Shades of Freedom

Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process

Author: A. Leon Higginbotham Jr.

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198028673

Category: Social Science

Page: 352

View: 1503

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Few individuals have had as great an impact on the law--both its practice and its history--as A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. A winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, he has distinguished himself over the decades both as a professor at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard, and as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. But Judge Higginbotham is perhaps best known as an authority on racism in America: not the least important achievement of his long career has been In the Matter of Color, the first volume in a monumental history of race and the American legal process. Published in 1978, this brilliant book has been hailed as the definitive account of racism, slavery, and the law in colonial America. Now, after twenty years, comes the long-awaited sequel. In Shades of Freedom, Higginbotham provides a magisterial account of the interaction between the law and racial oppression in America from colonial times to the present, demonstrating how the one agent that should have guaranteed equal treatment before the law--the judicial system--instead played a dominant role in enforcing the inferior position of blacks. The issue of racial inferiority is central to this volume, as Higginbotham documents how early white perceptions of black inferiority slowly became codified into law. Perhaps the most powerful and insightful writing centers on a pair of famous Supreme Court cases, which Higginbotham uses to portray race relations at two vital moments in our history. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 declared that a slave who had escaped to free territory must be returned to his slave owner. Chief Justice Roger Taney, in his notorious opinion for the majority, stated that blacks were "so inferior that they had no right which the white man was bound to respect." For Higginbotham, Taney's decision reflects the extreme state that race relations had reached just before the Civil War. And after the War and Reconstruction, Higginbotham reveals, the Courts showed a pervasive reluctance (if not hostility) toward the goal of full and equal justice for African Americans, and this was particularly true of the Supreme Court. And in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which Higginbotham terms "one of the most catastrophic racial decisions ever rendered," the Court held that full equality--in schooling or housing, for instance--was unnecessary as long as there were "separate but equal" facilities. Higginbotham also documents the eloquent voices that opposed the openly racist workings of the judicial system, from Reconstruction Congressman John R. Lynch to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan to W. E. B. Du Bois, and he shows that, ironically, it was the conservative Supreme Court of the 1930s that began the attack on school segregation, and overturned the convictions of African Americans in the famous Scottsboro case. But today racial bias still dominates the nation, Higginbotham concludes, as he shows how in six recent court cases the public perception of black inferiority continues to persist. In Shades of Freedom, a noted scholar and celebrated jurist offers a work of magnificent scope, insight, and passion. Ranging from the earliest colonial times to the present, it is a superb work of history--and a mirror to the American soul.
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Shades of Freedom:Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process Race and the American Legal Process, Volume II

Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process Race and the American Legal Process

Author: A. Leon Higginbotham

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0195122887

Category: Law

Page: 304

View: 391

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Few individuals have had as great an impact on the law--both its practice and its history--as A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. A winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, he has distinguished himself over the decades both as a professor at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard, and as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. But Judge Higginbotham is perhaps best known as an authority on racism in America: not the least important achievement of his long career has been In the Matter of Color, the first volume in a monumental history of race and the American legal process. Published in 1978, this brilliant book has been hailed as the definitive account of racism, slavery, and the law in colonial America.Now, after twenty years, comes the long-awaited sequel. In Shades of Freedom, Higginbotham provides a magisterial account of the interaction between the law and racial oppression in America from colonial times to the present, demonstrating how the one agent that should have guaranteed equal treatment before the law--the judicial system--instead played a dominant role in enforcing the inferior position of blacks. The issue of racial inferiority is central to this volume, as Higginbotham documents how early white perceptions of black inferiority slowly became codified into law. Perhaps the most powerful and insightful writing centers on a pair of famous Supreme Court cases, which Higginbotham uses to portray race relations at two vital moments in our history. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 declared that a slave who had escaped to free territory must be returned to his slave owner. Chief Justice Roger Taney, in his notorious opinion for the majority, stated that blacks were "so inferior that they had no right which the white man was bound to respect." For Higginbotham, Taney's decision reflects the extreme state that race relations had reached just before the Civil War. And after the War and Reconstruction, Higginbotham reveals, the Courts showed a pervasive reluctance (if not hostility) toward the goal of full and equal justice for African Americans, and this was particularly true of the Supreme Court. And in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which Higginbotham terms "one of the most catastrophic racial decisions ever rendered," the Court held that full equality--in schooling or housing, for instance--was unnecessary as long as there were "separate but equal" facilities. Higginbotham also documents the eloquent voices that opposed the openly racist workings of the judicial system, from Reconstruction Congressman John R. Lynch to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan to W. E. B. Du Bois, and he shows that, ironically, it was the conservative Supreme Court of the 1930s that began the attack on school segregation, and overturned the convictions of African Americans in the famous Scottsboro case. But today racial bias still dominates the nation, Higginbotham concludes, as he shows how in six recent court cases the public perception of black inferiority continues to persist.In Shades of Freedom, a noted scholar and celebrated jurist offers a work of magnificent scope, insight, and passion. Ranging from the earliest colonial times to the present, it is a superb work of history--and a mirror to the American soul.
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Program

Annual Meeting

Author: Organization of American Historians,Organization of American Historians. Meeting

Publisher: The Organization

ISBN: N.A

Category: Historians

Page: N.A

View: 3344

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America, History and Life

Author: Eric H. Boehm

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: United States

Page: N.A

View: 8437

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Provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Includes information abstracted from over 2,000 journals published worldwide.
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Origins of the Dred Scott Case

Jacksonian Jurisprudence and the Supreme Court, 1837-1857

Author: Austin Allen

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820326534

Category: Law

Page: 274

View: 983

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The Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denied citizenship to African Americans and enabled slavery's westward expansion. It has long stood as a grievous instance of justice perverted by sectional politics. Austin Allen finds that the outcome of Dred Scott hinged not on a single issue-slavery-but on a web of assumptions, agendas, and commitments held collectively and individually by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and his colleagues. By showing us the political, professional, ideological, and institutional contexts in which the Taney Court worked, Allen reveals that Dred Scott was not simply a victory for the court's prosouthern faction. It was instead an outgrowth of Jacksonian jurisprudence, an intellectual system that charged the court with protecting slavery, preserving both federal power and state sovereignty, promoting economic development, and securing the legal foundations of an emerging corporate order-all at the same time.
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The Dred Scott Case

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law

Author: David Thomas Konig,Paul Finkelman,Christopher Alan Bracey

Publisher: Ohio University Press

ISBN: 0821443283

Category: Law

Page: 292

View: 1054

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In 1846 two slaves, Dred and Harriet Scott, filed petitions for their freedom in the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. As the first true civil rights case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sandford raised issues that have not been fully resolved despite three amendments to the Constitution and more than a century and a half of litigation. The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law presents original research and the reflections of the nation’s leading scholars who gathered in St. Louis to mark the 150th anniversary of what was arguably the most infamous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision, which held that African Americans “had no rights” under the Constitution and that Congress had no authority to alter that, galvanized Americans and thrust the issue of race and law to the center of American politics. This collection of essays revisits the history of the case and its aftermath in American life and law. In a final section, the present-day justices of the Missouri Supreme Court offer their reflections on the process of judging and provide perspective on the misdeeds of their nineteenth-century predecessors who denied the Scotts their freedom. Contributors: Austin Allen, Adam Arenson, John Baugh, Hon. Duane Benton, Christopher Alan Bracey, Alfred L. Brophy, Paul Finkelman, Louis Gerteis, Mark Graber, Daniel W. Hamilton, Cecil J. Hunt II, David Thomas Konig, Leland Ware, Hon. Michael A. Wolff
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The Nature and Scope of Individual Rights

Emerging Debates in Constitutional Law

Author: Robin D. Barnes

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Law

Page: 396

View: 9174

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The Nature and Scope of Individual Rights provides historical context for the cases, articles and wide range of materials presented throughout the book. Readers explore how theories of social freedom and governance were developed and articulated in national debates on the most controversial matters of law and social science. Comparing specific legislation with purported state interests yields insights into judicial processes in those areas where law appears to operate without an obvious correlation between ends and means.The book covers topics related to military conscription, euthanasia, capital punishment, monogamy, incest, marital and statutory rape, race, gender, sexual orientation, workplace privacy, and public response to the Patriot Act, as changes in domestic surveillance and telecommunications technology continue to transform the dialogue around privacy. Barnes ultimately encourages readers to consider how many of these debates are consistent with (or even worthy of) our highest aspirations in relation to liberty, autonomy and governance for the general welfare.
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America Is the Prison

Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s

Author: Lee Bernstein

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 0807898325

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 9553

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In the 1970s, while politicians and activists outside prisons debated the proper response to crime, incarcerated people helped shape those debates though a broad range of remarkable political and literary writings. Lee Bernstein explores the forces that sparked a dramatic "prison art renaissance," shedding light on how incarcerated people produced powerful works of writing, performance, and visual art. These included everything from George Jackson's revolutionary Soledad Brother to Miguel Pinero's acclaimed off-Broadway play and Hollywood film Short Eyes. An extraordinary range of prison programs--fine arts, theater, secondary education, and prisoner-run programs--allowed the voices of prisoners to influence the Black Arts Movement, the Nuyorican writers, "New Journalism," and political theater, among the most important aesthetic contributions of the decade. By the 1980s and '90s, prisoners' educational and artistic programs were scaled back or eliminated as the "war on crime" escalated. But by then these prisoners' words had crossed over the wall, helping many Americans to rethink the meaning of the walls themselves and, ultimately, the meaning of the society that produced them.
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