Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915

ISBN : 9780190235246

Susan D. Carle
424 Pages
169 x 233 mm
Pub date
Jun 2015
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Since its founding in 1910-the same year as another national organization devoted to the economic and social welfare aspects of race advancement, the National Urban League-the NAACP has been viewed as the vanguard national civil rights organization in American history. But these two flagship institutions were not the first important national organizations devoted to advancing the cause of racial justice. Instead, it was even earlier groups - including the National Afro American League, the National Afro American Council, the National Association of Colored Women, and the Niagara Movement - that developed and transmitted to the NAACP and National Urban League foundational ideas about law and lawyering that these latter organizations would then pursue. With unparalleled scholarly depth, Defining the Struggle explores these forerunner organizations whose contributions in shaping early twentieth century national civil rights organizing have largely been forgotten today. It examines the motivations of their leaders, the initiatives they undertook, and the ideas about law and racial justice activism they developed and passed on to future generations. In so doing, it sheds new light on how these early origins helped set the path for twentieth century legal civil rights activism in the United States.


Chapter 1. A New Generation of Post-Reconstruction Leaders
Chapter 2. The Legal and Political Vision of T. Thomas Fortune, Founder of the National Afro American League, 1880-1890
Chapter 3. The National Afro American League's Founding and Law-Related
Work, 1887-1895
Chapter 4: The Dispute between the " and the " within the Afro American Council: Reverdy Ransom and Booker T. Washington's Contrasting Visions of Racial Justice, 1895-1902
Chapter 5: The Afro American Council's Internal History, 1898-1908
Chapter 6: ": The Afro American Council's Legal Work, 1898-1908
Chapter 7: ": The National Association of Colored Women's Dual Social Welfare and Civil Rights Agenda, 1895-1910
Chapter 8: Asserting " Rights: The Niagara Movement's First Year, 1905
Chapter 9: The Beginnings of Twentieth Century Protest in the Niagara Movement's Experience, 1906-1909
Chapter 10: Atlanta and New York City
Founding the National Urban League
Chapter 11: Founding the NAACP: Building the Organization, 1908-1915
Chapter 12: Building the NAACP's Legal Agenda, 1910-1915

About the author: 

Susan Carle teaches legal ethics, anti-discrimination law, labor and employment law, and torts at American University Washington College of Law. She writes primarily about the history of social change lawyering, anti-discrimination law, and topics at the intersections between civil rights, employment, and labor law. In the past she has been a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, and union-side labor lawyer.

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