Exporting American Dreams

Exporting American Dreams

Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

Book - 2008
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Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits and legal maneuvering thehallmarks of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall seized the occasion and threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool withwhich to forge a just society, an opportunity to prove that legal means offered the brightest hope for progress. In Exporting American Dreams, Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall's journey to Africa. His experience in Kenya was emotional as well as intellectual, and during it he developed ties of friendship with, among others, Tom Mboya and Jomo Kenyatta. Marshallserved as advisor to the Kenyans, who needed to demonstrate to both Great Britain and to the world that they would treat minority races (whites and Asians) fairly once Africans took power. He crafted a bill of rights, aiding constitutional negotiations that enabled peaceful regime change, ratherthan violent resistance. Marshall's involvement with Kenya's foundation affirmed his belief in progress by legal means, while also forcing him to understand how the struggle for justice could be compromised by the imperatives of sovereignty. Marshall's beliefs were most sorely tested later in the decade when he became aSupreme Court Justice, even as American cities erupted in flames and civil rights progress stalled. But his journey to Africa remained a source of inspiration on which he continued to draw.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780195329018
Branch Call Number: 342.085 Dudziak
Characteristics: xii, 257 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm


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