Litigating Across the Color Line
Civil Cases between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to the Civil Rights Era
Oxford University Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 24, 2017 Myra Houser
Drawing on materials from archives in eight southern US states, Melissa Milewski’s Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to the Civil Rights Era (Oxford University Press, 2017) examines how African Americans utilized courts for disputes over property, personal injury, and workplace compensation, among other fields. She argues for a reexamination of African American agency through the use of the courts. In a fascinating juxtaposition, Milewski‘s work also addresses the white lawyers, juries, judges and, of course, often plaintiffs or defendants within these cases, some of whom operated out of concern, some through paternalism, and some, either overtly or not, in order to maintain white supremacy.