Heman Marion Sweatt and Abigail Noel Fisher both wanted to attend the University of Texas at Austin.
Both claimed their race was a primary reason for their rejection. Both filed civil rights lawsuits, and the Supreme Court ultimately agreed to hear their separate appeals — filed more than half a century apart.
Their cases share much in common — vexing questions of competition, fairness, and demographics — and what role government should play when promoting political and social diversity.
But it is the key difference between these plaintiffs — separated by three generations and a troubled road to “equality” — that now confronts the nation’s highest court: Sweatt was black, Fisher is white.