Guinn v. United States

(1915)

Audience

There are several different audiences for this Supreme Court decision, the most obvious being the parties involved: the U.S. government and the two Oklahoma election officials named in the case, Frank Guinn and J. J. Beal, who had been convicted of civil rights violations. A broader audience was the South as a whole as well as the state of Maryland, which also had a grandfather clause. The nation’s black community and the lawyers and members of the NAACP (who, as noted, had filed a brief) were no doubt interested parties, and this case stands as the first twentieth-century victory for African Americans at the Supreme Court level. Historians, scholars, and students of African American culture represent a modern-day audience, one that can see how the nation took its first halting steps toward equality and how limited those steps really were.

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Edward White (Library of Congress)

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