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Social Movements, Legal Change, and the Challenges of Writing Legal History

Posted by on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 in Book Reviews, En Banc.

Reviewed: COURAGE TO DISSENT: ATLANTA AND THE LONG HISTORY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (Oxford University Press, 2011).

This Essay identifies the key contributions that Tomiko-Brown Nagin’s Courage to Dissent makes to the legal history of the civil rights movement. It situates the book among several other prominent legal histories of the civil rights era and offers thoughts on the challenge of creating historical accounts that illuminate the complex intersections of legal change and social activism. The Essay argues that Courage to Dissent is among the most thorough and ambitious efforts to confront this challenge in the literature today.