Crusaders in the Courts: How a Dedicated Band of Lawyers Fought for the Civil Rights Revolution
This book is both a powerful personal memoir and the definitive history of an organization that helped change American society. Jack Greenberg was a key figure at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) for some thirty-five years. Most of the cases we associate from that period--school integration, equal employment, fair housing, voter registration--were LDF cases, either argued by Greenberg himself or litigated under his direction. Greenberg represented Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham and won for him the right to march from Selma to Montgomery. Under Greenberg's leadership, the LDF forced the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith and integrated the University of Alabama when George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door. Greenberg won the cases in which the Supreme Court repudiated the "all deliberate speed" doctrine, which had made school desegregation intolerably slow. Through the 1970s and 1980s, LDF tackled most of the important cases that enforced the new civil rights legislation of the 1960s involving public accommodations, employment, education, and health care, and started the campaigns for prisoners' rights and against capital punishment. More than a history of the litigation that made the LDF so important, the book offers unique insights into its strategies, courtroom techniques, values, and personal relationships. Filled with stories only Greenberg could tell of his experiences with Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marian Wright Edelman, Lani Guinier, Roy Wilkins, Vernon Jordan, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Lyndon Johnson, and scores of others, Crusaders in the Courts is an epic saga of a critical period in American history as well as the poignant personal story of the evolution of a white Jewish lawyer into a major civil rights advocate.
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