Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Release: Francis, "Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State"

A book that Emily mentioned in this past Sunday's roundup caught my eye: Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (Cambridge University Press, April 2014), by political scientist Megan Ming Francis (University of Washington). A description from the Press:
Did the civil rights movement impact the development of the American state? Despite extensive accounts of civil rights mobilization and narratives of state building, there has been surprisingly little research that explicitly examines the importance and consequence that civil rights activism has had for the process of state building in American political and constitutional development. Through a sweeping archival analysis of the NAACP's battle against lynching and mob violence from 1909 to 1923, this book examines how the NAACP raised public awareness, won over American presidents, and secured the support of Congress. In the NAACP's most far-reaching victory, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional rights of black defendants were violated by a white mob in the landmark criminal procedure decision Moore v. Dempsey. This book demonstrates the importance of citizen agency in the making of new constitutional law in a period unexplored by previous scholarship.
A few blurbs:
"Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State is an outstanding contribution to the fields of race and politics, American political development, and legal studies. Drawing on rich archival sources, Francis redefines our understanding of the early civil rights movement, the NAACP, and its relationship to the American presidency and Congress. Her research forces us to revise our understanding of the complicated relationships between early twentieth-century presidents and the black movement for racial justice. This work also sharply highlights how social movement organizations tack back and forth between multiple strategies to achieve their goals. Students of American politics, history, legal studies, race and politics, and social movements will all find this a must-read." -- Michael C. Dawson 

"In this original, incisive, and empirically convincing book, Megan Ming Francis documents how the NAACP’s manifold political challenges to racial violence in the early twentieth century contributed to the development of the modern American constitutional state. Along the way, Francis illustrates why historical institutional analysts should grant greater attention to the important roles of organized citizen groups in shaping civil rights law and national legal authority. The book is a brilliant and important achievement." -- Michael McCann
More information is available here.

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