AUSTIN, Texas — Prairie View A&M University’s Symphonic Band and Concert Chorale, and former Texas State Rep. Wilhelmina Delco will be featured at the 12th annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights at UT Austin.
The two-day Sweatt Symposium titled, “From Sweatt to Hopwood to Success: Solutions For Creating a Diverse University,” will begin Thursday (April 16) with a student panel discussion on “The Path to College.” UT Austin students will meet with Austin Independent School District students to discuss how to get to college and how to survive once there. The discussion will take place in Bates Recital Hall from 10 a.m. to noon.
Paula M. Poindexter, an associate professor of journalism and advertising in the College of Communication, will moderate the “African-Americans and the Media Lecture Series,” from 3 to 5 p.m in the Quadrangle Room of the Texas Union. The lecture series will feature newspaper, radio and television journalists discussing issues and controversies associated with news coverage of African-Americans. Participants include Alberta Brooks, capitol reporter for the Austin American-Statesman; James Campbell, editorial page writer for the Houston Chronicle; Marilyn Marshall, contributing editor of the Houston Defender; Lennox Samuels, deputy managing editor of the Dallas Morning News ; and Roland Martin, news director of KKDA-AM in Dallas.
Prairie View A&M’s Symphonic Band and Concert Chorale, featuring 60 musicians and 50 singers, will perform classical, gospel and contemporary popular and show music to highlight the first day of the symposium with a performance at 7:30 p.m. in Bates Recital Hall.
Friday’s (April 17) events will begin with a panel discussion from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Bass Lecture Hall titled, “Civil Rights Legislation and Affirmative Action: Where Do We Go From Here.” It features former Travis County Commissioner and County Judge candidate Sam Biscoe, Al Kauffman of MALDEF, UT Austin law Professor Gerald Torres, Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall Law School Professor Grover Hankins and Gary Bledsoe, Texas NAACP state president.
Dr. James Hill, associate vice president for administration and public affairs at UT Austin, will lead a panel discussion from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Bass Lecture Hall titled, “Standardized Testing Issues for Minorities: Past, Present and Future.” Participants include Dr. Paul Ramsey of Educational Testing Services; Dr. Raymond Paredes, associate vice chancellor at the University of Calilfornia at Los Angeles; Dr. Bradley J. Quin from the College Board; Bruce Walker, associate vice president of student affairs and deputy director of admissions at UT Austin; and Bledsoe.
Delco, an active supporter of higher education, will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. Friday at the LBJ Auditorium.In conjunction with the symposium, 24 high school students who qualified as regional finalists in the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition, will be honored at an archival ceremony at UT AustinÌs Center for American History.
To stimulate historiography related to African-Americans in Texas, UT Austin developed the African-American Historical Essay Competition. The theme of the competition is “The African-American in Texas: Past and Present.” Before Delco’s keynote address, the first-, second- and third-place winners will be awarded scholarships of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.
The annual symposium is named for Heman Sweatt, an African-American who was denied admission to the UT Austin School of Law in 1946 on the basis of race. Sweatt, with the help of the NAACP, sued the University. In the landmark case, Sweatt v. Painter, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate law school facilities could not provide an education equal in quality to that available at the UT law school. The Sweatt decision helped pave the way for admission of African Americans into segregated colleges and universities.
The event is sponsored by the UT Office of the President and members of the Heman Sweatt Symposium Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean of Students, the College of Liberal Arts, Austin Independent School District and the Texas Education Agency.