Author: Virginia Law Review


The Lost Promise of Civil Rights



The Lost Promise of Civil Rights. By Risa L. Goluboff. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 2007.

In Brief, the online companion to the Virginia Law Review, today posted a book excerpt from The Lost Promise of Civil Rights, by Virginia Law Professor Risa L. Goluboff.

Professor Goluboff argues that Brown v. Board of Education left “much of Jim Crow . . . unchallenged.” This resulted from “lawyers’ strategic litigation choices about which cases to pursue and which to avoid, which harms to emphasize and which to ignore, which constituencies to address and which to disregard.” Professor Goluboff thus “suggests that by uncovering historical alternatives to the civil rights law we know as our own, we can broaden our imagination about the possibilities for addressing the remnants of Jim Crow still facing the nation today.”

The book, published recently by Harvard University Press, has already received significant acclaim. Harvard Law Professor Mark Tushnet writes that The Lost Promise of Civil Rights “offers readers a brilliant reconceptualization of civil rights litigation.” Penn History Professor Thomas Sugrue calls the book “original, provocative, and persuasive.”

Professor Goluboff’s book will also be the subject of a Book Review by NYU Professor Derrick Bell in Volume 94 of the Virginia Law Review. The Book Review is scheduled to run in March 2008.

The excerpt is available on the In Brief site. [PDF]