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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rising from roughly 250,000 in 1940 to 750,000 in 1948 and then to more than one million in 1952. In large cities such as New Orleans, Atlanta, and Memphis, blacks were able to qualify to vote almost as easily as in northern cities, and black voters occasionally held the balance of power in local elections. Some observers concluded that even at the state level black voters were the deciding factor in the narrow election victories in 1948 of economically populist and racially moderate politicians,

union activity and their left-wing political views. He had also encouraged President Wilson to pardon the West Coast radical Tom Mooney, who was convicted on slim evidence of planting a bomb that killed ten people at the Preparedness Day Parade in San Francisco in 1916. In the 1920s, Frankfurter had supported the commutation of the death sentences of the Massachusetts anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. The appointment of Frankfurter to the high court reflected the changing

Papers, Princeton University Library; Frankfurter to Harlan, 18 July 1956, ibid.; Frankfurter to Harlan, 31 July 1956, ibid. 65. Litwack, North of Slavery, 75, 263; Grossman, Democratic Party and the Negro, 16; Woodward, Strange Career of Jim Crow, 20. 66. Gillette, Right to Vote, chap. 1; Mathews, Fifteenth Amendment, 11–14, 17–18, 22; Bond, “Original Understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment,” 445–53; Fishel, “Northern Prejudice and Negro Suffrage”; Fredrickson, Black Image in the White Mind,

1941, ibid., reel 6, frs. 110–15. 99. One of the four, Ernest Thomas, was killed by the sheriff’s posse. A second, Charlie Greenlee, was only sixteen years old, and the prosecutor chose not to pursue the death penalty against him. Only Shepherd and Irvin received death sentences. 100. Lawson et al., “Groveland,” 2–5, 9–10; Green, Harry T. Moore, 81–108, 115–16, 127–28, 134–53, 191, 206–7; “Florida’s Little Scottsboro: Groveland,” Crisis 56 (Oct. 1950): 266–68, 285–86; “Florida Shooting,” ibid.

Crisis,” 67–70, 76–77; Reed, Faubus, 169–81; Powell, “Massive Resistance in Arkansas,” 14–19; Black, Southern Governors and Civil Rights, 100; Goldfield, Black, White, and Southern, 107; Sherrill, Gothic Politics in the Deep South, 77–78, 83–85; Bartley, Massive Resistance, 142, 260–61. 108. SSN, June 1957, p. 9; July 1957, p. 10; Sept. 1957, pp. 6–7; Oct. 1957, pp. 1–3; Aug. 1958, p. 8; Muse, Ten Years of Prelude, 122–37; Wilkinson, Brown to Bakke, 88–90; Freyer, Little Rock Crisis, 98–109;

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