Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree

Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree

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Overview

Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree by Katie McCabe, Dovey Johnson Roundtree

Winner of the Association of Black Women Historians' 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize

From the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the segregated courtrooms of the nation’s capital, from the white male bastion of the World War II Army to the male stronghold of Howard University Law School, from the pulpits of churches where women had waited for years for the right to minister-in all these places Dovey Johnson Roundtree (b. 1914) sought justice. Though she is a legendary African American figure in the legal community of Washington, D.C., she remains largely unknown to the American public.

Justice Older than the Law is her story, the product of a remarkable, ten-year collaboration with National Magazine Award winner Katie McCabe. As a protégé of Mary McLeod Bethune, Roundtree became one of the first women to break the gender and color barriers in the United States military. Inspired by Thurgood Marshall and James Madison Nabrit, Jr., at Howard University Law School, Roundtree went on to make history by winning a 1955 bus desegregation case, Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. That decision demolished “separate but equal” in the realm of interstate transportation and enabled Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to combat southern resistance to the Freedom Riders’ campaign in 1961.

At a time when black attorneys had to leave the courthouses to use the bathrooms, Roundtree took on Washington’s white legal establishment and prevailed. She led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1961 and merged her law practice with her ministry to fight for families and children being destroyed by urban violence. Hers is a vision of biblical and social justice older by far than the law, and her life story speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617031212
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 03/30/2011
Series: Margaret Walker Alexander Series in African American Studies
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author


Katie McCabe, Bethesda, Maryland, is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washingtonian Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and Reader’s Digest, among others. Her National Magazine Award-winning article on black medical legend Vivien Thomas was the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, winner of three Emmys and a 2005 Peabody Award.

Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Charlotte, North Carolina, is a retired lawyer, an Army veteran, and an A.M.E. minister.

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