Category Archives: Race and the Law

Remote Resources for Anti-Racism


Nishaun T. Battle, From Slavery to Jane Crow to Say Her Name: An Intersectional Examination of Black Women and Punishment, 15 Meridians 109 (2016).

Juliet Hooker, Black Lives Matter and the Paradoxes of U.S. Black Politics,  44 Political Theory 448 (2016).


Christopher J. Lebron, The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea (2017).


Brittney Cooper & Treva B. Lindsey, M4BL and the Critical Matter of Black Lives,  41 Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 731 (2018).

Vanessa Williamson, Kris-Stella Trump & Katherine Levine Einstein, Black Lives Matter: Evidence that Police-Caused Deaths Predict Protest Activity, 16 Perspectives on Politics 400 (2018).


Megan Ming Francis, The Price of Civil Rights: Black Lives, White Funding, and Movement Capture,  53 Law & Society Review 275 (2019).

Alcinda Manuel Honwana, Youth Struggles: From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter & Beyond, 62 African Studies Review 8 (2019).

Memory Hold the Door 2019

“During fall law school orientation, a few biographies from Memory Hold The Door are cited to highlight the professional virtues that law students and lawyers should cultivate. In addition, the Law Library curates a display that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of the highlighted honorees.”

This year, the display honors:

  • a lawyer who helped found both the American Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association in the 19th century;
  • a lawyer with a pivotal role in the 20th-century civil rights movement, who later became South Carolina’s first African-American federal judge; and
  • the City of Columbia’s first woman municipal judge, who later served in both Afghanistan and Azerbaijan helping develop emerging legal systems.

To learn more about these honorees, watch for future blog posts, or simply visit the display in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room on the second floor of the Law Library.

“To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education.” John Buchan, Memory Hold-the-Door 35 (1940).






Researching Slavery on HeinOnline

cover of Southern Slavery and the Law 1619-1860 by Thomas D. Morris, one of the UNC Press e-books available free through the HeinOnline collection

Anyone who is conducting research on the topic of slavery may benefit from the HeinOnline collection, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law, edited by Paul Finkelman.

HeinOnline has made this collection free, including for individuals who are not affiliated with any library.

The collection contains:

  • every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery,
  • every federal statute dealing with slavery,
  • all reported state and federal cases on slavery,
  • every English-language legal commentary on slavery published before 1920,
  • more than a thousand pamphlets and books on slavery from the 19th century,
  • word-searchable access to all Congressional debates from the Continental Congress to 1880,
  • many modern histories of slavery and modern law review articles on the subject, and more.

Abolition Documents: Principles and Measures: Declaration of the Convention of Radical Political Abolitionists, at Syracuse, June 26th, 27th, and 28th, 1855, one of many documents in the HeinOnline collection

Much of the non-legal material in the collection is based on the holdings of the Buffalo Public Library. Its rare book collection contains hundreds of nineteenth century pamphlets and books on slavery. The Buffalo Public Library’s staff helped make HeinOnline’s project possible.

See the collection’s home page for more details about the contents and how to navigate the collection.

Images: Documents of Richard T. Greener

Today is the last day to view the Documents of Richard T. Greener in the law library’s Legal History Room.

We are placing digital images of the photos and documents below, so that those who did not get a chance to see the exhibit in person can view these items online.

For context, please see our earlier blog post, Exhibit: Documents of Richard T. Greener and the brief biography of Greener by Dr. Michael Mounter of the law library.

Click on an image below to view it at full size.

Richard T. Greener, portrait by Larry Lebby

Richard T. Greener’s 1876 USC Law diploma, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

faculty duplex where Greener lived, now Lieber College, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Greener’s 1876 SC law license, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Exam given by Greener on the Constitution, June 1875, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Greener’s 1877 resignation letter from USC, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Exhibit: Documents of Richard T. Greener

Richard T. Greener, portrait by Larry Lebby

Exhibit: Documents of Richard T. Greener, an Early African-American Lawyer in South Carolina is on display in the law library, now through March 30.

Richard Theodore Greener graduated from USC Law School in 1876. His diploma, written in Latin, with a red wax seal, is on exhibit.

Greener was admitted to the South Carolina Bar that same year. His law license signed by the justices of the SC Supreme Court (only three of them at the time), is also on exhibit.

Greener’s 1876 USC Law diploma, courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Greener was the first African-American professor at USC. A photo of his living quarters is on exhibit. If you’ve been to the USC Horseshoe, it will look familiar.

Among other subjects, he taught constitutional history. What would that have been like, in the 1870’s, to learn from him about a constitution so recently amended? An exam he gave on the constitution is on exhibit, and it does not look easy.

Greener resigned from the university in 1877, when the Reconstruction Era ended, and USC became an all-white institution until desegregation in 1963. His handwritten letter of resignation, a model of 19th century professionalism, is on exhibit.

We are so fortunate that the university has these documents. The diploma and law license were discovered when construction workers in Chicago (where Greener lived toward the end of his life) were clearing out a vacant house before demolition. One worker was curious enough to look in an abandoned steamer trunk, and thought the documents inside might have some value. Indeed, Greener’s law diploma in particular is the “holy grail of university history” according to university archivist Elizabeth West. Prior to its discovery, the university did not have a diploma from any of the African-American graduates during Reconstruction.

Ask at the law library’s Circulation Desk (enter the law school on Gervais Street between Bull and Pickens; once inside, turn right) for your chance to see these documents before they are returned to the university’s vault March 30.

This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Summer Reading

Do you have time to read a little for pleasure before school starts?

Check out the bestsellers in our popular collection, on the first floor between the public computers and the stairwell. These six are just a sample of the light reading we have to offer.

We’ve included the publishers’ synopses below.

Paradise Valley by C.J. Box

She almost caught him once. Now, he’s back.

For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as the Lizard King whose hunting grounds are the highways and truck stops where runaways and prostitutes are most likely to vanish. Cassie almost caught him…once.

Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff’s department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls on Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.

At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared after telling people that he’s going off on a long-planned adventure. Kyle’s grandmother begs Cassie to find him and, with nothing else to do, Cassie agrees—all the while hunting the truck driver.

Now Cassie is a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle’s disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?

The Power of Broke by Daymond John

The instant New York Times bestseller from Shark Tank star and Fubu Founder Daymond John on why starting a business on a limited budget can be an entrepreneur’s greatest competitive advantage.

Daymond John has been practicing the power of broke ever since he started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens. With a $40 budget, Daymond had to strategize out-of-the-box ways to promote his products. Luckily, desperation breeds innovation, and so he hatched an idea for a creative campaign that eventually launched the FUBU brand into a $6 billion dollar global phenomenon.  But it might not have happened if he hadn’t started out broke – with nothing but hope and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.

Here, the FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank shows that, far from being a liability, broke can actually be your greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. Why?  Because starting a business from broke forces you to think more creatively.  It forces you to use your resources more efficiently. It forces you to connect with your customers more authentically, and market your ideas more imaginatively. It forces you to be true to yourself, stay laser focused on your goals, and come up with those innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark.

Drawing his own experiences as an entrepreneur and branding consultant, peeks behind-the scenes from the set of Shark Tank, and stories of dozens of other entrepreneurs who have hustled their way to wealth, John shows how we can all leverage the power of broke to phenomenal success. You’ll meet:

· Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music (EDM) deejay who managed to parlay a series of $100 gigs into becoming a global superstar who has redefined the music industry
· Gigi Butler, a cleaning lady from Nashville who built cupcake empire on the back of a family  recipe, her maxed out credit cards, and a heaping dose of faith
· 11-year old Shark Tank guest Mo Bridges who stitched together a winning clothing line with just his grandma’s sewing machine, a stash of loose fabric, and his unique sartorial flair

When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option. Here you’ll learn how to tap into that Power of Broke to scrape, hustle, and dream your way to the top.

Eyes Wide Open by Isaac Lidsky

In this New York Times bestseller, Isaac Lidsky draws on his experience of achieving immense success, joy, and fulfillment while losing his sight to a blinding disease to show us that it isn’t external circumstances, but how we perceive and respond to them, that governs our reality.

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight entirely by the time he was twenty-five, he initially thought that blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. Paradoxically, losing his sight gave him the vision to take responsibility for his reality and thrive. Lidsky graduated from Harvard College at age nineteen, served as a Supreme Court law clerk, fathered four children, and turned a failing construction subcontractor into a highly profitable business.

Whether we’re blind or not, our vision is limited by our past experiences, biases, and emotions. Lidsky shows us how we can overcome paralyzing fears, avoid falling prey to our own assumptions and faulty leaps of logic, silence our inner critic, harness our strength, and live with open hearts and minds. In sharing his hard-won insights, Lidsky shows us how we too can confront life’s trials with initiative, humor, and grace.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States” (The New York Times Book Review).

In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.

All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures through the lens of the unmarried American woman.

Electronic Fourth of July

The library is closed Tuesday, July 4 for the national holiday.
Meanwhile, our electronic resources are still available to current law students, 2017 graduates, and law faculty.
For example, the book American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence, edited by Justin Buckley Dyer, is available in electronic format. It contains materials relating to the Declaration of Independence, from Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft, to speeches by Frederick Douglass, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and more.
To include this e-book in your Fourth of July reading:
  • Find it in our catalog, which is searchable on our homepage, For example, you could type in the search terms “American Soul” and press Enter, then click on the title.
  • Under the words “Connect to:” click the link that says “USC All libraries from EBSCOhost.”
  • Click the link that says “USC School of Law.”
  • You can browse the Table of Contents or view the whole book as a PDF, among other options.
We wish everyone a thoughtful and well-researched Fourth of July.

Let’s Talk: Justice – Bryan Stevenson and Richland Library

just-mercy-collageAt 6 pm on Thursday, November 17, Bryan Stevenson will speak at The Township Auditorium in Columbia.

Mr. Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer; founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and a clinical professor at NYU School of Law.

Richland Library invites the public to a series of forums and book groups, and a film screening prior to Mr. Stevenson’s scheduled visit to Columbia.