How Myth-Busting About the Historical Goals of Civil Rights Activism Can Illuminate Future Paths
30 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016
Date Written: October 2011
This Article considers four myths about the history of civil rights activism that have tended to cloud assessments about current civil rights law and its potential future directions. I argue that correcting those myths can help illuminate promising paths for the future. In each instance, alternative historical narratives reveal a rich record of experimentation with diverse ideas. This history suggests many alternative routes for further development of core principles of civil rights law, including further theoretical and practical work to pursue longstanding concepts of structural discrimination, the promise of experimentalist approaches to regulation and enforcement, increased interdisciplinary collaboration between law and other social science fields, and more focus on matters of economic inequality and other forms of inequitable resource distribution that have both class and race components. All of these reflect central but unfinished goals of the civil rights movement throughout its long history stretching back into the nineteenth century.
Keywords: civil rights, history
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation