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The Bizzell Library was constructed in 1929 on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. It is significant in history because of its association in the racial desegregation case of McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents. George McLaurin was a retired professor who wanted to earn his Doctorate in Education. On January 28, 1948 he applied to the University of Oklahoma but was denied entry based solely on his race. At the time, Oklahoma statutes made it a misdemeanor to maintain or operate, teach, or attend a school at which both whites and African Americans were enrolled or taught. McLaurin took his case to the Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and was granted segregated admission. He was given a desk in the mezzanine of the Bizzell Library building, rather than being allowed use of the regular reading room. He appealed the segregation up to the U.S. Supreme Court, in McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He won and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the segregation.

  • Bizzell Library
  • G. W. McLaurin enduring segregation within his courses at the University of Oklahoma