Robert Samuel Smith - Race, Labor, Civil Rights: Griggs Versus Duke Power and the Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity



Robert Samuel Smith - Race, Labor, Civil Rights: Griggs Versus Duke Power and the Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press | 2008-12 | ISBN: 0807133639 | File type: PDF | 234 pages | 5.06 mb

In 1966, thirteen black employees of the Duke Power Company's Dan River Plant in Draper, North Carolina, filed a lawsuit against the company challenging the requirement of a high school diploma or a passing grade on an intelligence test for internal transfer or promotion. In the groundbreaking decision Griggs v. Duke Power (1971), the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding such employment practices in violation of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they disparately affected minorities, and in doing so delivered a significant anti-employment discrimination verdict. Legal scholars rank Griggs v. Duke Power on par with Brown v. Board of Education (1954) in terms of its importance and impact on eradicating race discrimination from American institutions. In Race, Labor, and Civil Rights, Robert Samuel Smith offers the first full-length historical examination of this important case and its connection to civil rights activism during the second half of the 1960s.
Smith explores all aspects of Griggs, highlighting the sustained energy of the grassroots civil rights community and the critical importance of courtroom activism. After years of nonviolent, direct action protests, Smith shows, African Americans remained vigilant in the 1960s, heading back to the courts to reinvigorate the civil rights acts in an effort to remove the lingering institutional bias left from decades of overt racism. He asserts that alongside the more boisterous expressions of black radicalism of the late sixties, foot soldiers and local leaders of the civil rights communitymany of whom were working-class black southernersmustered ongoing legal efforts to mold Title 7 into meaningful law. Smith also highlights the persistent judicial activism of the NAACP-Legal Defense and Education Fund and the ascension of the second generation of civil rights attorneys.
By exploring the virtually untold story of Griggs v. Duke Power, Smith's enlightening study connects the case and the campaign for equal employment opportunity to the broader civil rights movement and in doing so reveals the civil rights community's continued spirit of legal activism well into the 1970s.


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