Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

Wil Haygood

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0307947378

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Over the course of his forty-year career, Thurgood Marshall brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated schools, and not only fought for human rights and human dignity but also made them impossible to deny in the courts and in the streets. In this galvanizing biography, award-winning author Wil Haygood uses the framework of the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm Marshall as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, to weave a provocative and moving look at Marshall’s life as well as at the politicians, lawyers, activists, and others who shaped—or desperately tried to stop—the civil rights movement. An authoritative account of one of the most transformative justices of the twentieth century, Showdown makes clear that it is impossible to overestimate Thurgood Marshall’s lasting influence on the racial politics of our nation.

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business owners, were even elected to the U.S. Congress. But following the end of Reconstruction, blacks were attacked and massacred; federal troops often had to be dispatched into the southern states to keep them safe. In 1897, J. William “Will” Thurmond—Strom Thurmond’s father—counted himself a fervent ally of “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman’s. Tillman, a virulent racist who was blind in one eye, was a South Carolina governor, then a U.S. senator. Will Thurmond took any slights against Tillman very

U.S., 2.1, 2.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 17.1 Joint Committee on Reconstruction of regulating elections and, 15.1, 15.2 see also House of Representatives, U.S.; Senate, U.S. Conley, Jim, 7.1, 7.2 Connor, Eugene “Bull,” conservatives, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 9.1, 10.1, 15.1, 16.1, 17.1 Constitution, U.S., prl.1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1, 12.1, 14.1, 15.1 amending of, 3.1, 9.1 article I, section 8 of, 12.1, 12.2 article IV, section 2 of, 12.1, 12.2, 16.1 elasticity of equal protection

nosiness she knew would be felt from others; that could be sensed simply by walking down the street with Marshall. (Not to mention the gossipy stories that sometimes appeared to jump off the front pages of Harlem tabloids when it came to interracial relationships.) It was an episode that had taken place right in the NAACP headquarters itself. Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP since 1931, was by all accounts a brilliant and brave man and a skilled genius in his direction of the

Eisenhower administration by vowing to protect the students, then pulling a vanishing act. Eisenhower left his vacation home at Newport, Rhode Island, and, once back at the White House, made an announcement to the nation. “Under the leadership of demagogic extremists,” Eisenhower said, “disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out of proper orders from a Federal court. Local authorities have not eliminated that violent opposition.” Eisenhower also said, “Mob rule cannot be allowed

the Brown desegregation ruling. He campaigned on “the failure of leadership that produced Little Rock, and the silence in the White House over integration.” He seemed fearless. He went after Eisenhower for his “hideous failure” in enforcing the Brown ruling. Hart won his election. And as soon as he reached Washington in 1959, he began speaking out on behalf of civil rights. The Kennedy administration was not doing enough, he believed; southern Democrats were stifling progress the country

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