Oren Baker-Helbok (Author photograph) New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1996. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. xii, 564 pages. DJ has slight wear and soiling. Foreword, Illustrations, Afterword, Sources and Bibliography (with 7 subelements), Source Notes, Table of Cases, and Index. Inscribed by the author on the fep--"Irv, Don't let the Ox-fordians get you down. Best Wishes. Liva." Liva Baker (1930-2007) was a freelance writer and author of numerous books related to legal history. Her books included biographies of Supreme Court justices Felix Frankfurter and Oliver Wendell Holmes, as well as works on the topics of women's education, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda decision, and the desegregation of public schools in New Orleans, Louisiana. Florence Olivia Baker, known as Liva, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in English from Smith College in 1953 and a M.A. degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1955. After a brief stint with New York Newsday, Baker moved to Washington, DC, where and joined the staff of National Geographic magazine. She left the magazine in 1965, and her first book, a children’s book about world religions, was published two years later. In 1969, Baker's biography of Supreme Court Felix Frankfurter was published, which was followed by a book about the legacy women's colleges in the United States, I'm Radcliffe! Fly Me!: The Seven Sisters and the Failure of Women's Education (1976). Baker’s other books on U.S. legal history included Miranda: Crime, Law and Politics, The Justice From Beacon Hill: The Life and Times of Oliver Wendell Holmes and The Second Battle of New Orleans: The Hundred-Year Struggle to Integrate the Schools. Derived from a Kirkus review: A first-rate case study of the endless struggle for black equality. Baker portrays the experience of New Orleans as a microcosm of the war over desegregating public schools that should have ended in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education but quite painfully did not. She delineates the city's complex racial dynamics from the antebellum period through the 1960s, showing how the window of promise that Reconstruction opened for blacks was slammed shut in 1896, when the Supreme Court held in Plessy v. Ferguson that Louisiana could pursue the creation of ``separate but equal'' public facilities. The heart of the story is the decades-long war in the courts and the streets that finally led to the end of legal segregation in the city's public schools, only to be followed by the de facto segregation created by ``white flight'' to private schools and the suburbs. Like most good history, this book is character-driven; it demonstrates that events are the product, not simply of impersonal forces, but of individuals facing specific challenges. These include J. Skelly Wright, the white federal judge who issued order after order to implement the Brown decision in his native New Orleans and consequently endured years of vicious attacks; black lawyer A.P. Tureaud, who strove tirelessly for the equal justice promised by the Constitution; and Leander Perez, the racist mastermind of white Louisiana's resistance. Despite the ultimate legal victory of those who sought to enforce Brown, the ``Second Battle'' of New Orleans is a tragedy. The city's whites, like those throughout the South in the 1950s and '60s, clung tenaciously and often violently to their system of racial superiority, and the city's economic and social elites only exercised the leadership necessary to bring the battle to an end when it proved bad for business. A vigorous, thorough work. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: Racism, New Orleans, Desegregation, Skelly Wright, Tureaud, Leander Perez, Dixiecrats, Fourteenth Amendment, Earl Long, Thurgood Marshall, Delesseps Morrison, NAACP, William Rainach, Lloyd Rittiner, States' rights, Supreme Court, Voting Rights, White