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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Distant Voices Then And Now: The Impact Of Isolation On The Courtroom Narratives Of Slave Ship Captives And Asylum Seekers, Tara Patel Jun 2018

Distant Voices Then And Now: The Impact Of Isolation On The Courtroom Narratives Of Slave Ship Captives And Asylum Seekers, Tara Patel

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part I compares the nineteenth century cases of the Antelope and the Amistad to identify why they resulted in different outcomes despite having similar fact patterns. The Antelope concerned the fate of approximately 280 African captives discovered on a slave trade ship upon its interception by a U.S. revenue cutter. Since the slave trade in the United States was illegal at the time, the captives were transported to Savannah for trial through which their status—free or slave—would be determined. After a lengthy trial and appeals process in which Spain and Portugal laid claim to the captives, the ...


Without Representation, No Taxation: Free Blacks, Taxes, And Tax Exemptions Between The Revolutionary And Civil Wars, Christopher J. Bryant Oct 2015

Without Representation, No Taxation: Free Blacks, Taxes, And Tax Exemptions Between The Revolutionary And Civil Wars, Christopher J. Bryant

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay is the first general survey of the taxation of free Blacks in free and slave states between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. A few states treated all equally for tax purposes, but most states enacted taxation systems that subjected free Blacks to different requirements. Both free and slave states viewed free Blacks as an undesirable population, and this Essay posits that—within the relevant political constraints—states used taxes and tax exemptions to dissuade free Black immigration and limit the opportunities for free Blacks within their borders. This topic is salient for at least two reasons. First, the ...


The Keyes To Reclaiming The Racial History Of The Roberts Court, Tom I. Romero, Ii Sep 2015

The Keyes To Reclaiming The Racial History Of The Roberts Court, Tom I. Romero, Ii

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article advocates for a fundamental re-understanding about the way that the history of race is understood by the current Supreme Court. Represented by the racial rights opinions of Justice John Roberts that celebrate racial progress, the Supreme Court has equivocated and rendered obsolete the historical experiences of people of color in the United States. This jurisprudence has in turn reified the notion of color-blindness, consigning racial discrimination to a distant and discredited past that has little bearing to how race and inequality is experienced today. The racial history of the Roberts Court is centrally informed by the context and ...


Habermas, The Public Sphere, And The Creation Of A Racial Counterpublic, Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer Jan 2015

Habermas, The Public Sphere, And The Creation Of A Racial Counterpublic, Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Jürgen Habermas documented the historical emergence and fall of what he called the bourgeois public sphere, which he defined as “[a] sphere of private people come together as a public . . . to engage [public authorities] in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.” This was a space where individuals gathered to discuss with each other, and sometimes with public officials, matters of shared concern. The aim of these gatherings was not simply discourse; these gatherings allowed the bourgeoisie ...


Ownership Without Citizenship: The Creation Of Noncitizen Property Rights, Allison Brownell Tirres Dec 2013

Ownership Without Citizenship: The Creation Of Noncitizen Property Rights, Allison Brownell Tirres

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

At the nation’s founding, the common law of property defined ownership as an incident of citizenship. Noncitizens were unable lawfully to hold, devise, or inherit property. This doctrine eroded during the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but few scholars have examined its demise or the concommittant rise of property rights for foreigners. This Article is the first sustained treatment of the creation of property rights for noncitizens in American law. It uncovers two key sources for the rights that emerged during the nineteenth century: federal territorial law, which allowed for alien property ownership and alien suffrage, and ...


Yick Wo At 125: Four Simple Lessons For The Contemporary Supreme Court, Marie A. Failinger Apr 2012

Yick Wo At 125: Four Simple Lessons For The Contemporary Supreme Court, Marie A. Failinger

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The 125th anniversary of Yick Wo v. Hopkins is an important opportunity to recognize the pervasive role of law in oppressive treatment of Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is also a good opportunity for the Supreme Court to reflect on four important lessons gleaned from Yick Wo. First, the Court should never lend justification to the evil of class discrimination, even if it has to decline to rule in a case. Second, where there is persistent discrimination against a minority group, the Court must be similarly persistent in fighting it. Third, the Court needs to take ...


"The Prejudice Of Caste": The Misreading Of Justice Harlan And The Ascendency Of Anticlassificaiton, Scott Grinsell Jan 2010

"The Prejudice Of Caste": The Misreading Of Justice Harlan And The Ascendency Of Anticlassificaiton, Scott Grinsell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article reconsiders the familiar reading of Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson as standing for the principle of constitutional colorblindness by examining the significance of Harlan's use of the metaphor "caste" in the opinion. By overlooking Harlan's invocation of "caste," it argues that conservative proponents of anticlassification have reclaimed the opinion for "colorblindness," and buried a powerful statement of the antisubordination principle that is at the heart of our equality law. The Article begins by examining the emergence of a reading of the opinion as articulating a view of equality law based in anticlassification. The ...


Wartime Prejudice Against Persons Of Italian Descent: Does The Civil Liberties Act Of 1988 Violate Equal Protection?, Joseph C. Mauro Jan 2010

Wartime Prejudice Against Persons Of Italian Descent: Does The Civil Liberties Act Of 1988 Violate Equal Protection?, Joseph C. Mauro

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Most people know that the United States interned persons of Japanese descent during World War II. Few people know, however, that the government interned persons of German and Italian descent as well. In fact, the internment was part of a larger national security program, in which the government classified non-citizens of all three ethnicities as "enemy aliens" and subjected then to numerous restrictions, including arrest, internment, expulsion from certain areas, curfews, identification cards, loss of employment, and restrictions on travel and property. Four decades after the war, Congress decided to compensate persons of Japanese descent who had been "deprived of ...


A Race Or A Nation? Cherokee National Identity And The Status Of Freedmen's Descendants, S. Alan Ray Jan 2007

A Race Or A Nation? Cherokee National Identity And The Status Of Freedmen's Descendants, S. Alan Ray

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article examines the Cherokee Freedmen controversy to assess whether law and biology can function as sufficient models for crafting Cherokee identity at this crucial moment in the tribe's history. The author will argue that while law and biology are historically powerful frames for establishing tribal self-identity, they are inadequate to the task of determining who should enjoy national citizenship. The wise use of sovereignty, the author suggests, lies in creating a process of sustained dialogical engagement among all stakeholders in the definition of Cherokee citizenship on the question of Cherokee identity. This dialogue should ideally have been undertaken ...


We Need Inquire Further: Normative Sterotypes, Hasidic Jews, And The Civil Rights Act Of 1866, William Kaplowitz Jan 2007

We Need Inquire Further: Normative Sterotypes, Hasidic Jews, And The Civil Rights Act Of 1866, William Kaplowitz

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

According to modern Supreme Court opinions, The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits only "discrimination [against members of protected groups] solely because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics." The Court refers to this type of discrimination as 'racial animus.' In the 1987 case Shaare Tefila Congregation v. CobbJews were recognized as a protected ethnic group under these statutes, but the Supreme Court also reaffirmed that The Civil Rights Act only prohibits 'ethnic' or 'ancestral' discrimination. The Act does not encompass religious discrimination. Yet, despite the Supreme Court's rulings, the district courts held that both Rabbi LeBlanc-Sternberg's and Mr ...


Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran Jan 2006

Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Perhaps no other crime in American history has shocked the conscience of America like the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In May of 2002- almost thirty-nine years after the bombing- Bobby Frank Cherry was brought to trial for the murders of Addie, Carole, Cynthia, and Denise. He was the last person to be tried for the bombing. As an Assistant United States Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama it was my privilege to be a part of the prosecution team that brought Cherry to justice. This Article tells the story of that prosecution and explores the ...


Individual Aboriginal Rights, John W. Ragsdale Jr. Jan 2004

Individual Aboriginal Rights, John W. Ragsdale Jr.

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article will, in Section I, deal with the legal development of the concept of individual aboriginal rights. It will focus on the Western Shoshone land claims before the Indian Claims Commission, and the federal government's trespass claims against the ranching operations of the redoubtable, irrepressible Dann sisters. Section II will explore the development and utilization of the doctrine of individual aboriginal rights in a series of cases involving the Dann sisters, subsequent Western Shoshone, and other efforts by native people to secure subsistence hunting and fishing rights and possession of or access to sacred sites. Section III will ...


Obligations Impaired: Justice Jonathan Jasper Wright And The Failure Of Reconstruction In South Carolina, Caleb A. Jaffe Jan 2003

Obligations Impaired: Justice Jonathan Jasper Wright And The Failure Of Reconstruction In South Carolina, Caleb A. Jaffe

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part I of this article, on the historiography of South Carolina Reconstruction, explains the difficulty scholars have had in uncovering the documentary history of Reconstruction, and outlines the development of historical interpretations of Reconstruction from the Nineteenth century Redeemer-era accounts to the revisionists of the 1970's. Part II provides brief biographies of both Justice Wright and William James Whipper. Parts III and IV track the different approaches of Whipper and Wright on two vital issues of their day: (1) whether to repudiate all private debts relating to slavery; and (2) how to construct a homestead law to protect cash-poor ...


The Promise Of A Post-Genocide Constitution: Healing Rwandan Spirit Injuries, Adrien Katherine Wing, Mark Richard Johnson Jan 2002

The Promise Of A Post-Genocide Constitution: Healing Rwandan Spirit Injuries, Adrien Katherine Wing, Mark Richard Johnson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article hopes to extend Critical Race Theory's social construction of race theory by emphasizing ethnicity as well as race. The Rwandans are undoubtedly within the so-called "Black race." Historically, they have also been socially constructed as consisting of different races and ethnicities, even though many scholars and Rwandans do not see ethnic, much less racial, distinctions. Some of these Rwandans who did see such differences participated in the genocide.


Not Because They Are Brown, But Because Of Ea*: Why The Good Guys Lost In Rice V. Cayetano, And Why They Didn't Have To Lose, Gavin Clarkson Jan 2002

Not Because They Are Brown, But Because Of Ea*: Why The Good Guys Lost In Rice V. Cayetano, And Why They Didn't Have To Lose, Gavin Clarkson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part II of this Article therefore reviews the history of Native Hawaiians in the broader context of the history of federal Indian law, focusing on the vacillating congressional policies regarding Indians and how those policies almost always treated Indian tribes as political entities rather than ethnic communities. Part III reviews and analyzes the procedural history of the Rice case and its resolution by the Supreme Court. Part IV concludes with the argument that constitutionally-permissible alternative methodologies exist for accomplishing the same objective of self-determination for Native Hawaiians


Blood Will Tell: Scientific Racism And The Legal Prohibitions Against Miscegenation, Keith E. Sealing Jan 2000

Blood Will Tell: Scientific Racism And The Legal Prohibitions Against Miscegenation, Keith E. Sealing

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This article first examines the miscegenation paradigm in terms of a seven-point conceptual framework that not merely allowed but practically demanded anti-miscegenation laws, then looks at the legal arguments state courts used to justify the constitutionality of such laws through 1967. Next, it analyzes the Biblical argument, which in its own right justified miscegenation, but also had a major influence on the development of the three major strands of scientific racism: monogenism, polygenism and Darwinian theory. It then probes the concept upon which the entire edifice is constructed-race--and discusses the continuing vitality of this construct. Next, this article turns to ...


Puerto Rico: Cultural Nation, American Colony, Pedro A. Malavet Jan 2000

Puerto Rico: Cultural Nation, American Colony, Pedro A. Malavet

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article articulates a theory of Puerto Rican cultural nationhood that is largely based on ethnicity. In linking ethnicity and citizenship, it is imperative, however, to avoid the evils of ethnic strife and balkanization, while celebrating rather than imposing difference; community consciousness cannot degenerate into fascism.


Can Money Whiten? Exploring Race Practice In Colonial Venezuela And Its Implications For Contemporary Race Discourse, Estelle T. Lau Jan 1998

Can Money Whiten? Exploring Race Practice In Colonial Venezuela And Its Implications For Contemporary Race Discourse, Estelle T. Lau

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The Gracias al Sacar, a fascinating and seemingly inconceivable practice in eighteenth century colonial Venezuela, allowed certain individuals of mixed Black and White ancestry to purchase "Whiteness" from their King. The author exposes the irony of this system, developed in a society obsessed with "natural" ordering that labeled individuals according to their precise racial ancestry. While recognizing that the Gracias al Sacar provided opportunities for advancement and an avenue for material and social struggle, the author argues that it also justified the persistence of racial hierarchy. The Article concludes that the Gracias al Sacar, along with their present-day implications, undermine ...


Chicana/Chicano Land Tenure In The Agrarian Domain: On The Edge Of A "Naked Knife", Guadalupe T. Lunda Jan 1998

Chicana/Chicano Land Tenure In The Agrarian Domain: On The Edge Of A "Naked Knife", Guadalupe T. Lunda

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Neither sovereignty nor property rights could forestall American geopolitical expansion in the first half of the nineteenth century. The conflicts that resulted from this clash of doctrine with desire are perhaps most evident in the history of the Chicanas/Chicanos of Texas, California, and the Southwest, who sought to maintain their land and property, as guaranteed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in the aftermath of the U.S.- Mexico War. Integrating an exploration of case law with political and social histories of the period, the Author explores the sociolegal significance of Chicana/Chicano land dispossession; exposes the racial, economic ...


In Sisterhood, Lisa C. Ikemoto Jan 1997

In Sisterhood, Lisa C. Ikemoto

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

A review of Where Is Your Body? by Mari Matsuda