Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality

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Simple Justice is the definitive history of the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education and the epic struggle for racial equality in this country. Combining intensive research with original interviews with surviving participants, Richard Kluger provides the fullest possible view of the human and legal drama in the years before 1954, the cumulative assaults on the white power structure that defended segregation, and the step-by-step establishment of a team of inspired black lawyers that could successfully challenge the law. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision that ended legal segregation, Kluger has updated his work with a new final chapter covering events and issues that have arisen since the book was first published, including developments in civil rights and recent cases involving affirmative action, which rose directly out of Brown v. Board of Education.
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About the author

Richard Kluger, a Princeton graduate, worked as a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and the New York Herald Tribune, on which he was the last literary editor, before entering book publishing.  After serving as executive editor at Simon and Schuster and editor-in-chief at Atheneum, he turned to writing fiction and social history.  He is the author of six novels (and two others with his wife, Phyllis), two National Book Award finalists–Simple Justice and The Paper (a history of the Herald Tribune)–and a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the American cigarette business, Ashes to Ashes.  He and his wife now live in Berkeley, California.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Aug 24, 2011
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Pages
880
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ISBN
9780307546081
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Civil Rights
Law / Educational Law & Legislation
Political Science / Civil Rights
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In The Washington Post, Julius Lester praised Richard Delgado's The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race as free of cant and ideology. . . . an excellent starting place for the national discussion about race we so desperately need. The New York Times has hailed Delgado as a pioneer in the study of race and law, and the Los Angeles Times has compared his storytelling style to Plato's Dialogues.
In The Coming Race War?, Delgado turns his attention to the American racial landscape in the wake of the mid-term elections in 1994. Our political and racial topography has been radically altered. Affirmative action is being rolled back, immigrants continue to be targeted as the source of economic woes, and race is increasingly downplayed as a source of the nation's problems. Legal obstacles to racial equality have long been removed, we are told, so what's the problem?
And yet, the plight of the urban poor grows worse. The number of young black men in prison continues to exceed those in college. Informal racial privilege remains entrenched and systemic. Where, asks Delgado in this new volume, will this lead? Enlisting his fictional counterpart, Rodrigo Crenshaw, to untangle the complexities of America's racial future, Delgado explores merit and affirmative action; the nature of empathy and, more commonly, false empathy; and the limitations of legal change. Warning of the dangers of depriving the underprivileged of all hope and opportunity, Delgado gives us a dark future in which an indignant white America casts aside, once and for all, the spirit of the civil rights movement, with disastrous results.
Michael J. Klarman, author of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, which won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American History, is one of the leading authorities on the history of civil rights law in the United States. In Unfinished Business, he illuminates the course of racial equality in America, revealing that we have made less progress than we like to think. Indeed, African Americans have had to fight for everything they have achieved. Klarman highlights a variety of social and political factors that have influenced the path of racial progress--wars, migrations, urbanization, shifting political coalitions--and he looks in particular at the contributions of law and of court decisions to American equality. The author argues that court decisions tend to reflect the racial mores of the times, which is why the Supreme Court has not been a heroic defender of the rights of racial minorities. And even when the Court has promoted progressive racial change, its decisions have often been unenforced, in part because severely oppressed groups rarely have the resources necessary to force the issue. Klarman also sheds light on the North/South dynamic and how it has influenced racial progress, arguing that as southerners have become more anxious about outside challenges to their system of white supremacy, they have acted in ways that eventually undermined that system. For example, as southern slave owners demanded greater guarantees for slavery from the federal government, they alienated northerners, who came to fear a slave power conspiracy that would interfere with their liberties. Unfinished Business offers an invaluable, succinct account of racial equality and civil rights throughout American history.
No book before this one has rendered the story of cigarettes -- mankind's most common self-destructive instrument and its most profitable consumer product -- with such sweep and enlivening detail.

Here for the first time, in a story full of the complexities and contradictions of human nature, all the strands of the historical process -- financial, social, psychological, medical, political, and legal -- are woven together in a riveting narrative. The key characters are the top corporate executives, public health investigators, and antismoking activists who have clashed ever more stridently as Americans debate whether smoking should be closely regulated as a major health menace.

We see tobacco spread rapidly from its aboriginal sources in the New World 500 years ago, as it becomes increasingly viewed by some as sinful and some as alluring, and by government as a windfall source of tax revenue. With the arrival of the cigarette in the late-nineteenth century, smoking changes from a luxury and occasional pastime to an everyday -- to some, indispensable -- habit, aided markedly by the exuberance of the tobacco huskers.

This free-enterprise success saga grows shadowed, from the middle of this century, as science begins to understand the cigarette's toxicity. Ironically the more detailed and persuasive the findings by medical investigators, the more cigarette makers prosper by seeming to modify their product with filters and reduced dosages of tar and nicotine.

We see the tobacco manufacturers come under intensifying assault as a rogue industry for knowingly and callously plying their hazardous wares while insisting that the health charges against them (a) remain unproven, and (b) are universally understood, so smokers indulge at their own risk.

Among the eye-opening disclosures here: outrageous pseudo-scientific claims made for cigarettes throughout the '30s and '40s, and the story of how the tobacco industry and the National Cancer Institute spent millions to develop a "safer" cigarette that was never brought to market.

Dealing with an emotional subject that has generated more heat than light, this book is a dispassionate tour de force that examines the nature of the companies' culpability, the complicity of society as a whole, and the shaky moral ground claimed by smokers who are now demanding recompense
From the 1930s to the early 1960s civil rights law was made primarily through constitutional litigation. Before Rosa Parks could ignite a Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Supreme Court had to strike down the Alabama law which made segregated bus service required by law; before Martin Luther King could march on Selma to register voters, the Supreme Court had to find unconstitutional the Southern Democratic Party's exclusion of African-Americans; and before the March on Washington and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Supreme Court had to strike down the laws allowing for the segregation of public graduate schools, colleges, high schools, and grade schools. Making Civil Rights Law provides a chronological narrative history of the legal struggle, led by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, that preceded the political battles for civil rights. Drawing on interviews with Thurgood Marshall and other NAACP lawyers, as well as new information about the private deliberations of the Supreme Court, Tushnet tells the dramatic story of how the NAACP Legal Defense Fund led the Court to use the Constitution as an instrument of liberty and justice for all African-Americans. He also offers new insights into how the justices argued among themselves about the historic changes they were to make in American society. Making Civil Rights Law provides an overall picture of the forces involved in civil rights litigation, bringing clarity to the legal reasoning that animated this "Constitutional revolution", and showing how the slow development of doctrine and precedent reflected the overall legal strategy of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.
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