While bus boycotts, sit-ins, and other acts of civil disobedience were the engine of the civil rights movement, the law provided context for these events. Lawyers played a key role amid profound political and social upheavals, vindicating clients and together challenging white supremacy. Here, in their own voices, twenty-six lawyers reveal the abuses they endured and the barriers they broke as they fought for civil rights.
These eyewitness accounts provide unique windows into some of the most dramatic moments in civil rights history—the 1965 Selma March, the first civil judgment against the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of ballot access for African Americans in Alabama, and the 1968 Democratic Convention. The narratives depict attorney-client relationships extraordinary in their mutual trust and commitment to risk-taking. White and black, male and female, northern- and southern-born, these recruits in the battle for freedom helped shape a critical chapter of American history.