Raymond Pace Alexander: A New Negro Lawyer Fights for Civil Rights in Philadelphia

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Overview

Raymond Pace Alexander (1897-1974) was a prominent black attorney in Philadelphia and a distinguished member of the National Bar Association, the oldest and largest association of African American lawyers and judges. A contemporary of such nationally known black attorneys as Charles Hamilton Houston, William Hastie, and Thurgood Marshall, Alexander litigated civil rights cases and became well known in Philadelphia. Yet his legacy to the civil rights struggle has received little national recognition.

As a New Negro lawyer during the 1930s, Alexander worked with left-wing organizations to desegregate an all-white elementary school in Berwin, Pennsylvania. After World War II, he became an anti-communist liberal and formed coalitions with like-minded whites. In the sixties, Alexander criticized Black Power rhetoric, but shared some philosophies with the movement such as black political empowerment and studying Africian American history. By the late sixties, he focused on economic justice by advocating a Marshall Plan for poor Americans and supporting affirmative action.

Alexander was a major contributor to the northern civil rights struggle and was committed to improving the status of black lawyers. He was representative of a generation who created opportunities for African Americans but was later often ignored or castigated by younger leaders who did not support the tactics of the old guard's pioneers.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David A. Canton is associate professor of history at Connecticut College. His work has appeared in Western Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Urban History, Reviews in American History, and Pennsylvania History.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part One Alexander's Race Radicalism and the New Negro Lawyer, 1898-1937

Chapter One The Origin of a New Negro Lawyer, 1898-1924 3

Chapter Two Using the Left to Fight for What Is

Right Civil Rights Law and Radicalism, 1925-1935 27

Part Two From Race Radical to Racial Reformer, 1936-1953

Chapter Three Making a National Movement Local

The Civil Rights Struggle in Philadelphia, 1936-1948 61

Chapter Four The Cold War, Northern Scottsboro, and the Politics of Civil Rights, 1949-1953 93

Part Three A New Negro Judge During the Civil Rights/Black Power Era, 1954-1974

Chapter Five Participating in the Civil Rights Movement from the Bench, 1954-1964 125

Chapter Six A New Negro Judge in Black Power America, 1965-1974 158

Conclusion 189

Notes 195

Bibliography 215

Index 227

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