'The Dean of Chicago's Black Lawyers': Earl Dickerson and Civil Rights Lawyering in the Years Before Brown
Notre Dame Law School
Virgina Law Review, Vol. 93. p. 1355, 2007
Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 06-35
This book review engages recent scholarship on the nature of civil-rights lawyering in the African-American bar in the generation before Brown v. Board of Education. Using the recent biography of Earl Burrus Dickerson, one of the leaders of the African-American bar before World War II, as its vehicle, the review finds support for the emerging thesis that, in the years before Brown, the African-American civil-rights bar was not focused on ending de jure segregation in public institutions, but rather on building up African-American institutions. Contrary to recent scholarship, however, the review suggests that Dickerson personally preferred a more integrationist strategy, and his efforts to build up African-American institutions was less a conscious strategy than an adaptation to the limitations on his ability to practice law as he wished. Freedom of action, rather than racial equality, was Dickerson's great motivator.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Civil Rights,U.S. Legal History,Class Actions
Date posted: November 9, 2006 ; Last revised: February 17, 2011