African Americans’ experiences in southern courts during the eight-and-a-half decades after the Civil War is part of a larger, global story of struggles for rights within the courts. White southerners’ efforts to control people of color through the courts is also part of that wider, global history. The very structure of judicial systems often enabled them to serve as both a conservative and a progressive force. In many countries around the world, the courts have been used both to uphold elites’ power and to challenge that same power....
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