George C. Wright is president of Prairie View A&M University and has held faculty and leadership positions at several universities, including the Department of History at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Edwin R. Sharpe is a clinical professor in the Department of Educational Administration at The University of Texas at Austin, and formerly was vice president for administration at The University of Texas at Austin. In the mid-1980s, both men collaborated to help start the first Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights at The University of Texas at Austin. They will provide a historical overview of the events that led up to the symposium’s establishment and discuss their roles, including the labor and hurdles involved in institutionalizing a civil rights symposium on campus, 36 years after the first African American was admitted to the university’s School of Law.

About the Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights: The Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights, started in 1986, is an annual event organized by students, faculty and staff. The symposium is named after Heman Marion Sweatt, the first African American admitted into the university's School of Law after the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Sweatt v. Painter in 1950. That decision paved the way for admission of African Americans to formerly segregated colleges and universities across the nation and for the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education four years later.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the symposium. This event is the second speaker event in a series of four being held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sweatt Symposium. This year's symposium will culminate on May 6 with "A Special Evening of Honors" to recognize individuals from the university community who embody the life and legacy of Sweatt. Learn more about the speakers and symposium events. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Sherry Reddick.