60 years since first African American students admitted to UT

UT protest in 1950's (Courtesy: UT Briscoe Center)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A group in Austin is celebrating a milestone for the civil rights movement.

In 1956, the first African American students were allowed to enroll as undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin.

Joining us in the KXAN studio to talk about the 60th anniversary of civil rights group, The Precursors, is the President Cloteal Haynes. The Precursors are a group of black University of Texas alumni. They are distinguished by the fact that to be a Precursor you had to enter UT a minimum of 40-years-ago.

“Over the years the numbers of the African American students at the  University of Texas really hasn’t grown very much.” said Haynes. “When I was there in the early 70’s of the 30,000 students at the time less than 300 were black, maybe one percent.”

Today, with 50,000 students not even four percent of the population is African American, according to Haynes.

The landmark case that changed everything was Sweatt v. Painter in 1950. Herman Marion Sweatt was ordered by the Supreme Court to be admitted to UT in 1950. In 1956 following the Board of Regents resolution African-American students were allowed to come to the school for the first time. An estimated 75 African American students enrolled at UT that year.

The tribute to The Precursors will be at the LBJ Library Auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday. It is free and open to the public.

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