Blue laws and Black codes: conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century Virginia

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University of Virginia Press,
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Women were once excluded everywhere from the legal profession, but by the 1990s the Virginia Supreme Court had three women among its seven justices. This is just one example of how law in Virginia has been transformed over the past century, as it has across the South and throughout the nation.

In Blue Laws and Black Codes, Peter Wallenstein shows that laws were often changed not through legislative action or constitutional amendment but by citizens taking cases to state and federal courtrooms. Due largely to court rulings, for example, stores in Virginia are no longer required by "blue laws" to close on Sundays.

Particularly notable was the abolition of segregation laws, modified versions of southern states’ "black codes" dating back to the era of slavery and the first years after emancipation. Virginia’s long road to racial equality under the law included the efforts of black civil rights lawyers to end racial discrimination in the public schools, the 1960 Richmond sit-ins, a case against segregated courtrooms, and a court challenge to a law that could imprison or exile an interracial couple for their marriage.

While emphasizing a single state, Blue Laws and Black Codes is framed in regional and national contexts. Regarding blue laws, Virginia resembled most American states. Regarding racial policy, Virginia was distinctly southern. Wallenstein shows how people pushed for changes in the laws under which they live, love, work, vote, study, and shop—in Virginia, the South, and the nation.

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Grouped Work ID 64b984e8-9ffa-f67e-d78b-7ce9fcfc9548
full_title blue laws and black codes conflict courts and change in twentieth century virginia
author wallenstein peter
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:18AM

Solr Details

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author Wallenstein, Peter.
author-letter Wallenstein, Peter.
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callnumber_sort_arlington VA 340.9755 W197b
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physical xi, 270 p. ; 25 cm.
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publishDate 2004
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publisher University of Virginia Press,
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subject_facet Civil rights -- Virginia -- History, Law -- Virginia -- History, Social change -- Virginia -- History
table_of_contents The case of the laborer from Louisa : conscripts, convicts, and public roads, 1890s-1920s -- Necessity, charity, and a sabbath : citizens, courts, and Sunday closing laws, 1920s-1980s -- These new and strange beings : race, sex, and the legal profession, 1870s-1970s -- The siege against segregation : Black Virginians and the law of civil rights -- To sit or not to sit : scenes in Richmond from the civil rights movement -- Racial identity and the crime of marriage : the view from twentieth-century Virginia -- Power and policy in an American state : federal courts, political rights, and policy outcomes -- From Harry Byrd to Douglas Wilder : gender, race, and judgeships -- Epilogue : Neither blue laws nor Black laws.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Blue laws and Black codes : conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century Virginia
title_display Blue laws and Black codes : conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century Virginia
title_full Blue laws and Black codes : conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century Virginia / Peter Wallenstein
title_short Blue laws and Black codes :
title_sort blue laws and black codes conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century virginia
title_sub conflict, courts, and change in twentieth-century Virginia