Aoki Center Presents: Bill Wiecek "U.S. Supreme Court & African Americans, 1800-2000" _2/4/2020

U.S. Supreme Court & African Americans, 1800-2000 Professor William Wiecek Tuesday, February 4th Noon - 1:00 PM This study in progress offers a modern comprehensive historical overview of the role of the United States Supreme Court in cases involving freedom and enslavement, race and racism, emancipation, Jim Crow, discrimination, and equality. The Court’s treatment of questions of slavery, freedom, race, and discrimination is best understood in the context of evolving structures of racial inequality. In the era of Slavery, 1619-1776-1865, racial inequality in America was absolute. In the words of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott Case (1857), African Americans, whether enslaved or free, were “a subordinate and inferior class of beings” who “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In the succeeding era, called Servitude, 1865-1954, black citizens were subjected to a regime of nominal freedom and equality, but the underlying social reality was discrimination, disfranchisement, and subordination at times little better than slavery. Servitude was followed by a period I call Structural Racism, 1954 to the present, where racial inequality persists as a part of the structures and institutions of American society, nominally repudiated but an inescapable reality for millions of American citizens. Professor William Wiecek practiced law in New Hampshire and taught legal and constitutional history at the University of Missouri-Columbia for 16 years before joining Syracuse University College of Law, where he taught for over 25 years. At Syracuse University College of Law, Wiecek held the Congdon Chair in Public Law and Legislation. He has written or edited ten books, as well as over forty articles and chapters, on slavery and its abolition, republicanism, nineteenth-century constitutional development, and the United States Supreme Court. He has taught courses in constitutional law, property, race and law, legal and constitutional history, corporations, civil procedure, and Roman law. Professor Wiecek has taught as a visiting professor of law at the law schools of the University of Kentucky, Arizona State University, UC Davis, and Pacific-McGeorge. Professor Wiecek received a B.A. from Catholic University, an LL.B. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.