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Historian Wil Haygood, best known for his groundbreaking look behind the scenes at the White House in "The Butler," now highlights the life and legacy of the key legal mind of the Civil Rights movement in Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America.
Thurgood Marshall arguably changed our nation's legal system more before he even joined the Supreme Court than when he served on it. He brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated public schools, and fought for human rights and human dignity. "Showdown" is an important new work that details the life and career of one of the most transformative legal minds of the past one hundred years.
Haygood uses the framework of the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm Marshall as the country's first African-American Supreme Court justice, to study not only Marshall's life and legacy, but also the numerous politicians, lawyers, activists, and others who shaped--or desperately tried to stop--the 20-century civil rights movement, including President Lyndon Johnson; Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., whose scandals almost cost Marshall the Supreme Court judgeship; Harry and Harriette Moore, the Florida NAACP workers killed by the KKK; Justice J. Waties Waring, a racist lawyer from South Carolina, who, after being appointed to the federal court, became such a champion of civil rights that he was forced to flee the South; John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy; Senator Strom Thurmond, the renowned racist from South Carolina, who had a secret black mistress and child; and Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who stated that segregation was "the law of nature, the law of God".
Haygood is currently a Visiting Distinguished Professor in the department of media, journalism, and film at Miami University, Ohio. For nearly three decades he was a journalist, serving as a national and foreign correspondent at The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and then at The Washington Post. "The Butler: A Witness to History" was the basis for the award winning film "The Butler". His biographies of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson have also garnered wide acclaim.
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