The State of Virginia honors Gregory Swanson and Swanson v. UVA with Historical Marker in Charlottesville


Today in Charlottesville, Virginia, a historical marker was unveiled in honor of Gregory Swanson and the landmark Civil Rights case Swanson v. UVA. In the fall of 1949, Mr. Swanson, who had recently graduated from Howard University, applied to attend the all-white University of Virginia School of Law. Our Firm’s founder Mortimer Caplin was a law professor at UVA who fiercely advocated for Mr. Swanson’s admission and ended up garnering the support of the entire law school faculty to unanimously vote to offer Mr. Swanson admission.

When the Board of Visitors later rejected the decision of the law school faculty, Mr. Swanson filed a complaint against the university. In the end, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Mr. Swanson’s admission. Now the historical marker will be a permanent reminder of Mr. Swanson’s perseverance and the lawsuit that helped lay the foundation for the desegregation of education in the United States.

In 2020, the Firm formed the Caplin-Swanson Diversity Fellowship in honor of the actions taken by two men of great character, Gregory Swanson and Mortimer Caplin. To read more about Mr. Swanson and Mr. Caplin’s story or to learn more about the fellowship, please visit our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page.

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