Unpunished murder : the Colfax massacre and the Supreme Court

by Goldstone, Lawrence, 1947-

Format: Print Book [2018]
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On Easter Sunday of 1873, just eight years after the Civil War ended, a band of white supremacists marched into Grant Parish, Louisiana, and massacred over one hundred unarmed African Americans. The court case that followed reached the highest court in the land. Yet, following one of the most ghastly incidents of mass murder in American history, not one person was convicted.

The opinion issued by the Supreme Court in US v. Cruikshank set in motion a process that would help create a society in which black Americans were oppressed and denied basic human rights -- legally, according to the courts. These injustices paved the way for Jim Crow and would last for the next hundred years. Many continue to exist to this day.

In this compelling and thoroughly researched volume for young readers, Lawrence Goldstone traces the evolution of the law and the fascinating characters involved in the story of how the Supreme Court helped institutionalize racism in the American justice system.
A new government : Alexander Hamilton and "Brutus"
The Supreme Court is born : John Marshall
Less than human : Roger Taney and Dred Scott
Remaking America : Andrew Johnson and Thaddeus Stevens
Some odd arithmetic : who won the war?
Two amendments and a dream of equality : John Bingham
The Klan : Nathan Bedford Forrest and Mary Polk Branch
Reconstruction in black and white : Harriet Ann Jacobs and Frank Alexander Montgomery
An island for Freedmen : Colfax
Fraud runs wild : Samuel McEnery and William Kellogg
Reconstruction ascendant : Blanche K. Bruce
Massacre : James Hadnot
The wheels of justice : J.R. Beckwith
Civil rights on trial
Is justice language or an idea? : Joseph P. Bradley
The most important judge in the nation : Morrison Waite
Civil rights : Charles Sumner
One hundred years of freedom : Philadelphia and the White League
The end of the line
President by one vote : the Fifteenth Man.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* This information-packed book discusses the origins and repercussions of the Colfax massacre. In central Louisiana in 1873, white supremacists surrounded a courthouse where more than 100 formerly enslaved men had taken refuge. The attackers set the building ablaze and, after the freedmen came out and surrendered their weapons, shot them. No one was convicted of those murders. A Supreme Court decision related to the massacre resulted in the dismantling of Reconstruction and the swift return of widespread discrimination and violence against black Americans, particularly in the South. Offering a broad view of the issues, Goldstone presents a great deal of relevant background material on constitutional history, the federal court system, and the Dred Scott decision as well as describing significant individuals and political factions during the Reconstruction period. The illustrations include period portraits, photos, and political cartoons. Though the many details regarding government officials, judicial rulings, and widespread corruption during the period can be fascinating, students without a solid foundation in American history may lose interest. Those who persevere will find a gripping story and a well-informed perspective on American history. Spotlighting an event seldom discussed in books for young people, Goldstone provides a complex, useful historical context for understanding issues surrounding race and justice.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects United States. -- Supreme Court -- History -- 19th century -- Juvenile literature.
United States. -- Supreme Court.
African Americans -- Crimes against -- Louisiana -- Colfax -- History -- 19th century -- Juvenile literature.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Louisiana -- Juvenile literature.
Constitutional law -- United States -- Juvenile literature.
Massacres -- Louisiana -- Colfax -- Juvenile literature.
African Americans -- Colfax (Louisiana).
Massacres -- Colfax (Louisiana).
Reconstruction (1865-1876).
Constitutional law -- United States.
Publisher New York :[2018]
Edition First edition.
Audience 12-18.
Language English
Description pages cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781338239454
Other Classic View