Tag Archive for 'racial discrimination'

On This Day: The Elaine Massacre

On October 1, 1919—93 years ago today—Elaine, Arkansas, descended into Arkansas’ deadliest racial confrontation to date.

On September 30, 1919, roughly one hundred African American sharecroppers met as part of the Progressive Farmers Household Union of America to discuss whites’ unfair settlements for their cotton crops—payments that kept them in deep poverty and perpetual debt. Armed men guarded the church where the meeting took place, but a shootout between these guards and three individuals (two white) led to the death of a white railroad special agent.

Sheriffs the next morning arrested African Americans suspected of being involved in the fatal shooting. Hundreds or possibly a thousand armed white people from surrounding areas, claiming fear of an “insurrection,” traveled to Elaine, shooting and terrorizing African American residents.

By October 2, hundreds of troops arrived in Elaine to maintain order. The troops, though, forced African Americans into stockades for questioning. Powerful whites formed a “Committee of Seven” to investigate the violence—a committee which, not surprisingly given the strong racial prejudice of the time, blamed African Americans for starting an “insurrection.” (To read newspaper articles blaming African Americans for being the instigators, click here, here, and here.)

Ultimately, five white men and dozens of African Americans were killed. Seven hundred African Americans were arrested, dozens were imprisoned, and 67 were indicted. Twelve of these men were charged with murder and faced a trial in front of an all-white jury.

Bowing to public opinion—and encouraged by threats to lynch the twelve defendants of they were acquitted—the all-white jury convicted all twelve men of first-degree murder and sentenced them to death.

After NAACP lawyer Walter White came to the men’s defense, the Supreme Court of the United States in Moore v. Dempsey ultimately ruled that the mob scenes outside the courthouse had made it impossible for the men to face a fair trial, and thus violated the right to due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. More than five years after their arrest, the men were finally set free.

In an era when African American defendants did not often receive equal treatment within the court system (or outside of it, for that matter), the Supreme Court’s ruling represented a decisive victory. However, the violence and indiscriminate murder of dozens of African Americans that first week of October still stands as a horrifying reminder of the violence and prejudice African Americans faced for decades.

For more information about the Elaine Massacre and the ensuing trial, and to view documents and photographs, check out this page from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Readers will also be interested in Grif Stockley’s Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919 (University of Arkansas Press 2001).

To learn more about the Supreme Court case, Moore v. Dempsey, check out this blog post.

This massacre was one of several race riots of 1919. To learn more about the so-called “red summer” check out Robert Whitaker’s On the Laps of Gods: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Struggle for Justice That Remade a Nation (Random House 2009). Other works on riots of the time include Lee Williams and Lee Williams II’s Anatomy of Four Race Riots: Racial Conflict in Knoxville, Elaine (Arkansas), Tulsa, and Chicago, 1919-1921 (University Press of Mississippi 2008) and Ann Collins’ All Hell Broke Loose: American Race Riots from the Progressive Era through World War II (Praeger 2012).

Nan Woodruff’s American Congo: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta (UNC Press 2012) also includes information on the Elaine Massacre. To read an excerpt, check out this post from the UNC Press blog.

To learn more about Walter White, check out Kenneth Janken’s Walter White: Mr. NAACP (UNC Press 2006).

Remembering Ossian Sweet

On September 8, 1925—87 years ago today—African American Ossian Sweet and his family moved into a house in a previously all-white neighborhood in Detroit. Within one day, the Sweets’ lives would be changed forever.

A doctor who studied at Howard University and in Vienna and Paris, Ossian Sweet spent a year saving money for a home. In 1925, he put a down payment on a house on Garland Street, in a neighborhood which at that time housed no African Americans.

Members of the community were determined to keep African Americans out of the neighborhood. Knowing he would face hostility and possibly violence, Sweet purchased guns and asked friends and relatives to stay with him for a few days after he moved in on September 8.

Although police officers were called in to keep watch over the neighborhood, mobs began throwing rocks and bottles at the house on September 9. Around 10 p.m., shots were fired from the house, killing one member of the mob and injuring a second. All eleven people in the house were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Clarence Darrow took on the defendants’ case by request of the NAACP, arguing self-defense in front of an all-white, all-male jury. In his closing argument, Darrow stated, “Gentlemen, here is a jury of 12 white men, and you are holding in your hands the lives and destinies of just about the same number of black people. It is not fair, but you are doing it, and you have got to see that it is fair.”

Ultimately, the case ended in a hung jury. Sweet’s brother, Henry, was retried and acquitted, and thus ended the legal battle.

Despite Sweet’s success in blocking murder charges, he was unable to return to his house for several years—and by the time he returned, he had already lost his wife and young daughter to tuberculosis. After renting it to a white couple, he finally moved back in in 1930, remaining until 1946. In 1960, Sweet committed suicide.

Studied in classrooms to this day, the Sweet trial represented a landmark in the fight against the discrimination African Americans faced both in their daily lives and in court. In his 1932 autobiography The Story of My Life, Darrow later wrote, “The verdict meant simply that the doctrine that a man’s house is his castle applied to the black man as well as to the white man. If not the first time that a white jury had vindicated this principle, it was the first that ever came to my notice.”

Today, the house is commemorated with a State of Michigan historic marker.

To learn more, check out this detailed website from the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s School of Law, which includes the text of Darrow’s closing argument, several illustrations, a chronology, and more.

To learn about this and other important cases argued by Clarence Darrow, check out Donald McRae’s The Great Trials of Clarence Darrow: The Landmark Cases of Leopold and Loeb, John T. Scopes, and Ossian Sweet (Harper Perennial 2010).

To learn more about the lives of African Americans in Detroit during the 1920s, check out Beth Tompkins Bates’ The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford (forthcoming from UNC Press, September 24, 2012).

Remembering the Library Sit-In in Alexandria, Virginia

On August 21, 1939—73 years ago today and more than two decades before the famous sit-in movement—five young African Americans staged a planned sit-in at the public library in Alexandria, Virginia. It is generally believed to be the nation’s first sit-in.

Organized by attorney Samuel Tucker, the five young men entered the Barrett Branch Library on Queen Street and politely requested library cards. After their requests were denied simply because they were African American, the men sat down to read. Police officers were called, and the men were arrested for “disorderly conduct.” Although the men ultimately were not convicted, their arrest represented a blatant display of racism and discrimination.

Such segregation was not unusual. Virginia’s Public Assemblages Act (1926, also known as the Massenburg Bill)—one of several “racial integrity laws” passed by white supremacists—required whites and African Americans to be segregated within the same facility; however, in the case of the Alexandria library, African Americans were completely and illegally barred from admission.

Months earlier, a retired army sergeant, George Wilson, had also tried to obtain a library card, also to no avail. Although a lawsuit was filed, and although the judge affirmed that there were “no legal grounds for refusing the plaintiff or any other bona fide citizen the use of the library,” Wilson’s request for a library card was denied on technical grounds.

One year later, the city opened a segregated library for African Americans—a library that of course was inferior to the whites-only library (which, by the way, wasn’t integrated until the 1950s). That same segregated library for African Americans is today the site of the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Attorney Samuel Tucker continued to fight for equality, working with the NAACP to desegregate public schools. He was instrumental in the fight against segregation in Prince Edward County. (To learn more about this struggle, check out Jill Ogline Titus’ Brown’s Battleground: Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County, Virginia, published by UNC Press in 2011.)

In 2009, on the 70th anniversary of the sit-in, elementary students from a school named for Tucker participated in a reenactment.

A documentary entitled Out of Obscurity chronicles the 1939 sit-in.

To learn more, and to view a photograph, check out this page from the Alexandria Black History Museum.  The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities also provides a summary through its African American Historic Sites Database.

To read an article published in the Afro-American a week after the protest, click here.

To learn more about race relations and segregation during this time period in Virginia, check out J. Douglas Smith’s Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia (UNC Press 2002).

To learn more about the development of racism and white supremacy, check out Mark Smith’s How Race Is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses (UNC Press 2008).

To learn more about how Virginia’s laws have changed over time, check out Peter Wallenstein’s Blue Laws and Black Codes: Conflict, Courts, and Change in Twentieth-Century Virginia (UVA Press 2004).

On This Day: The Springfield Riot

On August 14, 1908—104 years ago today—Springfield, Illinois dissolved into intensive mob violence that by the following night would leave at least seven individuals dead and many businesses and homes destroyed.

Racial tensions flared in Springfield when a white woman falsely accused a African American man of rape. Law enforcement moved this man—as well as another African American man accused of killing a white railroad engineer—out of town before an angry white mob could touch them.

When the members of the white mob realized the prisoners were gone, they began a full-scale riot, moving through Springfield burning businesses and homes owned by African Americans. Springfield was an ironic site for a race riot; it was the hometown of President Abraham Lincoln—the man who freed the slaves. White rioters allegedly shouted, “Lincoln freed you, now we’ll show you where you belong!”

Fearing for their lives, roughly 3,000 African Americans fled the city. Illinois Governor Charles S. Deneen called in the National Guard, but it took until late on August 15 for the violence to die down. Troops began to leave the city on August 19.

In the end, two African Americans were lynched and five whites were killed. More than forty African American families were displaced after their homes were burnt.

The violence shocked the nation, demonstrating that discrimination and violence against African Americans was not confined to the South. Six months later, prominent civil rights leaders came together to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Ultimately, the African American man accused of murdering a white railroad engineer was found guilty and hanged. The other prisoner, who had been accused of raping a white woman, was freed after the woman confessed that she had lied.

Although mob leaders were arrested for rioting, only one was ever convicted—and he was only sentenced to thirty days in jail. One woman, Kate Howard, who was indicted for multiple charges in connection with the riot, committed suicide.

More than a century later, two large bronze commemorative sculptures were unveiled in Union Square Park in downtown Springfield.

To learn more, and to see a photograph of militia camps during the riots, check out this page from the Library of Congress. The University of Illinois at Springfield also hosts this website, which provides audio clips of oral histories with survivors.

Click here to listen to an NPR story from the hundredth anniversary of the riot.

A detailed summary can be found through the Northern Illinois University Library.

To learn more, check out Roberta Senechal de la Roche’s In Lincoln’s Shadow: The 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, Illinois (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008).

To learn more about postbellum racial violence, check out Kidada Williams’ They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I (NYU Press, 2012).

Remembering the Brownsville Affair

On August 13, 1906—106 years ago today—the fatal shooting of one man and injury of another enraged white residents of a Texas town, leading to the wrongful dishonorable discharges of 167 African American infantrymen in an incident now known as the Brownsville Affair.

Tensions were already high in Brownsville, where African American infantrymen had since their arrival been subjected to racial discrimination and hostility. After gunshots killed one white man and wounded another, white townspeople quickly laid blame on the African Americans based at Fort Brown.

Although white commanders at the Army base believed all African American infantrymen were in the barracks at the time of the shooting, the white community (including the mayor) insisted that African American soldiers were responsible for the shooting. Biased and unreliable “witnesses” produced shell casings that they claimed matched those used in the infantrymen’s rifles, and stated that they had seen uniformed African Americans in the streets at the time of the shooting.

Without even giving the men a hearing or a trial, federal investigators concluded that the soldiers were guilty of “conspiracy of silence” simply because they refused to admit to the crime. President Theodore Roosevelt ordered 167 soldiers—many of whom had extensive and distinguished military service—dishonorably discharged.

Public reaction was swift; African Americans and many whites expressed their outrage at President Roosevelt’s decision. However, public opinion—and hard work by Ohio Senator Joseph Foraker and other supporters of the infantrymen—was not enough to overturn the discharges. A United States Senate committee investigation in 1908 ultimately upheld the President’s decision. A Court of Military Inquiry in 1910 agreed to review applications for reenlistment, but only approved fourteen of these men—and once again placed blame for the shooting on African American infantrymen.

It would be years before the injustice was finally publicly recognized; in 1972, after a new investigation, the Army reversed the 1906 order and granted honorable discharges. By this time, though, only one infantryman, Dorsie Willis, was still alive to receive his due. He was awarded a $25,000 pension.

To learn more, check out this page from PBS, and this page from the Texas State Historical Association. The Library of Congress also provides a summary and photographs.

For a definitive study of the event, check out John D. Weaver’s The Brownsville Raid (Texas A&M University Press, republished 1992). Weaver’s study was partially responsible for the 1972 decision to reverse the order. He later followed this book with The Senator and the Sharecropper’s Son: Exoneration of the Brownsville Soldiers (Texas A&M University Press).

To read a letter from civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell concerning the soldiers’ discharges, check out this page from the Library of Congress.

This 2006 article from TIME Magazine discusses the Brownsville Affair within a larger discussion about President Roosevelt’s policies toward African Americans.

On This Day: The Watts Riot Begins

On August 11, 1965—47 years ago today—Los Angeles dissolved into what is perhaps the most famous display of racial hatred and violence in America’s history.

Only 13 months earlier, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had greatly expanded the rights and protections of all Americans, regardless of race or gender. Tensions remained high, though, as segregationists sought ways around this law (and other similar legislation). In California, Proposition 14 nullified the state’s 1963 fair housing law, amending the state constitution to allow individuals to decline to sell, lease, or rent property pursuant to their preferences.

On August 11, a police officer arrested Marquette Frye for drunk driving. While the officer was questioning him, Frye’s brother Ronald (who had been in the car at the time) led his mother to the scene. Alarmed by her son’s forcible arrest, Mrs. Rena Frye put up a fight, tearing one officer’s shirt. Both the mother and the two sons were arrested—and police hit them with their batons.

A growing (and angry) crowd of hundreds of onlookers dissolved into violence after the police officers left, stoning cars, beating people, and looting stores.

The National Guard was called in and a curfew was ordered, but the chaos lasted several days, finally ending on August 17—for the most part. (The next night, police entered a Nation of Islam mosque and fired extensively into the building, causing many injuries.)

By the time the violence was quelled, at least 34 people lay dead, 1000 had been wounded, and more than 600 buildings had been damaged or destroyed through looting and arson.

When peace was finally restored, California Governor Pat Brown created a commission to study the riots; the McCone Commission’s report ultimately stated that the riots had been caused by deep and engrained social problems: poverty, inequality, racial discrimination, and the passage of Proposition 14.

Despite this report, little was done to remedy the poor conditions under which Los Angeles’ African American residents lived. The riot lives on today in American history as a horrifying reminder of the violence such treatment can lead to. It was neither the first nor the last race riot in Los Angeles—a fact which illustrates all too well that the path to equality and justice is long.

To learn more, and to view news footage, check out this page from PBS. The Civil Rights Digital Library includes a synopsis and archival material.

To read the summary from Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, click here.

For a comprehensive study of the riot and its aftermath, check out Gerald Horne’s Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Da Capo Press, 1997).

To view the August 12, 1965, article in the New York Times, click here.

The August 27, 1965 edition of LIFE Magazine focused heavily on the Watts Riots.

To read the McCone Commission’s report, click here.

In this 2005 Los Angeles Times article, reporters Valerie Reitman and Mitchell Landsberg interview nine survivors.

To learn more about urban race riots, check out Janet Abu-Lughod’s Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles (Oxford University Press, 2012). Readers will also be interested in John Charles Boger and Judith Welch Wegner’s edited collection, Race, Poverty, and American Cities (UNC Press 1996).

This was not the first time Los Angeles had faced rioting, nor would it be the last. The 1943 zoot suit riots involved violence by white sailors and Marines against Latino youths. And in 1992, 58 individuals were killed after the controversial beating of Rodney King sparked a week-long riot.

To learn more about the 1943 riot, check out Eduardo Obregon Pagan’s Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A. (UNC Press, 2003). Rodney King, in conjunction with Lawrence Spagnola, recently published a memoir about the 1992 riot: The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption.

Remembering Executive Order 9981

On July 26, 1948—64 years ago today—President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, abolishing racial discrimination in the United States armed forces.

Seven years earlier, in the midst of World War II, President Roosevelt had issued Executive Order 8802, banning discriminatory practices in defense industries and creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). Although the FEPC was later terminated, the Executive Order’s bans on discrimination set an important precedent for civil rights. After taking office, President Truman established a Commission in Civil Rights and ultimately put into effect several civil rights reforms.

Executive Order 9981, which created the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, banned discrimination in the armed services. The order read, in part:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

The president’s Committee would study the procedures of the armed forces and recommend strategies for complete desegregation.

The order was (predictably) met by resistance—both from white supremacists and from the army itself (see this July 28th newspaper article). Although desegregation was not fully realized for quite some time, most of the military was finally integrated by the end of the Korean War in the mid 1950s.

To learn more, and to view the document, check out this page from the Our Documents collection.

To learn more about the Executive Order, check out Jon Taylor’s Freedom to Serve: Truman, Civil Rights, and Executive Order 9981 (forthcoming in September 2012 from Routledge).

For a chronological view of armed forces desegregation, check out this page from the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.

To learn more about President Truman and his relation to the civil rights movement, check out this page from the Federal Highway Administration.

To learn more about army desegregation, check out Sherie Mershon and Steven Schlossman’s Foxholes and Color Lines: Desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002).

To learn more about African Americans’ service in the U.S. armed forces, check out Kimberley Phillips’ War! What Is It Good for?: Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq (UNC Press, 2011).

To learn more about the connections between armed service and minority rights, check out Ronald Krebs’ Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship (Cornell University Press, 2006).

On This Day: Milliken v. Bradley

On July 25, 1974—only 38 years ago—the Supreme Court in Milliken v. Bradley restricted its earlier decision about school busing, now holding that outlying districts were exempt from aiding the desegregation of inner-city school systems.

Three years earlier, the Supreme Court in Swann v. Mecklenburg Board of Education had upheld busing programs designed to speed racial integration. By that time, it had been 17 years since the milestone Brown v. Board of Education had outlawed racial segregation in public education; the case set an important precedent for schools across the country as each went through its own desegregation process.

However, in 1974, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments surrounding the desegregation of the public schools in Detroit, Michigan. Its decision would have profound effects.

The NAACP sued Michigan Governor William Milliken, charging that the public school system was racially segregated as a result of a policy he had put into effect. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a district court decision that the system was indeed segregated, and ordered the state to adopt a desegregation plan which encompassed 54 outlying school districts.

The Supreme Court, however, decided 5-to-4 in favor of Milliken, holding the lower court’s order as impermissible and stating that “desegregation, in the sense of dismantling a dual school system, does not require any particular racial balance.”

Stating that there was no evidence that the outlying districts had deliberately engaged in segregation, the Court emphasized the importance of local control over the operation of schools. The decision read, in part:

The inter-district remedy could extensively disrupt and alter the structure of public education in Michigan, since that remedy would require, in effect, consolidation of 54 independent school districts historically administered as separate governmental units into a vast new super school district, and, since—entirely apart from the logistical problems attending large-scale transportation of students—the consolidation would generate other problems in the administration, financing, and operation of this new school system.

It was a controversial and complex decision. The five justices in the majority placed high importance on maintaining local control over schools; however, as the four justices in the minority feared, exempting suburban districts from the desegregation process made possible the continued “white flight” from cities to the suburbs.

Busing remained controversial throughout the country—and in fact continues to be a topic of discussion today, as school systems debate the important balance between shortening students’ commutes and maintaining racial, ethnic, and economic diversity.

To listen to the oral argument and opinion announcement, check out this page from The Oyez Project.

To read the full text of the Supreme Court opinion, check out this page from the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute.

To learn more, check out Joyce Baugh’s The Detroit School Busing Case: Milliken v. Bradley and the Controversy over Desegregation (University Press of Kansas, 2011).

To learn more about Governor Milliken, check out Dave Dempsey’s William G. Milliken: Michigan’s Passionate Moderate (University of Michigan Press, 2006).

To learn more about how student busing played out in another large city, check out Ronald Formisiano’s Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (UNC Press 2004).

For discussions about racial integration and educational policy, check out Integrating Schools in a Changing Society: New Politics and Legal Options for a Multiracial Generation (UNC Press 2011, edited by Erica Frankenberg and Elizabeth DeBray).

A U-Turn on Civil Rights

Anthony Amsterdam, the lawyer and influential death penalty advocate, recently said that “a cardinal feature of the death penalty in the United States has always been its racially biased use.” In fact, its racially biased use has been the cardinal feature of the death penalty in the United States.

This is no less true in North Carolina, a state with a reputation for the kind of business-minded practical politics that should preclude the existence of a punishment system founded on racial prejudice. But if the state’s reputation rested on its death penalty system alone, it would be very different, and much dimmer. That reputation enjoyed a boost not long ago when the state legislature passed the Racial Justice Act, a measure that addressed the operation of racial bias in the death penalty process by allowing death row inmates to seek to demonstrate bias in their cases. If they could do so, they would face life imprisonment rather than lethal injection.

In April, Michael Robinson, who is black, successfully demonstrated the role of race in his death sentence and had the sentence rescinded. Judge Gregory Weeks’s decision left no room for debate: the death penalty system that produced Robinson’s death sentence was deeply corrupted by racial bias, particularly at the jury selection level. There was no credible argument to the contrary. (More on the decision here.) Essential to Weeks’s decision were statistics that demonstrated the role of racial bias in jury selection.

Continue reading ‘A U-Turn on Civil Rights’

Remembering NAACP v. Alabama

On June 30, 1958—54 years ago today—the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Alabama took a stand in favor of individuals’ constitutional rights, asserting that Alabama’s demand for the NAACP’s membership lists violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In 1956, Alabama Attorney General John Patterson sued the NAACP, claiming that the civil rights organization violated a state law which required out-of-state companies to file their corporate charter with state officials and designate an agent to act on the company’s behalf.

After the NAACP refused to capitulate to a state judge’s orders to cease operations and produce records—including the names and addresses of its members—the organization was fined $10,000. While the NAACP was willing to turn over some records, it was unwilling to produce the membership lists.

After the Alabama Supreme Court twice refused to review the case, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments.

In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled that Alabama’s demand violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The disclosure of membership lists, the Court argued, would suppress legal association among the group’s members—in fact, earlier disclosures of member identities had led to loss of employment, physical coercion, and other hostile treatment.

The ruling read, in part:

Effective advocacy of both public and private points of view particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association, as this Court has more than once recognized by remarking upon the close nexus between the freedoms of speech and assembly. . . It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the “liberty” assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech. . .

. . . This court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations. . . Inviolability of privacy in group associations may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.

The Court did not rule on the legality of the NAACP’s work in Alabama, but it did overturn the contempt order and the fine. The decision signaled an important acknowledgement of the freedom of association, and paved the way for future success in the struggle against racial discrimination.

To read the full text of the decision, click here.

To listen to the oral argument, click here.

To read a news article printed at the time, click here.

To learn more, click here and here.

To learn more about the NAACP, click here.

To learn about the controversial John Patterson, who became Governor one year after NAACP v. Alabama, check out Gene Howard’s Patterson for Alabama: The Life and Career of John Patterson (University of Alabama Press, 2008).

To learn about African Americans’ struggle for civil rights during the next decade in Alabama, check out Frye Gaillard’s Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America (University of Alabama Press, 2004) and Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail (University of Alabama Press, 2010).