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Blackness as Delinquency

65 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012 Last revised: 15 Nov 2013

Cheryl Nelson-Butler

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: November 14, 2013


This is one of the first law review article to analyze both the role of "blackness" in shaping the first juvenile court and the black community's response to the court's jurisprudence. This Article breaks new ground on two fronts. First, it considers the first juvenile court's treatment of black youth within the context of the heightened racial oppression immediately following the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. Second, this Article recovers the lost story of the black women's club movement's response to race issues within the juvenile court movement. In doing so, this Article reconsiders the history of the national black women's club movement within a new framework-that of black women as advocates for juvenile and criminal justice reform. Furthermore, a major issue that these child savers faced remains one that scholars of the juvenile court's early history have not fully explored: race.

Suggested Citation

Nelson-Butler, Cheryl, Blackness as Delinquency (November 14, 2013). Washington University Law Review, 1335 2012-2013 ; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 104. Available at SSRN:

Cheryl Nelson-Butler (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
2147682598 (Phone)
2147683142 (Fax)

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