From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Michael J. Klarman

Language: English

Pages: 672

ISBN: 0195310187

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A monumental investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights spells out in compelling detail the political and social context within which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of their decisions for American race relations. In a highly provocative interpretation of the decision's connection to the civil rights movement, Klarman argues that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. Brown unquestioningly had a significant impact--it brought race issues to public attention and it mobilized supporters of the ruling. It also, however, energized the opposition. In this authoritative account of constitutional law concerning race, Michael Klarman details, in the richest and most thorough discussion to date, how and whether Supreme Court decisions do, in fact, matter.

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the all-white Mississippi Southern College in September 1959. He was arrested immediately after leaving the administration building, charged with reckless driving and illegal possession of whiskey (he did not drink), found guilty, and fined six hundred dollars plus costs. A couple of years later, Kennard was sentenced to seven years at hard labor on possibly trumped-up charges of receiving twenty-five dollars’ worth of stolen chicken feed. In 1962, James Meredith finally desegregated Mississippi

members were told that the defendants had been transferred out of Lake County for safekeeping, they vented their rage instead on Groveland’s black community, destroying several homes and driving hundreds of blacks into the surrounding swamps in fear for their lives. Medical testimony revealed that the defendants had been severely beaten before they confessed—a constitutional violation so transparent that prosecutors made no effort to introduce the confessions at trial. Yet word of the

Vote?” ibid. 29 (Nov. 1924): 12–14; “The Acceptance Speeches,” ibid. 35 (Oct. 1928): 346; “How Shall We Vote?” ibid.; “Color Discrimination in Government Service,” ibid. (Nov. 1928): 369, 387–90; “Segregation,” ibid. (Dec. 1928): 418; “Mr. Hoover and the Negro,” ibid. 38 (June 1931): 207–8; Lester A. Walton, “Vote for Roosevelt,” ibid. 39 (Nov. 1932): 343–44; Sherman, Republican Party and Black America, chaps. 6, 8, 9; Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln, 5–8, 15–17; Zangrando, NAACP Crusade

notes, Henderson v. United States, 8 Apr. 1950, Box 196, Douglas Papers; Frankfurter to Conference, memorandum, 31 May 1950, ibid.; Hutchinson, “Unanimity and Desegregation,” 23 n. 190, 27–30; Tushnet, Thurgood Marshall, 145; P. D. W. & L. T. to “Boss,” 1 Apr. 1950, Box A2, Clark Papers. 126. Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1 (1824); Brown v. Maryland, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 419 (1827); Morgan v. Virginia, 328 U.S. 373 (1946); Cushman, “Formalism and Realism in Commerce Clause Jurisprudence.”

Jacoway, Elizabeth, & David R. Colburn, eds. Southern Businessmen and Desegregation. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982. Jacoway, Elizabeth, & C. Fred Williams, eds. Understanding the Little Rock Crisis: An Exercise in Remembrance and Reconciliation. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1999. James, Joseph. The Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1984. Jeffries, John C., Jr. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. New York:

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