Hemella Sweatt, MD
Dr. Hemella L. Sweatt is the daughter of Heman Marion Sweatt and is a board certified physician in dermapathology and anatomic pathology. She is a graduate of Duke University and Howard University Medical School.
Source and photo credit: Dermpath Diagnostics National Website
Thoughts on Before Brown
Hemella L. Sweatt, M.D.
My father, Heman Marion Sweatt, seldom spoke to me about the landmark Supreme Court case that bears his name. Nor did he ever dwell on the price he paid so that all Americans could have access to institutions like The University of Texas Law School. It is after reading Before Brown by Gary M. Lavergne, that I feel like a part of my father I never quite knew has been revealed.
But this marvelous book is not just a great gift to me personally, it is also a triumph of storytelling and scholarship. Through reporting that is remarkably detailed, Gary Lavergne has managed to show how my father could be kind and gentle, and afraid and courageous, and tough--all at the same time. He also shows us how plaintiffs in civil rights cases, like my father, were more than just names on a legal document. They were real people with real jobs and families, who endured the stress of years of litigation.
Before Brown chronicles the last major civil rights victory before Brown v Board of Education. It is an important work of American history, but it is also a touching story of my father's faith in democracy and his willingness to travel the long road to justice.