Goldstone, Lawrence

Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

(2) YA The unwillingness of delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention to decide on two issues was disastrous for the nation's future. Leaving voting rights to the states--especially to the slave states with white supremacist governments--meant that the ideal of equality laid out in the U.S. Constitution would be frustrated, with much of the American population denied basic rights. The delegates also could not agree on whether or not there should be a federal court system beyond the Supreme Court, with Southern states, especially, distrusting a national court system, fearing it would threaten their way of life. Goldstone (Unpunished Murder, rev. 9/18) analyzes the promises of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments and the attempt during Reconstruction to expand civil rights under the law. He then demonstrates, through several Supreme Court cases, how "in decision after decision, the Court chose to allow white supremacists to re-create a social order at odds with legislation that Congress had passed, the president had signed, and the states had ratified." The book, with long stretches of text unrelieved by sidebars or visuals, may challenge readers, but steadfast ones will be rewarded by Goldstone's treatment of cases not often covered in similar surveys. The narrative concludes with a brief look at the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery (led by figures such as John Lewis), and the monumental Voting Rights Act of 1965, later undercut by Alabama v. Holder in 2013, demonstrating that the issue of voting rights is still far from settled. Back matter includes a bibliography, glossary, and thorough source notes (index not seen).


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