Legal History

Police officers in the U.S. are nine times more likely to kill African-American men than they are any other group of citizens. A tragic statistic, to be sure, but also -- given so many recent events -- a statistic that many won't find very surprising. How police forces across the nation relate to matters of racism, civil rights, and race relations are now coming under close scrutiny. But what about the role of the courts in this issue?

On today's ST, we are discussing a new book on race relations and American history that offers a bold, thorough, and eye-opening critique of our nation's criminal justice apparatus, its police operations, and indeed its entire legal system. Our guest is the well-regarded historian Elizabeth Hinton, who is an associate professor of history and African American studies at Yale University as well as a professor of law at Yale Law School.

Our guest is Dorothy Wickenden, an author and editor at The New Yorker Magazine. She tells us about her fascinating new book, which explores various interlinked facets of American history, including abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women's rights movement, and the Civil War. As the noted Yale historian David W. Blight has written of this book: "As a revolutionary, Harriet Tubman made many allies, none more important than her Auburn, New York, neighbors Martha Wright and Frances Seward.