Race and National Power: A Sourcebook of Black Civil Rights from 1862 to 1954, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Race and National Power

A Sourcebook of Black Civil Rights from 1862 to 1954, 1st Edition

By Christopher Waldrep


316 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415802819
pub: 2010-07-14
Hardback: 9780415802802
pub: 2010-07-14

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In American history, students are taught about the three branches of government. Most of the time is spent learning about the Executive and the Legislative bodies, but the Judicial branch has had a monumental effect on the course of American history, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of civil rights.

Race and National Power: A Sourcebook of Black Civil Rights from 1862 to 1954 gathers together a collection of primary documents on the history of law and civil rights, specifically in regard to race. The sources covered include key Supreme Court decisions, some opinions from other courts as well, and texts written by ordinary people – the victims and perpetrators of racism and the lawmakers who wrote the statutes the courts must interpret.

With helpful headnotes and introductions, Race and National Power: A Sourcebook of Black Civil Rights from 1862 to 1954 is the perfect resource for anyone studying legal history or race in America.


"Race and National Power assembles a variety of sources to compose a complex portrait of the US legal and political landscape over a period of almost one hundred years. Thorough research and skillful comments render this the best sourcebook on race and law. It is at the same time a rich collection of documents on US politics. Anyone writing on race, law, and politics in the United States has to read this book."

Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva, Associate Professor & Vice-Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

"Christopher Waldrep has produced a fascinating and highly useful sourcebook for anyone interested in American history. The rich documents in the volume capture the plethora of views and voices that weighed in on these debates—everyone from black victims of white violence, to newspaper editors, to Supreme Court justices. Waldrep’s expert and informative commentary, along with the documents themselves, reveal the complexity of constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing federal power in the service of racial equality."

Risa L. Goluboff, Professor of Law and History, University of Virginia Law School, author of The Lost Promise of Civil Rights

"Waldrep presents a deep and rich array of primary documents and provides insightful analysis which grounds and contextualizes them. This moving and accessible book, which takes us from the Civil War through Brown, should quickly become an indispensible teaching tool for a multitude of undergraduate and law school classes."

Felice Batlan, Assistant Professor of Law, Co-director of the Law and Humanities Institute, Chicago-Kent College of Law

"In Race and National Power Christopher Waldrep plunges into the depths of American race relations history to retrieve both standard and little-remembered or often overlooked archival evidence of the unmistakable architecture of legalized (and extralegal) white racism, black subordination, and the near century-long political battle to end both through the rule of law. In an era of colorblind jurisprudence and racial retrenchment, Race and National Power offers a fresh reminder that the Supreme Court, as much as any other branch of government, is implicated in the legacies of white supremacy and black subordination, and how much remains to be done to heal the wounds of American constitutional history."

Robert Westley, Professor of Law, Tulane Law School, author of Many Billions Gone: Is It Time to Reconsider the Case for Black Reparations?

"Unlike many such collections, Waldrep’s book has a definite theme. Employing documents from shortly before the Civil War to about the time of Brown v. Board of Education, he traces the link between the cause of civil rights and the power of the national government. … There is plenty of interesting material in Race and National Power. … [I]t should be in the collection of every university library. It is also a valuable tool for scholars and teachers to have on hand. Even more it would be a wonderful supplement for both undergraduate and graduate courses in history and political science."

Paul Kens (Texas State University-San Marcos), H-Net Reviews

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Part I: The Civil War Origins of Civil Rights

Chapter 2: The Republicans Debate Civil Rights

Chapter 3: The Republicans Enforce Their Civil Rights Policy

Chpater 4: White and Black Southerners React to Emancipation

Chapter 5: Congress Debates Civil Rights Legislation

Part II: Civil Rights as a Lost Opportunity?

Chapter 6: Enforcing Civil Rights: Sovereign Will and Public Sentiment

Chapter 7: Liberal Republicans

Chapter 8: Social Equality

Chapter 9: President Hayes and the End of Reconstruction

Chapter 10: The Supreme Court

Chapter 11: James G. Blaine Reflects on Reconstruction

Part III: The Black Struggle for Civil Rights

Chapter 12: African Americans COnfront Public Sentiment with - and without -Constitutional Rights

Chapter 13: Segregation

Chapter 14: Voting Rights

Chapter 15: Jury Discrimination

Chpater 16: African Americans as Worthy Citizens

Part IV: The Progressives

Chapter 17: The Progressive State

Chapter 18: Progressive Journalism

Chapter 19: Progressive Dissatisfaction with Law

Chapter 20: Using the Law against Racism

Chapter 21: The Age of Theodore Roosevelt

Chapter 22: Criminal Procedure

Chapter 23: Police Power and Segregation

Part V: The Rise of Mass Democracy

Chapter 24: America as an "Enormous Community"

Chapter 25: The Art and Practice of Mobilizing Public Opinion: Gandhi

Chapter 26: The Parker Nomination

Chapter 27: The Scottsboro Boys

Chapter 28: The NAACP Lobbies for a Law against Lynching

Chapter 29: The Constitutional Revolution

Chapter 30: Struggle and Conflict are Present in All Phases of Life

Chapter 31: Epilogue

About the Author

Christopher Waldrep is Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Chair of American History at San Francisco State University. He is author of Lynching in America: A History in Documents.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / General
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Legal History