cover image Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights

Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights

Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe. Algonquin, $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61620-955-1

The life of African-American civil rights lawyer Roundtree (1914–2018) is chronicled in this inspirational, history-rich memoir, a project coauthored by National Magazine Award–winning writer McCabe. Roundtree grew up in Charlotte, N.C., during the Jim Crow era: “Never for one moment of my life under Jim Crow did I grow accustomed to being excluded, banned, pushed aside, reduced,” she writes. She recounts her time at Spelman College in the 1930s, when Atlanta was a “racial hell,” and tells of joining the newly established Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during WWII, when she fought for the rights of black soldiers and attained the rank of captain. She later pursued a law degree at Howard University, where she was one of five women in her class; was sworn into the Washington, D.C., bar in 1951; and started a law firm. In straightforward, somewhat dutiful prose, she covers her many transformative moments, including being in the courtroom as a spectator when Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in 1954, and winning a critical travel-discrimination case in 1955 that helped end the segregation of bus passengers in America. This eye-opening, accessible book documents the life of a trailblazing human rights advocate. (Nov.)