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Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgi'Ae and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson
     

Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgi'Ae and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson

by Mark Elliott
 

Civil War officer, Reconstruction "carpetbagger," best-selling novelist, and relentless champion of equal rights—Albion Tourgée battled his entire life for racial justice. Now, in this engaging biography, Mark Elliott offers an insightful portrait of a fearless lawyer, jurist, and writer, who fought for equality long after most Americans had

Overview

Civil War officer, Reconstruction "carpetbagger," best-selling novelist, and relentless champion of equal rights—Albion Tourgée battled his entire life for racial justice. Now, in this engaging biography, Mark Elliott offers an insightful portrait of a fearless lawyer, jurist, and writer, who fought for equality long after most Americans had abandoned the ideals of Reconstruction. Elliott provides a fascinating account of Tourgée's life, from his childhood in the Western Reserve region of Ohio (then a hotbed of abolitionism), to his years as a North Carolina judge during Reconstruction, to his memorable role as lead plaintiff's counsel in the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson. Tourgée's brief coined the phrase that justice should be "color-blind," and his career was one long campaign to make good on that belief. A redoubtable lawyer and an accomplished jurist, Tourgée's writings represent a mountain of dissent against the prevailing tide of racial oppression. A poignant and inspiring study in courage and conviction, Color-Blind Justice offers us an unforgettable portrayal of Albion Tourgée and the principles to which he dedicated his life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In focusing on this largely forgotten activist and artist of Victorian America and his struggles to bring the United States into closer proximity to its ever-elusive ideals, Elliott undertook a task that was more daunting, for his subject pursued wildly different careers as a politician, a lawyer, and a novelist in pursuit of his goals. The author impressively succeeds in integrating these divergent strands into a coherent and illuminating whole."—Michael Thomas Smith, Reviews in American History

"An excellent biography, by far the best scholarly treatment of it important subject."—Mark S. Weiner, American Historical Review

"No one has completed a more thorough, penetrating study of Tourgée and his multiple legacies than Mark Elliott."—Jane Dailey, Civil War Book Review

"Elliott's masterful biography...defies easy capsulization.... It tells a story of a remarkable and talented man who dedicated much of his life to a noble, yet often lonely, struggle.... And it places Tourgee in the context of the momentous events that shaped his life and ideas...this extraordinary biography ends by leaving it to others to judge the meaning of Tourgee's life in our own times. There is little doubt that it can still tell us a great deal about the human condition."—Raleigh Daily News and Observer

"Mark Elliott...has synthesized a wealth of material and crafted a superb study.... Elliot writes with gusto and is provocative in his analysis. Color-Blind Justice is certain to become an invaluable source on Tourgée and on race relations in the United States during the second half of the 19th century."—Richmond Times Dispatch

"A seminal but nearly forgotten figure in the American Civil Rights movement receives his due in this richly detailed biography.... Elliott goes a long way toward restoring Albion Tourgée's name to a prominent place on the list of American civil rights heroes."—Publishers Weekly

"Through deep research, great sensitivity to the racial and social contexts of the late nineteenth century, and some eloquent writing, Elliott shows us a Tourgée who truly was a pioneer of the tradition of antiracism in its early years. The work is also an excellent on-the-ground biography of a carpetbaggers experience in Reconstruction North Carolina. Tourgée was a major literary, legal, and political figure and this book finally may bring his story to a larger readership. As a first book by a young scholar, it is impressive for its mature writing and creative research."—Avery O. Craven Award citation

"Elliott's Color-Blind Justice is a fascinating study of a man and his principles against the rapidly changing background of the nineteenth century's second half."—Martin Hardeman, H-Net Reviews

"A wonderful biography." — The Journal of Law and History Review

Publishers Weekly
A seminal but nearly forgotten figure in the American Civil Rights movement receives his due in this richly detailed biography by Elliot, history professor at Warner College. The Ohio-born Tourgee (pronounced Toor-zhay) served in the Union Army during the Civil War, studied law and found his life's calling in North Carolina during Reconstruction. African-Americans and civil rights advocates hailed him as a dedicated champion of the political, legal and economic rights of former slaves, while many southern whites called him a Yankee carpetbagger. Later, Tourgee (1838-1905) produced 15 novels, eight books of nonfiction, and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles on race and racial injustice. In addition to founding the National Citizen's Rights Association in 1891, he helped write the nation's first antilynching law in Ohio in 1896 and served as lead attorney in the famed Plessy v. Ferguson, the first constitutional challenge to segregation argued before the Supreme Court. (Tourgee coined the phrase "color-blind justice" in his Supreme Court brief in that losing effort.) Elliott goes a long way toward restoring Albion Tourgee's name to a prominent place on the list of American civil rights heroes. 20 b&w photos. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195181395
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/04/2006
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Mark Elliott is Associate Professor of History at Wagner College.

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