Answering the Call: An Autobiography of the Modern Struggle to End Racial Discrimination in America

Nathaniel R. Jones. New Press (Perseus, dist.), $35 (432p) ISBN 978-1-62097-075-1
Jones, who retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, in 2002, offers a forthright and revealing memoir of serving as a judge and lawyer on the front lines of the civil rights era. In the 1960s, he served as deputy general counsel on the Kerner Commission, formed by President Johnson to study civil disorder, and argued for greater compassion for protesters condemned as “rioters.” In his role as NAACP general counsel, he coordinated the defense of school desegregation initiatives during the 1970s, and as a judge on the Court of Appeals, he insisted on hiring African-American law clerks. In a work rich in context and analysis, he covers a variety of topics, including Obama’s election and the myth of a post-racial America, serving in the segregated WWII-era military, the Scottsboro Boys, and the appointment of Clarence Thomas, whom he considers one of history’s “most colossal double-crossers.” He also writes that the champions of states’ rights have managed to “reinstate a variety of once-outlawed Jim Crow tactics” to disqualify minorities and suppress their votes. This careful, considered debut highlights a life committed to justice and to the principle that the law is the “inescapable route” to attaining equality. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 322 pages - 978-1-62097-071-3
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