Color-Blind Justice

Color-Blind Justice : Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson

4.08 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
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Civil War officer, Reconstruction "carpetbagger," best-selling novelist, and relentless champion of equal rights, Albion Tourgee battled his entire life for racial justice. Now, in this engaging biography, Mark Elliott offers an insightful portrait of a fearless lawyer, jurist, and writer, who fought for equality long after most Americans had abandoned the ideals of Reconstruction. Elliott provides a fascinating account of Tourgee's life, from his childhood in the Western Reserve region of Ohio (then a hotbed of abolitionism), to his years as a North Carolina judge during Reconstruction, to his memorable role as lead plaintiff's counsel in the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson. Tourgee's brief coined the phrase that justice should be "color-blind," and his career was one long campaign to made good on that belief. A redoubtable lawyer and an accomplished jurist, Tourgee wrote fifteen political novels, eight books of historical and social criticism, and several hundred newspaper and magazine articles that all told represent a mountain of dissent against the prevailing tide of racial oppression. Through the lens of Tourgee's life, Elliott illuminates the war of ideas about race that raged through the United States in the nineteenth century, from the heated debate over slavery before the Civil War, through the conflict over aid to freedmen during Reconstruction, to the backlash toward the end of the century, when Tourgee saw his country retreat from the goals of equality and freedom and utterly repudiate the work of Reconstruction. A poignant and inspiring study in courage and conviction, Color Blind Justice offers us an unforgettable portrayal of Albion Tourgee and the principles to which he dedicated his more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 157.5 x 231.1 x 35.6mm | 635.04g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 1 map, numerous halftones
  • 0195181395
  • 9780195181395

Review quote

"In focusing on this largely forgotten activist and artist of Victorian America and his struggles to bring the United States into closer proximity to its ever-elusive ideals, Elliott undertook a task that was more daunting, for his subject pursued wildly different careers as a politician, a lawyer, and a novelist in pursuit of his goals. The author impressively succeeds in integrating these divergent strands into a coherent and illuminating whole."--Michael Thomas Smith, Reviews in American History"An excellent biography, by far the best scholarly treatment of it important subject."--Mark S. Weiner, American Historical Review"No one has completed a more thorough, penetrating study of Tourg'ee and his multiple legacies than Mark Elliott."--Jane Dailey, Civil War Book Review"Elliott's masterful biography...defies easy capsulization...It tells a story of a remarkable and talented man who dedicated much of his life to a noble, yet often lonely, struggle...And it places Tourgee in the context of the momentous events that shaped his life and ideas...[T]his extraordinary biography ends by leaving it to others to judge the meaning of Tourgee's life in our own times. There is little doubt that it can still tell us a great deal about the human condition."--Raleigh Daily News and Observer"Mark Elliott...has synthesized a wealth of material and crafted a superb study.... Elliot writes with gusto and is provocative in his analysis. Color-Blind Justice is certain to become an invaluable source on Tourg'ee and on race relations in the United States during the second half of the 19th century."--Richmond Times Dispatch"A seminal but nearly forgotten figure in the American Civil Rights movement receives his due in this richly detailed biography...Elliott goes a long way toward restoring Albion Tourg'ee's name to a prominent place on the list of American civil rights heroes."--Publishers Weekly"Through deep research, great sensitivity to the racial and social contexts of the late nineteenth century, and some eloquent writing, Elliott shows us a Tourg'ee who truly was a pioneer of the tradition of antiracism in its early years. The work is also an excellent on-the-ground biography of a carpetbaggers experience in Reconstruction North Carolina. Tourg'ee was a major literary, legal, and political figure and this book finally may bring his story to a larger readership. As a first book by a young scholar, it is impressive for its mature writing and creative research."--Avery O. Craven Award citation"Elliott's Color-Blind Justice is a fascinating study of a man and his principles against the rapidly changing background of the nineteenth century's second half."--Martin Hardeman, H-Net Reviews"A wonderful biography."--The Journal of Law and History Reviewshow more

About Mark Elliott

Mark Elliott is Assistant Professor of History at Wagner College in New York more

Rating details

23 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (8)
4 43% (10)
3 17% (4)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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