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.

William Warley

William Warley

A Leader Ahead of his Time

“All Other Cases will Hinge on Louisville”

Buchanan v. Warley

245 U.S. 60 (1917)

In October 1914 Charles Buchanan, a white realtor, and William Warley, an African American postal employee, began a real estate transaction that eventually led them to the Supreme Court of the United States. Three years earlier, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, located on the Ohio River, the historic border between North and South, had enacted an ordinance prohibiting white property owners from selling property in white neighborhoods to African Americans. Black leaders quickly organized to fight what they viewed as an assault on equal protection and property rights. With the assistance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the city's black leadership organized ...

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