Shades of Freedom
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Shades of Freedom : Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process

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In Shades of Freedom, A. Leon Higginbotham provides a magisterial account of the interaction between the law and racial oppression in America from colonial times to the present. The issue of racial inferiority is central to this volume, as Higginbotham documents how early white perceptions of black inferiority slowly became codified into law. In Shades of Freedom, a noted scholar and a celebrated jurist offers a work of magnificent scope, insight, and passion. Ranging from the earliest colonial times to the present, it is a superb work of history and a mirror to the American soul.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 140 x 214 x 28mm | 480.81g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 16 pp plates
  • 0195122887
  • 9780195122886

Review quote

"Eighteen years is a long time to hold one's breath, but it has been worth the pain and effort. Shades of Freedom is in its own way as remarkable a book as Leon Higginbotham's magnificent In The Matter of Color. It reflects the same mastery of historical research, passion for equality and the rule of law, and judicial temperament. With the publication of this volume, Judge Higginbotham confirms my judgement that he is our leading judicial scholar, and my hope that, with his leadership, this nation will resume its progress toward equal protection of the law for all."-Stanley N. Katz, President, American Council for Learned Societies, and Professor, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University "In Shades of Freedom one of our greatest legal minds makes a powerful case for turning the use of law to the service of justice. Judge Higginbotham carefully explains the role of law in reinforcing the concept of African American inferiority since the colonial period."-Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania, and Chairperson, United States Commission on Civil Rights "In my lifetime, two giants of the bench did not make the Supreme Court: Learned Hand and Leon Higginbotham. Now one has written a book that you would expect from him: eloquent, scholarly, compassionate, and a ringing call for justice."-Senator Paul Simon "Once again, this great freedom fighter, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., has masterfully presented a remarkable and refreshingly honest assessment of the role of race in American society and law. With great clarity and perception, Higginbotham exposes underlying cultural assumptions of inferiority and the impact such assumptions have on our collective progress. Shades of Freedom is aptly entitled because in describing the vast spectrum of freedoms enjoyed by African Americans today, it serves as a poignant reminder that there are many miles yet to travel on the road to freedom and equality."-Honorable Damon J. Keith, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit "Higginbotham's masterful work is a compelling and convincing examination of how the law developed the official American doctrine of racial inferiority."-Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton "Judge Higginbotham is once again the smithy, wielding, as a mighty hammer, his powerful intellect, scholarship, historical, and logic, in the forge of justice, seeking to reshape on the anvil of the Constitution, minds badly twisted by racism. In this classic work, Shades of Freedom, Higginbotham takes his readers through historical and social time zones with their sunlight and shadows, showing forward movement and retreat. Given the confused state of race relations today this remarkable book could not be more timely."-Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit "Shades of Freedom magnificently reflects on the systematic denial and betrayal of our past and present rights to full liberty and justice, while providing a sobering and disturbing prognosis of our future progress in achieving our full Constitutional guarantees. It superimposes a historical mosaic of denial and unkept promises. The Judge brilliantly chronicles the insidious patterns of racism that have always short-circuited our quest for unconditional freedom, as embraced by America's most enduring concept 'We the People.' In Shades of Freedom, as in In the Matter of Color, Judge Higginbotham passionately sounds the trumpet for a Rainbow of Freedom for 'We the People.'"-Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, President/Founder, The Bethune-DuBois Fund "Shades of Freedom is a worthy successor to In the Matter of Color. With eloquence and authority, Judge Higginbotham chronicles and analyzes the long, sordid history of the use of law in establishing and maintaining a system in which 'Equal Justice Under Law' is a mockery of the actual practice. Anyone interested in race in America should read this important book."-John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus, Duke University "In his powerful treatise, Judge Higginbotham has exposed both the pathology and the potential of the law in either eliminating or perpetuating racial injustice. He has written with the eloquence of a Martin Luther King, the scholarship of a W.E.B. DuBois, and the superb legal craftsmanship and wisdom of Chief Justice Warren and Thurgood Marshall. For all individuals who believe that history is relevant, Shades of Freedom must be read and reflected on. A must-read book for every generation of Americans."-Kweisi Mfume, President & CEO, NAACP Reviews of the cloth edition: "Judge Higginbotham's book is customarily well researched, extensively documented, persuasively written, and offers compelling insights on the painfully slow process of racial progress in America. While W.E.B. DuBois reminded us that the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, Judge Higginbotham has documented DuBois's prophecy in Shades of Freedom, the seminal work on race in the legal system for the twenty-first century."-Charles J. Ogletree, Professor of Law, Harvard Law Schoolshow more

About A. Leon Higginbotham

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. is Public Service Professor of Jurisprudence at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was formerly Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He has taught at Yale and at the Harvard, New York University, and University of Pennsylvania Law Schools, and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His landmark volume In the Matter of Color won the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award and the National Bar Association's Literary Award.show more

Rating details

24 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 46% (11)
4 38% (9)
3 17% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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