On Account of Race : The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights
by Goldstone, Lawrence







Introduction3(9)
Prologue--Overthrow12(8)
1 Who Votes?
20(8)
2 Two Amendments...
28(15)
3 Power in Black and White
43(9)
The Klan
4 ... And a Third
52(6)
Equal Rights Comes to the Ballot Box
5 A Fragile Illusion
58(7)
6 Any Way You Slice It
65(9)
The Slaughter-House Cases
7 Equality by Law
74(5)
The Civil Rights Act of 1875
8 The Uncertainty of Language
79(11)
United States v. Reese
9 Rutherfraud Ascends, but Not Equal Rights
90(5)
10 A Slight Case of Murder
95(14)
The Strange Journey of Strauder v. West Virginia
11 Tightening the Knot
109(12)
Virginia v. Rives
12 Strangling the Constitution
121(10)
The Civil Rights Cases
13 The Curious Incident of the Chinese Laundry and Equal Protection
131(15)
14 Mississippi Leads the South
146(13)
15 The First Test
159(15)
Mills v. Green
16 Peer Review
174(17)
Williams v. Mississippi
17 Refining Redemption
191(18)
18 Forging an Attack
209(9)
19 The Window Slams Shut
218(16)
Giles v. Harris
Epilogue--Stolen Justice234(5)
Acknowledgments239(2)
Notes241(20)
Bibliography261(12)
Index273


"Beginning in 1876, the Court systematically dismantled both the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment, at least for African-Americans, and what seemed to be the guarantee of the right to vote in the Fifteenth. And so, of the more than 500,000 African-Americans who had registered to vote across the South, the vast majority former slaves, by 1906, less than ten percent remained. Many of those were terrified to go the polls, lest they be beaten, murdered, or have their homes burned to theground. None of this was done in the shadows-those determined to wrest the vote from black Americans could not have been more boastful in either intent or execution. But the Court chose to ignore the obvious and wrote decisions at odds with the Constitution, preferring to instead reinforce the racial stereotypes of the day. "Whites Only" tells the story of an American tragedy, the only occasion in United States history in which a group of citizens who had been granted the right to vote then had it stripped away. Even more unjust was that this theft of voting rights was done with full approval, even the sponsorship, of the United States Supreme Court"-





LAWRENCE GOLDSTONE is the author of five books and numerous articles on constitutional law. His reviews and opinion pieces have appeared in, among other publications, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, The New Republic, and Tablet. His wife is the noted medieval and renaissance historian, Nancy Goldstone. Find out more at lawrencegoldstone.com.





*Starred Review* On the cusp of a pivotal U.S. presidential election, in which the African American vote will play a critical role, a close look at the checkered history of voting rights is welcome indeed. Constitutional-law historian Goldstone traces the Supreme Court's shameful collusion with white racists to suppress black suffrage right from the start of Reconstruction. Although the Constitution originally gave states wide latitude in managing elections, resulting in laws that restricted suffrage by wealth, race, and gender, the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, was intended to affirm both universal citizenship and universal suffrage. Goldstone points out that enfranchising African Americans was a self-preservation strategy for Congressional Republicans, who feared that readmitting the Confederate states without assuring black suffrage would result in state governments dominated by pro-slavery Democratics. Yet the Democrats had an ally in the U.S. Supreme Court, which relentlessly overturned civil-rights legislation based on dubious claims about the function and reach of the Fourteenth Amendment. Goldstone reserves particular ire for Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose reputation as "an unwavering defender of democratic ideals" is undercut by his virulent racism, which prompted him to uphold Alabama's openly discriminatory voting laws. A sobering but essential and timely history. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





An expert on constitutional law skewers the U.S. Supreme Court for its failure to strike down practices that disenfranchise black citizens. As controversies arise in 2020 about Republican Party operatives hoping to win elections by removing potentially hostile voters from election rolls, Goldstone looks back primarily at 19th-century court rulings to demonstrate that the justices—all of them white males—never intended to uphold the true meaning of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The author's phrasing is necessarily uncompromising throughout. "In the decades after the Civil War...the Supreme Court," he writes, "always claiming strict adherence to the law, regularly flexed [its] judicial muscles and chose, in decision after decision, 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." Those rulings rendered Constitutional amendments "hollow and meaningless." The bigotry and cowardice of the justices allowed Southern states and some Northern states to deny voting rights to blac ks with impunity. The shameful behavior extended to justices who have been lionized by historians as beacons of intellectual prowess and fairness. The most significant example is Oliver Wendell Holmes. Goldstone cites Giles v. Harris (1903) as a prime example of how Holmes "distort[ed]...constitutional principles" to deny qualified black citizens the right to vote. In the brief but insightful epilogue, the author wonders whether the morally corrupt justices conceive of the Constitution as a mere assemblage of words or as a grand idea meant to guarantee "fundamental justice" for all U.S. citizens, regardless of race. Without referring directly to the Supreme Court circa 2020, Goldstone posits that democracy can survive only if "all Americans insist that their fellow citizens, no matter what their race, gender, religion, or political belief, be allowed to participate in choosing the nation's leaders." Indeed, "it is a simple rule, one ordinary citizens, elected officials, and e specially Supreme Court justices should not forget." A persuasive case that history matters and that the past is prologue. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





An expert on constitutional law skewers the U.S. Supreme Court for its failure to strike down practices that disenfranchise black citizens. As controversies arise in 2020 about Republican Party operatives hoping to win elections by removing potentially hostile voters from election rolls, Goldstone looks back primarily at 19th-century court rulings to demonstrate that the justices—all of them white males—never intended to uphold the true meaning of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The author's phrasing is necessarily uncompromising throughout. "In the decades after the Civil War...the Supreme Court," he writes, "always claiming strict adherence to the law, regularly flexed [its] judicial muscles and chose, in decision after decision, 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." Those rulings rendered Constitutional amendments "hollow and meaningless." The bigotry and cowardice of the justices allowed Southern states and some Northern states to deny voting rights to blac ks with impunity. The shameful behavior extended to justices who have been lionized by historians as beacons of intellectual prowess and fairness. The most significant example is Oliver Wendell Holmes. Goldstone cites Giles v. Harris (1903) as a prime example of how Holmes "distort[ed]...constitutional principles" to deny qualified black citizens the right to vote. In the brief but insightful epilogue, the author wonders whether the morally corrupt justices conceive of the Constitution as a mere assemblage of words or as a grand idea meant to guarantee "fundamental justice" for all U.S. citizens, regardless of race. Without referring directly to the Supreme Court circa 2020, Goldstone posits that democracy can survive only if "all Americans insist that their fellow citizens, no matter what their race, gender, religion, or political belief, be allowed to participate in choosing the nation's leaders." Indeed, "it is a simple rule, one ordinary citizens, elected officials, and e specially Supreme Court justices should not forget." A persuasive case that history matters and that the past is prologue. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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