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The Constitution and Its Observance

Essays on the Origin of the Constitution

  • A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution  An introduction to the U.S. Constitution based on Robert Bruns' book of the same title.
  • The Evolving Constitution  This article from the CQ Encyclopedia of American Government provides an overview and commentary on the evolution of the Constitution from the the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, to the ratification of the Constitution and the first ten amendments (known as the Bill of Rights).
  • The Federalist Papers - The Library of Congress provides the full text of the 85 essays written to encourage the ratification of the Constitution.
  • Primary Documents in American History - A copy of the Constitution with marginal notes by George Washington is included in the Library of Congress' virtual collection.
  • The Signers of the Constitution - Biographical sketches of the 39 men who framed the U.S. Constitution.
  • An Introduction to the U.S. Constitution  The essay by Epstein and Walker, in Constitutional Law for a Changing America,  discusses the underlying principles of the Constitution,  including some of the biases of the men who framed the document.

Documents from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and the Law Library

Locating Information in the Constitution

The Impact of the Constitution: General

The Impact of the Constitution: Voting Rights

The Impact of the Constitution: Quality Education

The Constitution in Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans)


  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution [CD-ROM]. New York: Simon & Shuster Macmillan, 1996. Founders Library, Reference)
  • The Constitution, that Delicate Balance [videorecording]. Produced by Jude Dratt. 780 min. New York: Media and society Seminars of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1984. (Media Center, JK34 C66 1984)
  • Mississippi and the 15th Amendment [videorecording]. Produced by Fred W. Friendly.  57 min. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2000.  (Media Center, E185.615 C58 2000 VHS)
  • The Road to Brown: the Untold Story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."  [videorecording] Produced and directed by Mykola Kulish.  47:35 min.  San Francisco: California Newsreel, 1990.  (Media Center, E185.61 R6 1990 VHS)
  • The Case of the Scottsboro Boys: Southern Justice in Black and White [videorecording]. Produced by Scripps Productions in association with Courtroom Television Network. New York: Courtroom Television Network, 1999. (Law Library, KF220.T75 S37 1999)
  • Blacks and the Constitution [videorecording]. Produced by the Howard University School of Law, April 13, 1987. 105 min. Washington, D.C.: Howard University School of Law, 1987. (Law Library, KF4757 .B53 1987)
  • The Afro-American Experience and the U. S. Constitution: Compromise, Conflict, and Change [videorecording]. Sponsored by the Washington Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar, and Howard University School of Law. 105 min. Washington, D.C.: Howard University School of Law, 1987. (Law Library, KF4757 .A97 1987)

Selected Books and Articles

  • Agozino, Biko. Black Women and the Criminal Justice System: Towards the Decolonisation of Victimisation. Aldershot, England; Brookfield, Vt., USA: Ashgate, 1997. (Law Library, HV9647 .A65 1997)
  • Anastaplo, George.  The Constitution of 1787: A Commentary.  Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1989. (Founders Library, KF4528 .A53 1989)
  • Babloma. A. M., ed. Affirmative Action: An Annotated Bibliography. 2nd ed. New York: Nova Science Publishers, c2004 (Law Library, Z7164.A26 A37 2004)
  • Ball, Howard.  Compromised Compliance: Implementation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982 (Founders Library, KF4893 .B35 1982)
  • Banks, Christopher P. and John C. Green.  Superintending Democracy: the Courts and the Political Process.  Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 2001. (Founders Library, KF8742 .S55 2001)
  • Barber, Sotirios A. The Constitution of Judicial Power.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.  (Founders Library, KF4575 .B37 1993)
  • Barker, Lucious J., ed. Black electoral politics. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, c1990. (Law Library, E185.615 .B55 1990)
  • Bell, Derrick A.  Race, Racism, and American Law.  New York: Aspen Publishers, 2004. (Law Library-- Reserve, KF4757 .B35 2004)
  • Belknap, Michal R. Federal Law and Southern Order: Racial Violence and Constitutional Conflict in the Post-Brown South. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1987.  (Founders Library, KF4757 .B346 1987)
  • Black judges in America. Columbus, Ohio: Positive Images Publishing, 2001. (Law Library, KF 8700 .A19 B563 2001)
  • Blake, Charles.  "Our Constitution."  Negro History Bulletin 23 ( August 1960): 170,  183-185.
  • Bond, James E. No Easy Walk to Freedom: Reconstruction and the Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1997.  (Undergraduate Library-- Auxiliary Reserve, KF4558 14th .B66 1997; Moorland-Spingarn, M342.73 .B64 1997)
  • Buchman, Jeremy. Drawing Lines in Quicksand: Courts, Legislatures and Redistricting. New York: P. Lang, 2003 (Law Library, KF4905 .B83 2003)
  • Bybee, Keith J.  Mistaken Identity: The Supreme Court and the Politics of Minority Representation.  Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998.  (Law Library, KF4891 .B93 1998)
  • Campbell, Nedra D. More Justice, More Peace: the Black Person's Guide to the American Legal System. Chicago, Ill.: Lawrence Hill Books, c2003. (Law Library, KF8700.Z9 C28 2003)
  • Caplan, Lincoln. Up Against the Law: Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court. New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1997. (Law Library, KF4755.5 .C368 1997)    
  • Catterall, Helen Tunnicliff, ed. Judicial Cases Concerning American slavery and the Negro. Buffalo, N.Y.: W.S. Hein, 1998.  (Law Library, KF4545.S5 J83 1926R)
  • Chambers, James A. An Assessment of Black Crime, Delinquency, and the Criminal Justice System. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, c2002. (Law Library, HV6197.U5 C43 2002)   
  • Chin, Gabriel J., ed. Affirmative Action and the Constitution. New York: Garland Pub., 1998 (Law Library, KF4755.5 .A384 1998)
  • Collins, Patricia Hill. Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, c1998. (Law Library, E185.86 .C5817 1998)
  • Cottrol, Robert J.  Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2003.  (Founders Library, KF4155 .C68 2003; Moorland-Spingarn, M371.974 .C8296 2003)
  • Crow, Jeffrey J.  "Beyond the Republican Synthesis: Reinterpreting the Constitution."  North Carolina Historical Review 64, no. 3 (1987): 320 -326.
  • Curtis, Michael Kent.  No State Shall Abridge: the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1986.  (Founders Library, KF4754 .C87 1986)
  • Cushman, Clare and Melvin I. Urofsky, eds. Black, White, and Brown: the Landmark School Desegregation Case in Retrospect. Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court Historical Society/CQ Press, 2004. (Law Library, KF228.B76 B58 2004)
  • Daniels, William J.  "The Constitution, the Supreme Court, and Racism: Compromises on the Way to Democracy." National Political Science Review 1 (1989): 126 - 132.
  • Darling, Marsha J. Tyson, ed.  Race, Voting and Redistricting, and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Fifteenth Amendment. 3 vols.  New York: Routledge, 2001. (Law Library, KF4905 .R33 2001)
  • Davidson, Chandler and Bernard Grofman, eds.  Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990.  Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.  (Founders Library, JK1929 .A2 Q54 1994)
  • Dickson, Del, ed. The Supreme Court in Conference, 1940-1985: The Private Discussions behind Nearly 300 Supreme Court Decisions.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2001 (Law Library, KF8742 .S917 2001)
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution.  2nd ed. Edited by Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst.  6 vols. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000.  (Founders Library --Reference, KF4548 .E53 2000)
  • Eastland, Terry. Ending Affirmative Action: The Case for Colorblind Justice. New York: Basic Books, c1996. (Law Library, HF5549.5.A34 E25 1996)
  • Fiscus, Ronald Jerry and Stephen L. Wasby. The Constitutional Logic of Affirmative Action. Durham: Duke University Press, 1992. (Law Library, KF4755.5 .F57 1992)
  • Foner, Eric.  "Blacks and the US Constitution."  New Left Review 183 (1990): 63-74
  • _________. "Rights and the Constitution in Black Life During the Civil War and Reconstruction."  Journal of American History 74, no. 3 (1987): 863-883
  • Foster, Lorn S., ed.  The Voting Rights Act: Consequences and Implications.  New York: Praeger, 1985 (Founders Library KF4893 .V68 1985) 
  • Franklin, John Hope and Genna Rae McNeil.  African Americans and the Living Constitution.  Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995. (Social Work Library --Reserves, KF4757 .A5 A44 1995)
  • Fukurai, Hiroshi and Richard Krooth. Race in the Jury Box: Affirmative Action in Jury Selection. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, c2003. (Law Library, KF9680 .F85 2003)
  • Garcia, Mildred, ed. Affirmative Action's Testament of Hope: Strategies for a New Era in Higher Education. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997. (Law Library, KF4155 .A39 1997)
  • Goldman, Robert Michael. "A Free Ballot and a Fair Count": the Department of Justice and the Enforcement of Voting Rights in the South, 1877-1893.  New York: Fordham University Press, 2001.  (Undergraduate Library--Auxiliary Reserve JK1929 .A2 G65 2001)
  • _________. Reconstruction and Black Suffrage: Losing the Vote in Reese and Cruikshank. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001. (Law Library, KF4893 .G65 2001)
  • Goldwin, Robert A.  Why Blacks, Women, and Jews are not Mentioned in the Constitution, and Other Unorthodox Views.  Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 1990. (Founders Library, KF4749 .A2 G65) 
  • ___________ and William A. Schambra, eds. The Constitution, the Courts, and the Quest for Justice. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1989. (Founders Library,  KF4550 .A2 C655 1989)
  • ____________.  Constitutional Controversies. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1989. (Founders Library,  KF4550 .A2 C66 1987)   
  • Graham, Barbara Luck. "Executive Authority, Constitutional Interpretation, and Civil Rights."  National Political Science Review 1  (1989): 114- 120
  • Green, Robert P. Jr.  Equal Protection and the African American Constitutional Experience: A Documentary History.  Westport, Conn.:  Greenwood Press, 2000.  (Undergraduate Library -- Auxiliary Reserves, KF4756 .A3 2000; Moorland-Spingarn, M342.73 Eq25 2000)
  • Grofman, Bernard and Chandler Davidson, eds.  Controversies in Minority Voting: The Voting Rights Act in Twenty-Five Year Perspective.  Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1992.  (KF4893 .C66 1992)
  • Harding, Vincent Gordon.  "Wrestling toward the Dawn: The Afro-American Freedom Movement and the Changing Constitution."  Journal of American History 74, no. 3 (1987): 718 -739.
  • Hudson, David M.  Along Racial Lines : Consequences of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  New York : P. Lang, 1998. (Founders Library, KF4891 .H83 1998)
  • Ibarra, Robert A. Beyond Affirmative Action: Reframing the Context of Higher Education. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001. (Law Library, LC191.9 .I23 2001)
  • Jager, Ronald B.  "Charles Sumner, the Constitution, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875."  New England Quarterly, 42, no. 3 (1969): 350-372.
  • Jones, Augustus J. Affirmative Talk, Affirmative Action: A Comparative Study of the Politics of Affirmative Action. New York: Praeger, 1991. (Law Library, JS886.G263 A456 1991) 
  • Joseph, Joel D. Black Mondays: Worst Decisions of the Supreme Court. 2nd ed. Bethesda, MD: National Press, c1990. (Law Library, KF4549 .J67 1990)
  • Keenan, Joseph T.  The Constitution of the United States: An Unfolding Story.  Chicago, ILL: Dorsey Press, 1988. (Founders Library, KF4550 .Z9 K39 1998) 
  • Kommers, Donald P., John E. Finn, and Gary J. Jacobsohn.   American Constitutional Law. Vol. 2, Liberty, Community, and the Bill of Rights.  2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. (Founders Library, KF4550 .K652 2004 v.2)
  • Kotz, Nick.  Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws that Changed America.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.  (Law Library, E847.2 .K67 2005)
  • Kull, Andrew.  The Color-Blind Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.  (Moorland-Spingarn, M342.73 K9593 1992)
  • Leiter, Samuel and William M. Leiter. Affirmative Action in Antidiscrimination Law and Policy: An Overview and Synthesis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002. (Law Library, KF4755.5 .L45 2002)
  • Locke, Mamie E.  "From Three-fifths to Zero: Implications of the Constitution for African-American Women, 1787-1870."  Women and Politics 10, no.2 (1990): 33-46.
  • McDonald, Laughlin.  A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.  (Law Library, KFG430.85 .S9 M39 2003)
  • Maltz, Earl M.  Civil Rights, the Constitution, and Congress, 1863-1869.  Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1990.  (Founders Library, KF4757 M29 1990)
  • Marshall, Thurgood.  "The Constitution's Bicentennial: Commemorating the Wrong Document?" Vanderbilt Law Review 40 (November 1987): 1337. 
  • Martin, Waldo E. and Patricia Sullivan.  Civil Rights in the United States. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. (Moorland-Spingarn, M323.0973 .C499 2000)
  • Meyer, Howard N.  The Amendment that Refused to Die: Equality and Justice Deferred: The History of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 2000. (Founders Reference, KF4757 .M46 2000; Moorland-Spingarn, M342 .M75 2000)
  • Middleton, Stephen, ed. Black Congressmen during Reconstruction: A Documentary Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, c2002. (Law Library, E185.6 .B623 2002) 
  • Miles to go: A Report on Black Students and Postsecondary Education in the South. Atlanta, GA: Southern Education Foundation, c1998. (Law Library, LC2802.S9 M55 1998)
  • Moreno, Paul D. From Direct Action to Affirmative Action: Fair Employment Law and Policy in America, 1933-1972. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997. (Law Library, KF3464 .M665 1997)
  • Mosley, Albert G. and Nicholas Capaldi. Affirmative Action: Social Justice or Unfair Preference? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1996. (Law Library, KF4755.5 .M67 1996) 
  • National Urban League.  The State of Black America, 2005. Edited by Lee A. Daniels, Rose Jefferson-Frazier, and Stephanie Jones. New York: National Urban League, 2005. (Law Library, E185.5 .N317 2005)
  • Nieman, Donald G.  Black Southerners and the Law, 1865-1900.  New York: Garland Publishers, 1994.  (Founders Library, KF4757 .A5 B53 1994)
  • _________. Promises to Keep: African-Americans and the Constitutional Order, 1776 to the Present.  New York: Oxford University press, 1991. (Founders Library E185.61 .N5 1991)
  • Phillips, Michael Joseph.  The Dilemmas of Individualism: Status, Liberty, and American Constitutional Law.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983.  (Divinity Library, KF4749 P46 1983)
  • Pusser, Brian. Burning Down the House: Politics, Governance, and Affirmative Action at the University of California. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. (Law Library, HV9647 .A65 1997)
  • Reaffirming Diversity: A Legal Analysis of the University of Michigan Affirmative Action Cases: A Joint Statement of Constitutional Law Scholars. Cambridge, MA: Civil Rights Project, Harvard University, c2003. (Law Library, KF4155 .R42 2003)
  • Renstrom, Peter G.  Constitutional Rights Sourcebook.  Santa Barbara, Calif:  ABC-CLIO, 1999. (Founders Reference KF4550 .Z9 R463 1999)
  • Robb, James S. Affirmative Action for Immigrants: The Entitlement Nobody Wanted. Monterey, VA: American Immigration Control Foundation, 1998, c1995. (Law Library, KF4755.5.Z9 R63 1998)
  • Robinson, Jo Ann Ooiman, ed. Affirmative Action: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001. (Law Library, JC599.U5 A346853 2001)
  • Rosenfeld, Michel. Affirmative Action and Justice: A Philosophical and Constitutional Inquiry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. (Law Library, KF3464 .R65 1991)
  • Ryden, David, ed.  The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process. 2nd ed.  Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2002. (Law Library, KF4886 .A5 U17 2002)
  • Schwartz, Bernard. Behind Bakke: Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court. New York: New York University Press, c1988. (Law Library, KF228.B34 S39 1988)    
  • Singh, Nikhil Pal. Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004. (Law Library, E185.61 .S6144 2004)    
  • Soapes, Emily Williams.  "The American Experiment: Living with the Constitution." Prologue 19, no. 3 (1987): 183-189.
  • Spann, Girardeau A.  The Law of Affirmative Action: Twenty-five Years of Supreme Court Decisions on Race and Remedies.  New York: New York University Press, 2000.  (Law Library, KF4755.5 .S65 2000)
  • Stohr, Greg. A Black and White Case: How Affirmative Action Survived Its Greatest Legal Challenge. Princeton: Bloomberg Press, 2004. (Law Library, KF228.G78 S76 2004)    
  • Tollett, Kenneth S., Jeanette J. Leonard, and Portia P. James.  "A Color-Conscious Constitution: The One Pervading Purpose Redux.  Journal of Negro Education 52, no. 3 (1983): 189-212.
  • Tushnet, Mark V.  A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law.  New York: W. W. Norton Co., 2005 (Founders Library, on order)
  • ___________.  "The Politics of Equality in Constitutional Law: The Equal Protechtion Clause, Dr. DuBois, and Charles Hamilton Houston."  Journal of American History 74, no.3 (1987): 884-903
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. Affirmative Action on Trial: Sex Discrimination in Johnson v. Santa Clara. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1997. (Law Library, KF4755.5 .L45 2002)
  • Valelly, Richard M.  The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.  (Law Library, JK1924 .V35 2004)    
  • Watson, Bradley C. S. Courts and the Culture Wars.  Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2002.  (Law Library, KF5130 .C68 2002)
  • White, David M. The Effects of Coaching, Defective Questions, and Cultural Bias on the Validity of the Law School Admission Test. Berkeley, Calif.: National Conference of Black Lawyers, c1984. (Law Library, KF285 .W44 1984)
  • Williams, Jerre S.  Constitutional Analysis in a Nutshell.  St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1979.  (Founders Library, KF4550 .Z9 W53)
  • Wilson, Woodrow.  Constitutional Government in the United States. With an introduction by Sidney A. Pearson, Jr.   New York: Columbia University Press, 1908.  Reprint, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002.  (Founders Library, JK246 .W82 2002)
  • Wright, Bruce. Black Robes, White Justice. 1st Carol Publishing Group ed. 1990. New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990, c1987. (Law Library, KF373.W67 A33 1990)
  • Zelden, Charles L. The Battle for the Black Ballot: Smith v. Allwright and the Defeat of the Texas All-White Primary. Landmark law cases & American society. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, c2004. (Law Library, KF228.S553 Z45 2004)    

    For additional books, search Sterling or Daniel Web Catalog for the subject "Constitution" or "United States. Constitution." Also, conduct a keyword search combining "constitution" and such terms as "African Americans," "affirmative action," "education," "civil rights," "discrimination," or "voting."

    For videotapes, add "video" as a keyword in your search statement or limit the catalog searches by format (material type).

    For journal articles, conduct keyword searches in databases such as Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), America: History and Life, JSTOR, Lexis-Nexis, Project Muse or Social Sciences Full-Text (Wilson Web).

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