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Litigating Across the Color LineCivil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights$
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Melissa Milewski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190249182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190249182.001.0001

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Fighting for Rights in the Courts

Fighting for Rights in the Courts

(p.166) 8 Fighting for Rights in the Courts
Litigating Across the Color Line

Melissa Milewski

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 traces African Americans’ continuing civil litigation in southern courts from 1921 to 1950. Beginning in the 1920s, African Americans began to litigate a wider range of types of civil cases against whites in southern state supreme courts. Black litigants were no longer forced to rely so heavily on stereotypes and claims of ignorance and vulnerability to win a case. More and more of black litigants’ seemingly ordinary appellate civil cases protested intimidation and violence against African Americans or made claims for larger groups of African Americans, beyond just the individuals litigating the suits. A few cases even directly challenged discriminatory racial regimes, at times using the techniques they had used to win other kinds of civil cases over the past decades. Although some of these cases were orchestrated by racial justice organizations like the NAACP, many others were brought by individual African Americans.

Keywords:   Civil rights, NAACP, law, court, African American, litigation, civil case, South, rights, racial justice

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