Rethinking the role of the courts in the lives of black Southerners

Milewski, Melissa (2017) Rethinking the role of the courts in the lives of black Southerners. The American Historian (14). pp. 28-36. ISSN 2334-1394

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (337kB)


For years, black southerners’ ability to vote has been a key framework around which southern history is viewed. Focusing largely on the vote, however, leads to a particular story in which black southerners gradually lose the vote after Reconstruction, only to take up the fight for the vote again in the decades immediately before the civil rights movement. The focus shifts from institutional engagement during Reconstruction and its aftermath to resistance largely outside of white political institutions during the period of Jim Crow. For a large portion of this story, black men are the key actors. But if we widen our lens beyond voting rights and consider participation in government institutions—including participation in the courts—a different narrative emerges. Even when black southerners no longer could exercise the right to vote or act within other government institutions, some remained able to operate within their states’ civil courts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: law, African American, court, South, civil case, Jim Crow, justice, litigant, trial
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General) > E0031 North America
E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0660 Late nineteenth century, 1865-1900
E History America > E151 United States (General) > E0740 Twentieth century
K Law > KF Law of the United States
K Law > KF Law of the United States
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Melissa Milewski
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 09:39
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2021 10:16

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update