Which Legal Case Forced the University of Maryland

Charles Houston, a special adviser to the NAACP, targeted law schools. He was optimistic that white judges, based on their own experience, would reject the unequal training of black lawyers. After winning the Murray case, Houston worked with Marshall and Sidney Redmond on Missouri ex rel. In 1935, the University of Missouri Law School denied admission to Lloyd Gaines, an honorary graduate of Lincoln University (Missouri), and offered to build a law school in Lincoln or pay Gaines` tuition at an out-of-state school. Houston and Redmond argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1938. The court ruled that Missouri must offer Gaines a facility equivalent within its limits or admit him to the university`s law school. In response, the state legislature sought to establish an improvised law school to encourage Houston to renew the legal battle. Meanwhile, Gaines disappeared and abruptly ended the case. His fate remains a mystery. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that “segregated educational institutions are inherently unequal” and that, therefore, racial segregation in public schools violated the equality clause of the 14th Amendment.

Although implementation of the court`s decision was uneven and painfully slow, Brown v. Board provided the legal foundation and much of the inspiration for the civil rights movement that developed over the next decade. At the same time, the case established Marshall as one of the most successful and prominent lawyers in the United States. This week, LDF founder Thurgood Marshall celebrates his 105th birthday. He was LDF`s first President and Managing Counsel and led the organization through some of its landmark cases. While practicing law in Baltimore, Thurgood Marshall worked diligently to collect black teachers` pay cases for the NAACP. He also urged Houston to face Murray v. Maryland, a stronger prospect than the Hocutt case. The applicant, Donald G.

Murray, was a highly qualified Amherst graduate who had been denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Law. In 1935, Houston accepted and tried the case with Marshall in Baltimore City Court before Judge Eugene O`Dunne. The judge ruled that Murray had been rejected solely on the basis of his race and ordered the university to admit it. Murray became the first black graduate of the university`s law school in 1938. Emboldened by its victory in the Gaines case, the NAACP continued to address legally sanctioned racial discrimination in higher education. In 1946, an African-American named Heman Sweat applied to the “white” law school at the University of Texas. Hoping that Sweat wouldn`t have to go after the “white” law school if there was already a “black” school, the state hastily set up an underfunded “black” law school elsewhere on the university`s campus. At this point, Sweat enlisted the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and sued for admission to the university`s “white” law school. He argued that the education he received at “black” law school was not of the same academic calibre as the education he would receive if he attended a “white” law school.

When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950, the court unanimously agreed, citing glaring discrepancies between the university`s law school (the School for Whites) and the hastily created school for blacks. In other words, the “black” law school was “separate” but not “equal.” As in Murray, the court concluded that the only appropriate remedy for this situation was to admit Sweat to the university`s law school. Two years after Murray, Murray, Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall and two legal partners, Leon Ransom and Sidney Redmond, challenged the University of Missouri`s refusal to admit a black student to its law school, even though there was no black law school in the state. Gaines v. Canada was judged by the Supreme Court and the decision ordered the University of Missouri to allow Lloyd Gaines to attend law school. The University of Missouri soon opened a black law school (in a building that also housed a movie theater and hotel), but the case did not have a direct impact on Southern states, which had created separate—though highly unequal—vocational schools for their black residents. The district court judge issued a writ of mandamus, which ordered Raymond A. Pearson, president of the university, to admit Murray to law school.

[3] At the District Court hearing, Marshall stated that Maryland did not provide Murray with “separate but equal” training as required by the Fourteenth Amendment (using the legal standard of the time). [2] Because laws differ from state to state, a law school in another state could not prepare a potential attorney for a career in Maryland. Marshall argued in principle that “since the state of Maryland had not provided a comparable law school for blacks, Murray should be allowed to attend white college”[5] and stated that the Court of Appeals` decision was never brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, and as such, the decision was not binding outside Maryland; the Supreme Court decided the same issue in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada in 1938. The NAACP`s legal strategy of addressing segregation by requiring equal access to public facilities that could not be easily replicated was pursued with mixed results in subsequent lawsuits. In Williams v. Zimmerman,[7] a case that was challenged in the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1937, Marshall failed in his attempt to abolish a high school in Baltimore County that had no public high schools for black teenagers. [8] The legal strategy was successful in 1952 with the desegregation of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in Baltimore City. It was not until 1954 that Brown v. The Board of Education ordered desegregation throughout the United States.

[9] Brown also overturned Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” as conforming to the Fourteenth Amendment`s equal protection clause as used in Murray. When the Supreme Court was seized of the cases in 1952, it took all five cases as Brown v. School Board. Marshall personally represented the case before the Court. Although he raised various legal issues in the appeal, the most common was that separate school systems for blacks and whites were inherently unequal and therefore violated the “equality protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In addition, relying on sociological tests such as that of sociologist Kenneth Clark and other data, he argued that segregated school systems tend to make black children feel inferior to white children, and therefore such a system should not be legally allowed. While it recognized some of the plaintiffs` claims, a three-judge panel of the U.S.

District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plaintiffs then appealed to the United States.