Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

By: Lawrence Goldstone

Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote? In a bitter partisan fight over the legislature and Constitution, the answer eventually became yes, though only after two constitutional amendments, two Reconstruction Acts, two Civil Rights Acts, three Enforcement Acts, the impeachment of a president, and an army of occupation. Yet, even that was not enough to ensure that African American voices would be heard, or their lives protected. White supremacists loudly and intentionally prevented black Americans from voting—and they were willing to kill to do so.

In this vivid portrait of the systematic suppression of the African American vote, critically acclaimed author Lawrence Goldstone traces the injustices of the post-Reconstruction era through the eyes of incredible individuals, both heroic and barbaric, and examines the legal cases that made the Supreme Court a partner of white supremacists in the rise of Jim Crow. Though this is a story of America's past, Goldstone brilliantly draws direct links to today's creeping threats to suffrage in this important and, alas, timely book.

Foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Glossary. Bibliography. Source notes. Index. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions.

ISBN: 9781338323481

JLG Release: Apr 2020


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Mild Violence, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur
Topics: African Americans , African American history , Suffrage , Civil rights , Segregation , Violence against African Americans , Jim Crow laws , Reconstruction Era (1863–1877)

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

Goldstone’s thorough work captures the inconsistency of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings involving the voting rights of African Americans, particularly in the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras. For the most part, U.S. Supreme Court appointees during the post-Reconstruction period mirrored the general shift of attitude by white America Goldstone’s thorough work captures the inconsistency of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings involving the voting rights of African Americans, particularly in the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras. For the most part, U.S. Supreme Court appointees during the post-Reconstruction period mirrored the general shift of attitude by white America toward reconciliation with the South, even if it meant ignoring or repealing the rights granted to African Americans with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Goldstone builds a convincing case that the Supreme Court played a pivotal role in the reversal of African American voting rights after Reconstruction. Furthermore, he offers evidence that efforts to restrict voting rights apply to the present-day Supreme Court, citing the 2013 decision to remove the requirement mandating special permission to change election laws at the state and local levels in designated areas within the country. Immediately after the 2013 decision, many states began to institute voting restrictions, including the requirement of photo identification. Goldstone has provided new and compelling insight into the societal impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions related to voting rights. A must-buy for all high school collections.

Horn Book

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 Amer 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).

Book Details

ISBN

9781338323481

First Release

April 2020

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

324.6

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

288

Accelerated Reader

Level 9.6; Points: 8;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 1310L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Scholastic Focus

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Mild Violence, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur

Topics

African Americans, African American history, Suffrage, Civil rights, Segregation, Violence against African Americans, Jim Crow laws, Reconstruction Era (1863–1877),

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