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Armed with the Constitution, Armed with the Constitution, 0817312285, 0-8173-1228-5, 978-0-8173-1228-2, 9780817312282,

Armed with the Constitution
Jehovah's Witnesses in Alabama and the U.S Supreme Court, 1939-1946

Quality Paper
2002. 240 pp.
978-0-8173-1228-2
Price:  $29.95 s

 

This fascinating history underscores the importance of “little people” in affecting the U.S. government. It stresses the courage of a black man, Rosco Jones, and a white woman, Grace Marsh, who dared to challenge the status quo in Alabama in the early 1940s. These two Jehovah’s Witnesses helped to lay a foundation for testing the constitutionality of state and local laws, establishing precedents that the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and similar forces could follow. Newton has prepared a finely woven tale of oral, legal, and social history that opens a window on the world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alabama.
            But the book is more than a legal study; it is also a dramatic history of two powerful personalities whose total commitment to their faith enabled them to carry the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ battle from rural Alabama to the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Merlin Owen Newton is Associate Professor of History and Political Science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.



 

“Newton’s work contributes to legal history, feminist history, religious history, and the history of the struggle of African Americans for civil rights. She rescues some people from obscurity and makes the point that even “little people” can make a difference in our country, a point that needs to be made repeatedly. A good read.” – Ronald B. Flowers, Texas Christian University

 

“Newton has an interesting story to tell, and she tells it very well. She is particularly skillful at bringing alive the principal characters in the story. She does an excellent job of tracing the development of Jones v. Opelika and Marsh v. Alabama and putting those cases in context by relating them to the outlook and operations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the economic and social situation in Alabama during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and to the evolution of the constitutional law of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” – Michal R. Belknap, California Western School of Law

 


1997 Myers Center Outstanding Book Award, sponsored by Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North American

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