“The law again. The precious law:” Black Women Radicals and the Fight to End Legal Lynching, 1949–1955

Crime and Punishment: Perspectives from the Humanities

ISBN: 978-0-76231-245-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-369-3

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 15 December 2005

Abstract

This article examines the early post-World War II civil rights organizing of black women radicals affiliated with the organized left. It details the work of these women in such organizations as the Civil Rights Congress and Freedom newspaper as they fought to challenge the unjust conviction and sentencing of black defendants caught in the racial machinations of U.S. local and state criminal justice systems. These campaigns against what was provocatively called “legal lynching” formed a cornerstone of African American civil rights activism in the early postwar years. In centering the civil rights politics and organizing of these black women radicals, a more detailed picture emerges of the Communist Party-supported anti-legal lynching campaigns. Such a perspective moves beyond a view of civil rights legal activism as solely the work of lawyers, to examining the ways committed activists within the U.S. left, helped to build this legal activism and sustain an important left base in the U.S. during the Cold War.

Citation

Gore, D.F. (2005), "“The law again. The precious law:” Black Women Radicals and the Fight to End Legal Lynching, 1949–1955", Sarat, A. (Ed.) Crime and Punishment: Perspectives from the Humanities (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 37), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 53-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1059-4337(05)37003-7

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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