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Litigating Across the Color Line Melissa Lambert Milewski (Lecturer in American History, Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex)

Litigating Across the Color Line By Melissa Lambert Milewski (Lecturer in American History, Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex)

Summary

In a largely previously untold story, from 1865 to 1950, black litigants throughout the South took on white southerners in civil suits. Drawing on almost a thousand cases, Milewski shows how African Americans negotiated the southern legal system and won suits against whites after the Civil War and before the Civil Rights struggle.

Litigating Across the Color Line Summary

Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights by Melissa Lambert Milewski (Lecturer in American History, Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex)

In a largely previously untold story, Melissa Milewski explores how, when the financial futures of their families were on the line, black litigants throughout the South took on white southerners in civil suits. Between 1865 and 1950, in almost a thousand civil cases across eight southern states, former slaves took their former masters to court, black sharecroppers litigated against white landowners, and African Americans with little formal education brought disputes against wealthy white members of their communities. As black southerners negotiated a legal system with almost all white gatekeepers, they displayed pragmatism and a savvy understanding of how to get whites on their side. They found that certain kinds of cases were much easier to gain whites' support for than others. But they also found that, in the kinds of civil cases that they could litigate in the highest courts of eight states, they were also surprisingly successful. In a tremendously restricted environment in which they were often shut out of other government institutions, seen as racially inferior, and segregated, African Americans found a way to fight for their rights in one of the only ways they could. This book examines how African Americans adapted and at times made a biased system work for them under enormous constraints. At the same time, it considers the limitations of working within a white-dominated system at a time of great racial discrimination, and the choices black litigants had to make to have their cases heard.

Litigating Across the Color Line Reviews

Milewski (Univ. of Sussex, UK) offers a different story by looking at how African American litigants fared during Jim Crow in civil cases against white Southerners in former Confederate states... Outstanding for collections on US legal history, civil rights, and discrimination... Essential * CHOICE *
Milewski's book makes a substantial contribution to Southern legal history. Weaving the stories of individual litigants into the broader histories of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, this book brings ordinary African Americans to the forefront and demonstrates how they used performative strategies and exploited white notions of paternalism to navigate the legal system and win their suits. * Lydia J. Plath, The English Historical Review *
Milewski's Litigating Across the Color Line uses cross-race civil suits to tell an important story about access to justice in a society dedicated to the principle of white supremacy.As a story of black legal agency, the book makes an ambitious case in a setting that will seem surprising to many readers... Milewski shows that the kinds of suits black people litigated changed along with the kinds of arguments they made in those suits. This is a signal achievement. * Dylan C. Penningroth, Social History *
This is not an easy topic to research, and one of the pleasures of Litigating Across the Color Line is Milewski's discussion of the challenges posed by her research subject and the creative solutions upon which she settled ...[I]mpressive archival research ...[O]ffers powerful insights about dynamics of the black freedom struggle ...The reconstruction of this remarkable story is a major contribution to legal historical scholarship. * Christopher W. Schmidt, Jotwell *

About Melissa Lambert Milewski (Lecturer in American History, Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex)

Melissa Milewski is a Lecturer in American History at the University of Sussex in England.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Prologue Part 1: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners, 1861-1899 Chapter 1 A Revolution in the Courts Chapter 2 How to Litigate a Case Against a White Southerner Chapter 3 Challenging Whites' Bequests Chapter 4 The Law of Contracts and Property Part 2: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners, 1900-1950 Chapter 5 The New South and the Law Chapter 6 Confronting Fraud Through the Courts Chapter 7 The Law of Bodily Injury Chapter 8 Fighting for Rights in the Courts Epilogue Appendix A: Notes on Methodology, Sources, and Findings Appendix B: Tables Notes Bibliography Index

Additional information

GOR012639807
9780190249182
0190249188
Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights by Melissa Lambert Milewski (Lecturer in American History, Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex)
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Oxford University Press Inc
20171228
360
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

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