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

Counterpoint. May 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781640093928. $26. LAW
Despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1869, which granted African Americans the right to vote, within a decade that guarantee was undermined by former Confederates and the U.S. Supreme Court. Constitutional law historian Goldstone (Inherently Unequal) cogently explores this example of “stolen justice,” detailing how the Supreme Court became determined to restrict voting to white men rather than extend it to racial minorities. It took nearly a century to undo this chapter in history; ultimately, the decision was reversed with the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Though historians and political scientists have covered Reconstruction thoroughly, Goldstone still manages to add new insights about both the court cases and the justices responsible for injustice. He praises Booker T. Washington’s covert attempts to counteract this decision while condemning Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s efforts to overturn judicial decisions that didn’t coincide with his beliefs in social Darwinism.
VERDICT Goldstone is a first-rate writer, and this book’s readability makes it ideal for classroom use, though all readers will learn from the cases covered here.
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