Jury Discrimination: The Supreme Court, Public Opinion, and a Grassroots Fight for Racial Equality in Mississippi

Overview


In 1906 a white lawyer named Dabney Marshall argued a case before the Mississippi Supreme Court demanding the racial integration of juries. He carried out a plan devised by Mississippi’s foremost black lawyer of the time: Willis Mollison. Against staggering odds, and with the help of a friendly newspaper editor, he won. How Marshall and his allies were able to force the court to overturn state law and precedent, if only for a brief period, at the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court is the subject of Jury ...
See more details below
Paperback
$22.48
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$24.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (4) from $19.55   
  • New (2) from $24.59   
  • Used (2) from $19.55   
Sending request ...

Overview


In 1906 a white lawyer named Dabney Marshall argued a case before the Mississippi Supreme Court demanding the racial integration of juries. He carried out a plan devised by Mississippi’s foremost black lawyer of the time: Willis Mollison. Against staggering odds, and with the help of a friendly newspaper editor, he won. How Marshall and his allies were able to force the court to overturn state law and precedent, if only for a brief period, at the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court is the subject of Jury Discrimination, a book that explores the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on America’s civil rights history.

Christopher Waldrep traces the origins of Americans’ ideas about trial by jury and provides the first detailed analysis of jury discrimination. Southerners’ determination to keep their juries entirely white played a crucial role in segregation, emboldening lynchers and vigilantes like the Ku Klux Klan. As the postbellum Congress articulated ideals of national citizenship in civil rights legislation, most importantly the Fourteenth Amendment, factions within the U.S. Supreme Court battled over how to read the amendment: expansively, protecting a variety of rights against a host of enemies, or narrowly, guarding only against rare violations by state governments. The latter view prevailed, entombing the amendment in a narrow interpretation that persists to this day.

Although the high court clearly denounced the overt discrimination enacted by state legislatures, it set evidentiary rules that made discrimination by state officers and agents extremely difficult to prove. Had these rules been less onerous, Waldrep argues, countless black jurors could have been seated throughout the nation at precisely the moment when white legislators and jurists were making and enforcing segregation laws. Marshall and Mollison’s success in breaking through Mississippi law to get blacks admitted to juries suggests that legal reasoning plausibly founded on constitutional principle, as articulated by the Supreme Court, could trump even the most stubbornly prejudiced public opinion.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book effectively highlights the variability of Jim Crow—even in Mississippi, even during the darkest years of white supremacist rule—and the sometimes unexpected power of the law."—Law and History Review

"A solid work of scholarly history as well as an intelligent rumination on deeply rooted racial prejudice. An exceptional work."—Choice

"Jury Discrimination provides a thorough examination of the often-contentious relationship between reality and constitutional principles, between state action and federal authority, and of the racial disparity that in some measure still exists within the American legal system."—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“Technically impressive, convincingly argued, and engagingly written, Waldrep’s history of the Supreme Court decisions and public policy debates that shaped the practice of jury discrimination in the nineteenth century should be read by lawyers and historians as well as by the broader public. It is a fascinating, and sometimes surprising, story.”—Michael Perman, author of Pursuit of Unity

"Waldrep tells how two lawyers cooperated in 1906 to achieve, if only for a brief time, the racial integration of juries in Mississippi. This story is told in accessible prose that will appeal to general readers"—Journal of American History

"Scholars of the nineteenth-century U.S. Supreme Court and the Fourteenth Amendment, among others, will find Waldrep's contributions to a wide range of historiographical controversies to be especially useful. In sum, this is a masterful book that succeeds on many levels and merits a wide and diverse readership."—American Historical Review

“Like John Steinbeck, who used ‘interchapter’ in Grapes of Wrath (1939), or William Faulkner, who wrote The Wild Palms (1939) as alternating chapters of two separate stories, Christopher Waldrep has created a most interesting structure for his book Jury Discrimination. . . .This book will find interested readers among lawyers, history professors, college students, and the general adult reader interested in southern history and race relations. It is recommended highly for all academic and large public libraries.”—Stephen Cresswell, Journal of Southern History

“Waldrep presents a deeply researched, heavily documented empirical study. His book focuses less on Mississippi per se than on the intersection of principle, public opinion, and race in determining late nineteenth century readings of the Fourteenth Amendment.”—John David Smith, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author


Christopher Waldrep is Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University. His books include Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817–80, winner of the McLemore Prize; Vicksburg’s Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance; and African Americans Confront Lynching: Strategies of Resistance from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Era.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter One. Making the Fairy Tale
Chapter Two. The Discovery That Race Politicizes Due Process
Chapter Three. How Revolutionary Was the Civil War?
Chapter Four. Privileges and Immunities in the Supreme Court
Chapter Five. The Jury Cases
Chapter Six. Getting Blacks on Mississippi Juries
Conclusion
Appendix 1. States Discriminating by Property and Race in Their Statutes
Appendix 2. States Linking Jury Service to Constitutional Suffrage Requirements
Appendix 3. States Relying on Local Discrimination
Appendix 4. Members of the House of Representatives for and against the Fourteenth Amendment, Thirty-ninth Congress, First Session
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)