Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961

Paperback | February 1, 1994

byMark V. Tushnet

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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 Kingcould 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 ofpublic 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 informationabout 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 amongthemselves 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 ofThurgood Marshall and the NAACP.

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From Our Editors

The movement for civil rights from the 1930s to the early 1960s had many forms. Some were culture: the African-Americans experience in World War II, the accelerating migration of African-Americans from the South, Jackie Robinson's performance in desegregating major league baseball. Others were political.

From the Publisher

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 Kingcould march on Selma to register voters, the S...

From the Jacket

The movement for civil rights from the 1930s to the early 1960s had many forms. Some were culture: the African-Americans experience in World War II, the accelerating migration of African-Americans from the South, Jackie Robinson's performance in desegregating major league baseball. Others were political.

Mark V. Tushnet is at Georgetown University Law Center.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9.13 × 6.14 × 1.06 inPublished:February 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195104684

ISBN - 13:9780195104684

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From Our Editors

The movement for civil rights from the 1930s to the early 1960s had many forms. Some were culture: the African-Americans experience in World War II, the accelerating migration of African-Americans from the South, Jackie Robinson's performance in desegregating major league baseball. Others were political.

Editorial Reviews

"Mark Tushnet's wonderful book makes possible a full accounting of the enormous debt we owe to Thurgood Marshall. By telling the compelling story of Marshall the civil rights lawyer, Tushnet's book reminds us that Thurgood Marshall would have been a giant if he had never served a day on theCourt. For students of the Court, Tushnet provides an invaluable insight into the NAACP legal strategy that led to a constitutional revolution."--Burt Neuborne, New York University School of Law