Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Brophy on a 1903 Call to Repeal the 15th Amendment

Alfred L. Brophy, University of Alabama School of Law, has posted The Case for the Repeal of the Fifteenth Amendment in the Yale Law Journal:
In June 1903, in the depths of the Jim Crow system, the Yale Law Journal published an article by famed New York corporate lawyer John R. Dos Passos (whose son, with the same name, later became a famous modernist novelist and socialist). The article, entitled “The Negro Question,” argued that many African American citizens in southern state were not yet ready for voting rights. The article defended the restriction of rights in southern states since the end of Reconstruction among African-Americans. Dos Passos’ article has received virtually no attention in recent years. It is important evidence of the intellectual credibility of ideas of segregation and second-class citizenship at the turn of the twentieth century. It reveals the breadth of the entrenched opposition to the ideas of racial equality. And it invites further examination of how law reviews in the early twentieth century supported Jim Crow segregation.

1 comment:

Shag from Brookline said...

This short essay is worth a read in these times of the impact of the Trump Administration on racial issues. Prof. Brophy is to be applauded for his essay.

While John Dos Passos, Jr. in briefly mentioned, I did some Googling as I was aware of Jr.'s novels of the 1920s, 1930s but had not read them. WW II came along as I became of age and Jr. was not stressed as I was being educated. That apple fell far from the tree. Those a generation or so younger than I probably knew little of Jr. I knew nothing of Sr. until this essay.