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.

Clarence Norris

Clarence Norris

Racism in the Depression South

“If there is a God He forgot about Me”

Powell v. Alabama

287 U.S. 45 (1932)

Norris v. Alabama

294 U.S. 587 (1935)

On the morning of March 25, 1931, a Southern Railroad freight train pulled out of the rail yards of Chattanooga, Tennessee, heading west toward Memphis. Like many other such trains during the Great Depression, this one contained not only its usual complement of assorted cars laden with freight, but also an illicit cargo of impoverished young black and white men and women on the move in search of employment or some nebulous dream of a better life. As the train wound slowly through the hills of northern Alabama, a fight broke out among the unauthorized riders, which resulted in the African ...

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