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The Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice
Episodes of Racism and Sexism in the Courts from 1865 to the Present
Written by Mary Frances Berry

The Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice
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Category: Law - Civil Rights; Law - Jurisprudence; History - United States
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: April 2000
Price: $14.95
Can. Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-70746-9 (0-375-70746-8)
Pages: 304
Also available as an eBook.



 
From the head of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and noted professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, a groundbreaking book that examines both civil and criminal court cases from the Civil War to the present, to reveal the impact of stereotyping--race, class, gender--on the American legal system.

The question Mary Frances Berry asks: Whose story most strongly influences the making of legal decisions in the American justice system? Using previously unexamined material from state appellate civil and criminal court cases--cases of rape, seduction, and paternity disputes, and cases dealing with murder, inheritance, and property disputes in which sexual relations are at the heart of the story--Berry takes us through two centuries of American case law to show how attitudes toward gender, race, class, and sexuality have materially affected, and continue to affect, judicial decision-making.

Among the many cases Berry discusses:

Alabama, 1867--A white woman sues her husband for divorce in both the lower and state supreme courts because of his sexual relationship with a former slave, and is denied her petition on the basis that a sexual relationship between a white man and a black woman is "of no consequence."

New York, 1932--In a surprising victory, the longtime mistress of a theater owner successfully contests her lover's will and proves her right to inherit a wife's portion of the estate.

Texas, 1984--A suit by a woman against her female lover ends in a decision that allows the court to avoid acknowledging the existence of a lesbian relationship.

And, in the 1990s, we see the cases of William Kennedy Smith, Mike Tyson, and O. J. Simpson in a new context.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Dr. Mary Frances Berry has been chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission since 1993. As Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter administration, she coordinated and supervised federal education program budgets that totaled nearly thirteen billion dollars. She has received twenty-eight honorary doctoral degrees and numerous awards for her public service, including the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Award and the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania.





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