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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2020

The New South and the Law

The New South and the Law

(p.111) 5 The New South and the Law
Litigating Across the Color Line

Melissa Milewski

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 shows the shifts that occurred in the types of civil cases African Americans were able to litigate in southern courts at the end of the nineteenth century, as segregation and disfranchisement became increasingly written into law around the South. Even as white southerners dismantled the political system put in place during Reconstruction, they did not change the structure of the legal system. They viewed black southerners’ involvement in the courts as far less dangerous than African Americans entering the polling booth. As African American men lost the power to vote, however, the kinds of civil cases black southerners were able to litigate against whites in southern courts narrowed. Almost three quarters of their appellate civil suits in the first two decades of the twentieth century now involved particularly egregious cases of fraud in property dealings or personal injury claims and highlighted black people in dependent, vulnerable positions.

Keywords:   Jim Crow, segregation, disfranchisement, civil case, fraud, personal injury, court, law, African American, South

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