Law Library - Government Documents, Special Collections

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Documents Collection Special Collection


Through the support of then Director of the Law Library, Marguerite Butler, and the Law School Dean McKen Carrington, the Law Library Special Collections made its debut in 2002. It was conceived with the historical backdrop of Heman Marion Sweatt (1912-1982) as its foundation.

In summary, Sweatt desired to pursue a legal education at the University of Texas law school in 1946. However, Jim Crow laws precluded him from enrolling in the predominately Anglo-American institution of higher learning because of his race. Hence, he was denied admission into the university. Subsequently, through the assistance of the NAACP, Sweatt filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas. Thurgood Marshall, one of the lead counsels, appealed his case up to the United States Supreme Court, where it ruled in Sweatt’s favor in 1950. However, prior to the Court’s decision, the Texas State Legislature responded to this high profile case by creating a makeshift law school for “Negroes” in Austin, later transferred to the newly established Texas State University for Negroes in 1947. The name was changed to Texas Southern University in 1951. And although Sweatt never attended the Law School at Texas Southern University, he was the direct cause for its very existence.

The Sweatt experience teaches us that life is a battle. The first, and probably the most important one, is the battle of the mind. With that being said, the Law Library is called into existence not only to meet the curriculum needs and research demands of a rigorous law school education. It is, above all, an institution borne from the travails of social justice, self-determination and human triumph. Therefore, the role of the Law Library is much more than an environment to tap legal information and resources. Through the agency of its Special Collections, the Law Library is charged with the mission and responsibility to collect, to store, and to disseminate information that analyzes, interprets, discusses and comments on the legal, political and social history of people of African descent in the State of Texas and abroad as well as to preserve the institutional memory of the Law School.

The following list highlights selected microform titles from the Special Collections:

For a complete list of microform titles, click here.

Special Collections materials are generally non-circulating and must be viewed in the Law Library. Annotated bibliographies, finding aids, and guides are currently in progress. Located in Room B30 of the Law Library Basement, the hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. For more information, please contact the Circulation Desk 713.313.7125./p>