Welcome! The growing collection seeks to provide wider accessibility to the history of the law school and Texas Southern University. Below are links to important documents and photographs. Please help us grow our collection by donating any unpublished documents or photographs relevant to the history of our great institution.
The Thurgood Marshall School of Law Collection provides documents and photographs chronicling the history of the law school – its faculty, staff, students and alumni.
The Texas Southern University Collections provides documents chronicling the history of the University – its faculty, staff, and students.
The W.J. Durham Papers are digitized court documents from the attorney who represented Heman Sweatt, alongside Thurgood Marshall, in Sweatt v. Painter.
TMSL School of Law Collection
The Papers of W.J. Durham, Esq.
William J. Durham (1896 - 1970) was a resident of Sherman, Texas for much of his life. He was notable as an African-American attorney and leader in the civil rights movement.
Durham spent the rest of his life fighting for equal rights for blacks in Texas, despite a race riot in Sherman in May 1930, where the black business district, including Durham's office, was burned.He became a leader in the Texas NAACP and served as the attorney in more than forty civil rights cases that sought to end segregation throughout Texas.
His most famous case was Sweatt v. Painter (1950) which resulted in the integration of the University of Texas School of Law. Durham and Thurgood Marshall worked closely in crafting this case from quarters in the Durham family home in Sherman.
Durham eventually moved his practice to Dallas, Texas, and practiced law there for many years. When he died on December 22, 1970 he was buried in Greenville Cemetery in Greenville, Texas.