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Unpunished Murder by Lawrence GoldstoneUnpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Search for Justice

From the publisher:

"On Easter Sunday of 1873, just eight years after the Civil War ended, a band of white supremacists marched into Grant Parish, Louisiana, and massacred over one hundred unarmed African Americans. The court case that followed reached the highest court in the land. Yet, following one of the most ghastly incidents of mass murder in American history, not one person was convicted.

The opinion issued by the Supreme Court in US v. Cruikshank set in motion a process that would help create a society in which black Americans were oppressed and denied basic human rights—legally, according to the courts. These injustices paved the way for Jim Crow and would last for the next hundred years. Many continue to exist to this day.

In this compelling and thoroughly researched volume for young readers, Lawrence Goldstone traces the evolution of the law and the fascinating characters involved in the story of how the Supreme Court helped institutionalize racism in the American justice system."

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"This information-packed book discusses the origins and repercussions of the Colfax Massacre… a gripping story and a well-informed perspective on American history. Spotlighting an event seldom discussed in books for young people, Goldstone provides a complex, useful historical context for understanding issues surrounding race and justice." —Booklist (Starred Review)

"Goldstone traces several important ideas through the early history of the United States: the growth in influence of the Supreme Court after John Marshall introduced the concept of judicial review; the uneasy balance of power between state and federal governments; and the racism written into the Constitution as the 'Three-Fifths Compromise' and subsequently espoused by America's leading politicians and judges… in large part, the story of how racism evolves, persisting in laws and politics despite major social advances." —Jonathan Hunt, The Horn Book (Starred Review)

"Shines a light on a shameful sea change moment in U.S. history… readers will come away with a thorough understanding of the Colfax massacre and its place in America's past and present. Difficult and necessary." —Kirkus Reviews

"Read this book. Read it to your kids, to your class. Start a conversation.” —Rainy Book Reviews 

"Unpunished Murder is timely and relevant. The consequences of what occurred in Colfax and similar events can still be felt today.  Its chief strength is Goldstone’s meticulous and thorough research. Even those familiar with the events that occurred at Colfax may discover new information. The text is supported with vintage primary resources- documents, newspaper articles, cartoons, illustrations, photos, artwork, etc.  In addition to learning more about the events that occurred at Colfax, this fine work of non-fiction will introduce and reinforce for teen readers the ways in which government works, lessons from our history, the impact that our history has on the present, the importance of quality research, and more."  —Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE.

 

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© Lawrence Goldstone.