With these interviews I have tried to capture a very small slice of the social reality of ordinary African-Americans with regard to legal education at a formerly segregated, still overwhelmingly white, University, and their role in providing access to legal services to ordinary African-Americans in the first decades after desegregation. We know, given the grossly disproportionate number of African-American men whom our society incarcerates, in what amounts in my mind to a form of de facto slavery and reflects our society's deep-seated paranoia about black men generally, that our legal system remains today, nearly fifty years after major civil rights legislation, deeply hostile to the interests of African-Americans as a class. It requires little imagination to infer the immeasurably greater hostility of a legal system under the control of overtly and unrepentantly racist judges and attorneys. William Randall, now a judge in Macon, Georgia, asserts that he knows of a situation in which a white attorney stated in open court, "this nigger's guilty," regarding an African-American criminal defendant whom he was supposedly representing. Blatant racism aside, this incident also manifestly involved an egregious failure of that attorney to abide by the most elementary principle of an attorney's professional responsibility, to provide the most vigorous and effective possible representation to one's client. Thus we see that, in addition to being inherently grossly immoral, racism also has the undesirable effect of undermining adherence to other, facially unrelated principles that we should hold dear.
William B. Turner,
Of Turkey Tetrazzini and George Wallace Buttons: The Experiences of the First Cohort of Africanamericans to Attend a Newly Desegregated Law School,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V16.I4.5