Friday, February 13, 2015

Schmidt on "The Sit-ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement"

The Law and History Review is offering an online preview of another article from the forthcoming issue: "Divided by Law: The Sit-ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement," by Christopher W. Schmidt (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law). Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
I argue in this article that the sit-in movement in its explosive early months cannot be fully understood without attention to how law and expectations of law shaped the development of the movement. In rejecting traditional conceptions of civil rights reform, the students were acting upon their understanding of the distinctive legal landscape of the period. The responses of LDF lawyers, Southern politicians, and Southern business owners to the sit-ins were affected by their own assessments about the state of the law and the opportunities and limitations of court-based remedies. Each of these groups put forth their own vision of civil rights, their own claim on the meaning of the Constitution. They were all responding to their own understanding of the state of the law and the likelihood that legal institutions might further their interests.
Subscribers may access the full article here.