Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer

By Kilpatrick, Judith | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer


Kilpatrick, Judith, The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer. By Kenneth W. Mack. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012. Pp. 330. Illustrations, notes, acknowledgments, index. $35.00.)

Kenneth Mack states in his introduction that he will focus on the biographies of a few early twentieth-century African-American lawyers to examine the question of what it means to represent a race and to explore the dilemma that can create. These lawyers slowly began to gain acceptance in the white court system while representing African Americans, yet became increasingly suspect to the communities from which they emerged. While the subject does not relate directly to Arkansas or its history of African-American civil rights, Mack provides a good historical review of the efforts that educated African Americans made to convince white Americans of their equal worth as citizens.

Mack uses the experiences of lawyers like John Mercer Langston, Raymond Pace Alexander, and Charles Houston, noting they were lightskinned males educated in northern white law schools who could participate in court processes on a par with white lawyers because they "acted white" (pp. 29, 62, 84, 87, 93). It is not surprising that a group of people might be more comfortable interacting with those who look and act like them, but I do not think the author gives enough credit to the role of the white educational institutions in training these lawyers to deal with the legal system and its exacting procedures. Their acceptance by whites mostly did not extend beyond the courtroom, when it existed at all, so it was their ability to use that system as well as white lawyers did that allowed such success as there was.

Thurgood Marshall is included on the list, although he was of a younger generation. But while also light-skinned and from the middle class, Marshall did not graduate from a white institution but from Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C. Marshall, Mack says, "walked a fine line," able to convince whites that he was "much like themselves," while remaining a champion to his African-American clients (p. 112). Again, Mack focuses on what he sees as Marshall's "acting white," while giving short shriftto the quality of his legal education. Mack mentions the revamping of Howard Law School by Charles Houston before Marshall's attendance, and points out that one of the effects of Houston's work was to raise the standards for admission and for teaching, but he does not make the connection that Marshall's success, and that of other Howard graduates, might have been due to the improved quality of their legal training. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.