Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory

Iowa Law Review, Vol. 94, p. 1505, 2009

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-02

43 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2010  

Richard Delgado

University of Alabama - School of Law

Abstract

I wrote this piece exploring some of the intellectual origins of critical race theory for a 20-year anniversary of the movement held at the University of Iowa in April, 2009. In it, I look at the role of certain prominent university officers in purging their ranks of white radicals to prepare the way, in the late sixties and early seventies, for the first large group of post-Brown minority students who were starting to arrive around that time. I show how four promising white professors, two of law, one of history, and one of criminology lost their jobs and what they did afterward. I show that they continued to teach and write about left-wing thought in the hinterlands in ways that contributed to the rise of critical race theory. As they say, it is hard to kill an idea.

Keywords: Critical race theory, Marxism, McCarthyism, Academic freedom, Purges, Intellectual history, Left-wing movements, Radical thought, Critical legal studies, The sixties, Student protest

Suggested Citation

Delgado, Richard, Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory. Iowa Law Review, Vol. 94, p. 1505, 2009 ; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1542877

Richard Delgado (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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