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.

Mack Claude Screws

Mack Claude Screws

Justice in Baker County

“Under Color of Law”

Screws v. United States

325 U.S. 91 (1945)

The trail of violence and litigation that brought this case to the U.S. Supreme Court began in Baker County, Georgia. Mack Claude Screws (b. 1897?) spent his entire life in Baker County, serving as its sheriff for twenty years.

Located in southwestern Georgia, Baker County in 1940 had a population of a little more than seven thousand. Sixty percent of the inhabitants were black, almost all the descendants of slaves. The county, first organized in 1825, was named for a Puritan and Revolutionary War hero, Colonel John Baker. Newton, named for another Revolutionary hero, became the county seat in 1831. Much of the county's early history involved violent Indian removal ...

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