Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court, a conversation with Paul Finkelman and Edward L. Ayers

When: Wed., May 9, 5:30-6:30 p.m. 2018

The three most important Supreme Court justices before the Civil War ― Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story ― upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In "Supreme Injustice," the distinguished legal historian Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom and the incentives created by circumstances in his private life. Finkelman and Edward L. Ayers will discuss the book and the entanglements that alienated three major justices from America’s founding ideals and embedded racism ever deeper in American civic life. The lecture is co-sponsored by the John Marshall Foundation, Preservation Virginia’s John Marshall House and the American Civil War Museum and is free to their members.

Price: $10.