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The Passion of My Times: An Advocate's Fifty-Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement »

Book cover image of The Passion of My Times: An Advocate's Fifty-Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement by William L. Taylor

Authors: William L. Taylor
ISBN-13: 9780786714247, ISBN-10: 0786714247
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Date Published: September 2004
Edition: (Non-applicable)

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Author Biography: William L. Taylor

WILLIAM L. TAYLOR is a graduate of Brooklyn College and the Yale Law School. In the 1960s he served as General Counsel of the United States Commission on Civil Rights where he directed major investigations and research studies that contributed to the enactment of civil rights laws. He founded and directed the Center for National Policy Review, has long been a leader of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and is the Chair of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights. He received the first Thurgood Marshall Award conferred by the District of Columbia Bar in 1993 and in 2001 received the Hubert H. Humphrey Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Book Synopsis

In 1954, William L. Taylor, a recent Yale Law School graduate, joined Thurgood Marshall’s NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he would later write the victorious 1958 Supreme Court brief that forced Little Rock, Arkansas schools to desegregate. In this historic book, Taylor recalls the triumphs, setbacks, and ongoing challenges in the battle for civil rights from his own unique and influential perspective. From the tireless struggle to enforce the desegregation of public schools to recent victories protecting the interests of minority schoolchildren in St. Louis, Taylor has influenced policymakers across the political spectrum. He has written landmark pieces of legislation, lobbied them through Congress, and developed strategies that have led to significant social change. In this inspiring insider’s account, Taylor discusses civil rights policy over the decades, while also chronicling his encounters with presidents, other legislators, his work with civil rights leaders, and his friendships with the people he has met in the movement. The civil rights movement has been the passion of our times since Brown v. Board of Education. The Passion of My Times is a significant contribution to the literature of the movement and one that promises to energize a new generation of activists.

Publishers Weekly

Shortly after his 1954 graduation from Yale Law School, Taylor found his calling: first as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, later as staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1965-1968) and founder of the Center for National Policy Review. His lucid memoir offers an up-close look at the nuts-and-bolts work (collecting data, pushing legislation, securing effective administration of law and policy) behind major moments in the Civil Rights movement and its aftermath. Selma is here, but Senate hearings are more central, as Taylor describes being involved "in big court cases, in major legislative efforts, in planning civil rights strategy, and in persuading people with power or influence to do the right thing." Although there are lively anecdotal touches (Senator Orrin Hatch as "a peculiar amalgam of... Uriah Heep and Ebenezer Scrooge"; U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach provoked into calling Taylor a "cocksucker"), the tone is matter-of-fact. What makes Taylor's book of special value, particularly to historians of the era, is that Taylor neither dramatizes nor romanticizes this work ("We did not establish the conditions that made enactment of the laws possible"), but honors everyone working for change. The movement needed Taylors as well as Kings. Agent, Milly Marmur. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Introduction : a white guy like me
Ch. 1In your case I'll make an exception1
Ch. 2Working for Thurgood and Bob11
Ch. 3A little democracy29
Ch. 4The road to Mississippi, 1963-6555
Ch. 5Triumph and despair79
Ch. 6New beginnings99
Ch. 7Fighting back in the '80s131
Ch. 8Fighting back in the '80s : part II147
Ch. 9The Thomas nomination173
Ch. 10Back to schools179
Ch. 11Beachheads209


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