100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Robert Mack Bell

Robert Mack Bell

A Civil Rights Success Story

“I Also [Knew] that I … was Not Going to Get up and Leave”

Bell v. Maryland

378 U.S. 226 (1964)

In 1960 Robert Mack Bell, a black high school student, was arrested after a sit-in at a segregated Baltimore restaurant. The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, upheld Bell's trespass conviction. One of the lawyers who argued in favor of that conviction, Robert C. Murphy, went on to become chief judge of the Maryland court. Three decades later, in 1996, Bell replaced Murphy as chief judge, becoming the first African American ever to hold that post. At the center of this remarkable turn of events is a man whose life transcends, in many ways, the Supreme Court ...

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