Hugo L. Black and the Dilemma of American Liberalism

Black was born int a middle-class Alabama family. He set forth early in life, pursuing the field of law to make a career between business and government. Gregarious and sociable by nature, he drifted into politics and thoughtlessly accepted membership in the Ku Klux Klan. When Black arrived in Washington as a senator from Alabama, his ideas, though tinged with populism, still had not taken clear form. Like many of the other turns in his life, Black's appointment to the Supreme Court was more a matter of happenstance than of grand design. In working hard and applying common sense to unprecedented problems, Black helped redefine the constitutional meanings of liberty and equality. The painful steps taken in that direction form the framework of Professor Freyer's thoughtful book. - Editor's preface.