An automobile accident in New York City, Jan. 8, 1972.

Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It

The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.
Anti-busing parents march in South Boston on Oct. 4, 1974, along with students in protest of African American students being bused into the South Boston school district.

It Was Never About Busing

Court-ordered desegregation worked. But white racism made it hard to accept.
Officers of the National Woman's Party in Washington, D.C., June 1920, as they seek support for the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.

The Imperfect, Unfinished Work of Women’s Suffrage

A century after the 19th Amendment, it’s worth remembering why suffragists fought so hard, and who was fighting against them.
Dorothy Cotton in Citizenship Education Program in Alabama, 1966.

The Civil Rights Activist So Close to Martin Luther King Jr. She Was Thought of as His ‘Other Wife'

According to the recent discoveries, civil rights activist, Dorothy Cotton, and King had a close romantic relationship.
Public ledger, Mrs. Maude R. Rymex, marriage license clerk on April 9, 1937.

A Bureaucratic Prologue to Same-Sex Marriage

The weddings made possible by local government and broad legal language.
Attorney Samuel Leibowitz stands in his office in New York with four of the

The Socialist Origins of Public Defense

The right to public defense wasn’t granted by elites. It was won by socialist-led mass movements.
Tents are seen through a hole in the tarp that covers the fence of the Tornillo detention camp for migrant teens in Tornillo, Texas, Dec. 13, 2018.

A Crime by Any Name

The Trump administration’s commitment to deterring immigration through cruelty has made horrifying conditions in there inevitable.
Parade attendees remove their caps and place their hands over their hearts during the playing of the national anthem at a parade in Brownsville, Texas, July 4, 2019.

What to an American Is the Fourth of July?

Power comes before freedom, not the other way around.

Before the Central Park Five, There Was the Trenton Six

In both cases, false confessions were used against a group of black men with only precarious links to one another.

What Are These Civil Rights Laws?

The context and aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to kill the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
Supreme Court is seen under stormy skies in Washington, June 20, 2019.

The Supreme Court Is in Danger of Again Becoming ‘the Grave of Liberty’

Supreme Court decisions have practical consequences, which justices too often blithely ignore.
Illustration from Psychopathology by Edward Kempf (C.V. Mosby Company: St. Louis, 1920).

The Theory That Justified Anti-Gay Crime

Fifty years after Stonewall, the gay-panic defense seems absurd. But, for decades, it had the power of law.