Interview with A. Leon Higginbotham [videorecording] June 6, 1987.
by William Elwood,
- Video; DVD
- Disc 148. Judge Higginbotham asserts that the United States Constitution was not revelant to African Americans when it was written except to further enslave them. Judge Higginbotham offers a legal history of the colonies and slavery. Slavery was not codified until 1660, Virginia was the mother of slavery, and Virginia law in the early 1800s made it illegal to teach African Americans to read and write. Judge Higginbotham talks about Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, Judge Ruffin, and how America's success was only possible via slave labor. Disc 149. Judge Higginbotham's history lesson continues. The 14th amendment was intended to take racism out of American society via due process, but it became the primary instrument to help corporations and everyone else but African Americans. Plessy v. Ferguson codified the separate but equal doctrine, which extended discrimination from trains to just about everywhere else, as the Supreme Court had said it was "reasonable" to do so. The warped interpretation of the 14th amendment impacted women as well. The US Constitution was also originally meaningless to women. Higginbotham discusses Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy. Disc 150. Judge Higginbotham explains that Brown v. Board of Education was brought about by earlier cases. Brown was the ninth inning victory compared to all the work that had gone before in civil rights, including Gaines v. Missouri, Sweatt v. Painter, and McLaurin v. Oklahoma. Higginbotham discusses Collins Seitz, first state judge to order desegregation of a school. He also talks about Charles Hamilton Houston, William Hastie, Thurgood Marshall, and Howard University Law School. Disc 151. Judge Higginbotham recalls the Marian Anderson incident in Philadelphia in 1939. He also discusses the extension of legal strategy in civil rights cases beyond education into employment and voting rights, as in Smith v. Allwright. Higginbotham details the extensive pattern of violence in the South and the manipulation of the voter registration process. For example, registrars would ask African Americans for absurd qualification information, such as the number of gallons of water in the ocean. Judge Higginbotham recalls cases about labor unions, railways, housing rights, restrictive covenants in the 1940s, and fair housing in 1968. Disc 152. Judge Higginbotham's advice to young people: don't try to save the entire world, try to save the people next to you. Higginbotham discusses Powell v. Alabama, the Scottsboro case, Brown v. Mississippi, and John W. Davis.
- Release Date
- Run Time
- 60 min.
- Source footage for the documentary, The road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow" (California Newsreel, 1990), about the life of Charles Hamilton Houston, his crusade for civil rights, and the events that led to "Brown vs. the Board of Education," the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared the 'separate but equal' doctrine illegal.
- Title supplied by cataloger.
- "University of Virginia William Elwood Archival Conversions"--disc label.
- Variant title
- Disc label:
- 148 Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr.
- 149 Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr.
- 150 Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr.
- 151 Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr.
- 152 Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr.
- Related title
- Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
- Cincinatti, Ohio :The PPS Group,2006.
- Recording information
- Recorded at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- 5 videodiscs (85 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
- Technical details