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Race, Law, and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the U.S., First Edition

  • Geeta N. Kapur
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Race, Law, and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the U.S. examines how the American legal system has legitimized and institutionalized racism, from slavery to Jim Crow segregation to the modern-day era of mass incarceration. This book, the first of its kind, has evolved from the author’s own experiences of both teaching race and the law for many years and practicing Civil Rights Law for over two decades. The text employs a novel interdisciplinary approach through primary source materials; archival records, photographs, and maps; and statutes and cases, to show how the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of the U.S. have deployed the law for racial control and to foster systemic racism in the areas of education, property and housing, criminal system, and voting rights. This study of race and law provides the historical and contemporary meaning of race and racism and explores the difference between justice and law; identifies the role of race and racism in early U.S. history and in the nation’s governing documents; explains how the legal system has historically limited access to citizenship, education, property and housing, and voting rights for African Americans; describes the epidemic of mass incarceration, its stakeholders and its collateral consequences; and, most importantly, guides students to be compassionate lawyers, committed to creating a more just and merciful society.  

Benefits for instructors and students:

  • The text, based on the curriculum of a race law course that has been taught for over 10 years, examines and connects historical and contemporary legal issues in the areas of education, property and housing, the criminal legal system, and voting rights
  • Rich primary historical materials provide deep exploration of the connection of the law and racism, from past to present
  • A wide variety of photographs, maps, and illustrations provide real examples and context
  • Detailed background stories put cases and excerpts in vivid context
  • The text includes explanations of the origin of race and the different manifestations of racism
  • The author’s riveting writing style will be of high interest to students
  • A bibliography provides an overview of the challenges faced by African Americans during the struggles for voting rights—from slavery, to post-reconstruction and Jim Crow restrictions, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to U.S. Supreme Court cases and constitutional constraints
  • The text features a full treatment of the origin, the legal history of affirmative action, and the 2023 affirmative action decision of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina and Harvard University
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First Edition
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Race and the Law
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