Tuesday, June 2, 2009
McLauren v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (1950)
In 1950, a companion case to Sweatt vs. Painter, was brought to the Supreme Court. G.W. McLaurin sued the University of Oklahoma because, as a black man, he was not allowed equal educational opportunity. At age seventy, McLaurin was getting his doctorate degree in education, however the segregation imposed by the school made this unfair for him in comparison to his white classmates. He was designated a certain area for black students, a specific table to study at in the library, a separate table in the lunch room, and he was discriminated against in the classroom. The court demanded, by unanimous decision that the school was at fault for permitting this mistreatment. Based on the Fourteenth Amendment, the state-supported school could not legally separate the students in such a way and was forced to incorporate a fair education for all races of students. The University of Oklahoma, as the University of Texas had done in Sweatt vs. Painter, had used the term “separate but equal” loosely to allow unfair segregation to pervade through the school.