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Making Legal HistoryEssays in Honor of William E. Nelson$
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Daniel J. Hulsebosch and R. B. Bernstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814725269

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814725269.001.0001

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The Long, Broad, and Deep Civil Rights Movement

The Long, Broad, and Deep Civil Rights Movement

The Lessons of a Master Scholar and Teacher

(p.140) 6 The Long, Broad, and Deep Civil Rights Movement
Making Legal History

Tomiko Brown-Nagin

NYU Press

This chapter asks how the legal history of the civil rights movement would change if the doctrine of the U.S. Supreme Court and the lawyering of Thurgood Marshall did not dominate analysis. What if the work of local lawyers and activists took center stage? Focusing on the complicated dynamics within local Southern communities, it finds an extraordinary diversity of views among local African American activists, including many who held more radical and hopeful views of the possibilities of constitutional change than did the leading NAACP lawyers, but also including those who preferred a “pragmatic” approach by emphasizing the economic and political empowerment of black communities rather than integration and colorblindness.

Keywords:   civil rights movement, American legal history, African American activists, local Southern communities, community history

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