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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difficult for the justices, as defendants who were white as well as those who were black challenged interrogation practices that were less barbaric and that were used in the North as well as the South. The Court first extended Brown in Chambers v. Florida (1940). When a white man was killed near Fort Lauderdale in 1933, “the police instinctively reach[ed] for a Negro,” rounding up for interrogation nearly forty black men without any particularized suspicion. Izell Chambers and three codefendants

received no change of venue. Their lawyers sometimes failed to even request one, either because of indifference or as a calculated judgment that asking for it might get their clients lynched. Other lawyers were unable to secure the affidavits that were necessary to support such a motion. Whites who wished to take matters into their own hands by dispensing “populist justice” strongly resisted the relocation of trials and exerted enormous pressure on those who contemplated signing change-of-venue

pages 391–92, 394–97. 140. SSN, Oct. 1954, p. 14; Nov. 1954, p. 15; Sept. 1954, p. 13; Mar. 1956, p. 4; Killian & Haer, “Attitudes regarding School Segregation,” 161 table 1; Bartley, Massive Resistance, 13–14, 253–54, 337; Ely, Crisis of Conservative Virginia, 30, 34–37; McMillen, Citizens’ Council, 6–7, 45–46, 93–94, 103–5, 292–93; Pettigrew & Campbell, “Faubus and Segregation,” 442–45; Bartley & Graham, Southern Politics, 53, 80, 186–187; Peltason, Fifty-Eight Lonely Men, 33–35; Abbott,

Mississippi, 1962. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Du Bois, W. E. B. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1899. Dudziak, Mary. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000. Eagles, Charles W. Jonathan Daniels and Race Relations: The Evolution of a Southern Liberal. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1982. Eagles, Charles W., ed. The Civil Rights Movement in America.

peripheral South cities but also in Atlanta and Birmingham—conducted successful voter registration drives. The extent of black militancy was evident in the ferocity of the southern white backlash, which included an increase in the number of lynchings—from thirty-six in 1917 to sixty in 1918 and to seventy-six in 1919.17 Although the forces just described eventually created background conditions that facilitated civil rights protest, the changes were neither rapid nor unidirectional. The Great

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