The civil rights movement, Brown v. Board of Education, and the passage of the great civil rights statutes of the 1960s were milestones in American history. Those events, along with the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama as the nation's first Black president, suggested that the eradication of racial subordination in America was achievable, if not imminent. To date, that hasn't happened. Throughout our history we have attempted to overcome race, only to be disappointed by the illusion that race had been overcome. The law has not been a neutral force in this dynamic. It has created and maintained a regime of white supremacy in the United States. At the same time, the law has also provided the tools essential to resist that regime. This course explicates this paradox. It is designed to reveal the pervasiveness, complexity, richness, and significance of racial controversies as they relate to the law. To that end, the class will examine the intersection of race and the law across a range of settings, subject matters and time periods including slavery, Reconstruction, K-12 and higher education, affirmative action, the First Amendment, and voting and political participation. The materials consist of a mix of cases, videos and scholarly commentary.
For details on class times, days of the week, instructors, and grading and exam details, please view the Michigan Law Class Schedule.