A Matter of Law

A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights

A major new memoir by the man who argued Brown v. Board

As chief legal assistant to Thurgood Marshall and, later, as General Counsel to the NAACP, Robert L. Carter played a central role in crafting the legal strategy for the pivotal cases of the civil rights era—arguing and winning over twenty pivotal cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board, with Thurgood Marshall. A Matter of Law is the extraordinary story of Carter’s struggle for equal rights for all Americans.

Carter’s history with the NAACP during its pivotal years (1945–1968) is at the center of this memoir, which offers a rare personal account of how the legal campaign in Brown was mounted. In the aftermath of Brown, Carter turned his attention to broadening the application of Brown to challenge racial inequality in Northern schools. His account of the NAACP’s efforts to expose the pervasive nature of school segregation in the North brings this history to the forefront for the first time—and is essential to any discussion of the limitations of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Carter’s post–NAACP career enabled him to participate in and reflect on the fight for racial justice from a variety of vantage points, most recently as a federal district judge in New York. He brings a fresh and critical perspective to bear on the long-term consequences of the civil rights movement and the need for new and innovative approaches to the continuing struggle for racial justice in America.

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