cover image Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

Mary L. Dudziak, . . Oxford Univ., $24.95 (257pp) ISBN 978-0-19-532901-8

While Marshall is best known for his pivotal role during Brown v. Board of Education and his appointment to the Supreme Court, Dudziak (Cold War Civil Rights ) recovers a nearly buried undertaking, “one of the great adventures of his life”: Marshall's contributions to the Kenyan Bill of Rights. Marshall arrived in London in January 1960; a month later, the Greensboro, N.C., sit-in began, and Marshall found himself “torn between two continents and two movements.” The author effectively sketches those events in the civil rights movement (civil disobedience, urban riots, Black Power) and in Kenya (President Kenyatta's early moderation and subsequent mistreatment of the Asian minority and suppression of opposition) that supported and undermined Marshall's “faith in the law as a vehicle for social change.” The tensions between Marshall's desire for equal rights and Kenyatta's priorities of “sovereignty and national unity” are still heartbreakingly unresolved, as are Marshall's great hope for the “entrenchment in Kenya of the rights he still hoped for in America.” Dudziak's clarity and careful documentation make her book accessible to the general reader and a valuable tool for African and African-American studies. (July)