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Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement

Michael J. Klarman

Publication Date - July 2007

ISBN: 9780195307634

296 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $26.95

The abridged, paperback edition of Klarman's much acclaimed, Bancroft Prize-winning From Jim Crow to Civil Rights


A splendid account of the Supreme Court's rulings on race in the first half of the twentieth century, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights earned rave reviews and won the Bancroft Prize for History in 2005. Now, in this marvelously abridged, paperback edition, Michael J. Klarman has compressed his acclaimed study into tight focus around one major case--Brown v. Board of Education--making the path-breaking arguments of his original work accessible to a broader audience of general readers and students.

In this revised and condensed edition, Klarman illuminates the impact of the momentous Brown v. Board of Education ruling. He offers a richer, more complex understanding of this pivotal decision, going behind the scenes to examine the justices' deliberations and reconstruct why they found the case so difficult to decide. He recaps his famous backlash thesis, arguing that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to change than for encouraging civil rights protest, and that it was only the resulting violence that transformed northern opinion and led to the landmark legislation of the 1960s. Klarman also sheds light on broader questions such as how judges decide cases; how much they are influenced by legal, political, and personal considerations; the relationship between Supreme Court decisions and social change; and finally, how much Court decisions simply reflect societal values and how much they shape those values.

Brown v. Board of Education was one of the most important decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. Klarman's brilliant analysis of this landmark case illuminates the course of American race relations as it highlights the relationship between law and social reform.

Acclaim for From Jim Crow to Civil Rights:

"A major achievement. It bestows upon its fortunate readers prodigious research, nuanced judgment, and intellectual independence."
--Randall Kennedy, The New Republic

--The New York Review of Books

"A sweeping, erudite, and powerfully argued book...unfailingly interesting."
--Wilson Quarterly

About the Author(s)

Michael J. Klarman is the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1987.


"Klarman's study is a stunning achievement, a work of enormous ambition that sheds new light on much discussed topics. This abridgement will prove indispensable for courses in American constitutional history, constitutional law, and the history of American race relations."--Clayborne Carson, Director, Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

"[B]ristles with incisive commentary while remaining accessible to general readers. It is the premiere treatment of this key development in modern American life."--Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School

"Michael Klarman's magisterial From Jim Crow to Civil Rights was a brilliant work of both legal interpretation and social and political history. This abridged version will be especially suitable for undergraduate history classes and for a more popular audience."--James Patterson, Ford Foundation Professor of History, Brown University

"From Jim Crow to Civil Rights is the first great and indispensable work of American constitutional history in the twenty-first century. This abridged version makes this important work available for use in undergraduate classes on the Supreme Court, judicial politics, American politics, civil rights, and political change. Highly recommended."--Howard Gillman, Professor of Political Science, History and Law, UCLA

Table of Contents

    1. The Jim Crow Era
    2. World War II
    3. Brown v. Board of Education
    4. Brown II and Subsequent Desegretaion Developments
    5. Brown's Direct Effects
    6. Brown's Indirect Effects
    7. Brown's Backlash
    8. Why Massive Resistance?
    9. Brown, Violence, and Civil Rights Legislation
    Notes on Sources
    Select Bibliography

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