A Radical Notion of Democracy: Law, Race, and Albion Tourgée, 1865-1905

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Friday, November 4, 2011

8:30 AM

6:30 PM

State Library Building and State Capitol Building, Raleigh, NC

"A Radical Notion of Democracy: Law, Race, and Albion Tourgée, 1865-1905" offers a useful intervention into policy debates that stem from the legacy of Reconstruction. A former Union soldier, Tourgée settled in Greensboro in 1865 in hopes of helping to shape the new post-slavery South. A lawyer, judge, novelist, and political activist, Tourgée worked openly for racial equality in the state for thirteen years. His North Carolina legacy lives on in the provisions of our Constitution guaranteeing a free public education, as well as other reforms. Later he achieved national fame for representing Homer Plessy in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the U.S. Supreme Court case that established separate-but-equal facilities as the foundation of de jure segregation.

The program will feature keynote lectures and panel discussions by 10 distinguished scholars of law and history, including Alfred Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law.

  • Special attention will be devoted to Tourgée’s contributions to the Reconstruction Constitution of 1868, including his commitment to the guarantee of equality in public education.
  • The symposium will also consider Tourgée’s national importance as the architect of Homer Plessy’s case: the concept of a "color-blind" Constitution, embraced in the dissent to Plessy v. Ferguson, was Tourgée’s coinage.
Concluding the program will be a performance of Constitutional Tales, given by Anne McColl '91, in the House Chamber of the State Capitol, a live reenactment of scenes from the Constitutional Convention of 1868.

The event is free, but registration is required. Attendees may earn five CLE credits. Go here for more information.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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