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Heman Sweatt Symposium Brings Expert on University's Integration to Campus

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posted: Thursday March 10, 2011

Event: The monthly speaker series of the 25th annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights at The University of Texas at Austin presents Louise Iscoe, author of "Overcoming: A History of Black Integration at the University of Texas at Austin," to discuss the obstacles to integration at the university and the events and progress that led to the university's integration.

When: Thursday, March 24, noon-1:30 pm.

Where: Texas Union, Quadrangle Room, 3.304

Background: The university opened its doors to black students in 1950. However, black students would still experience many closed doors for decades to come -- barred from housing, athletics and businesses that neighbored the campus. Despite this reality, black students were welcomed and supported by a house mother named Almetris Marsh Duren. Duren described this period of history in a book she co-authored with Louise Iscoe in 1979, when she was a staff member at the university. The book highlights the events and people seminal to the university's progress toward becoming an institution that is inclusive and respectful of all cultures and ideas.

Iscoe is a freelance writer and researcher specializing in the areas of education and the social sciences. She has been a senior research associate for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and a writer and editor at The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Kevin Michael Foster, assistant professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, will interview Iscoe about her views on the community climate during the university's integration years, and future plans to update her book.

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 event is the third speaker event in a series of four being held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sweatt Symposium. The 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.

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