Fifty-Eight Lonely Men

Southern Federal Judges and School Desegregation
Author: J. W. Peltason
Epilogue by Kenneth N. Vines. Bibliographic essay by Numan V. Bartle
The stories of the southern judges tasked with righting racial injustice
Paper – $34
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1971
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About the Book

Originally published in 1961, this still-timely history illustrates the role of the judiciary in the solution of a social and political problem. It is unequaled in its description of the plight of federal judges who were charged with carrying out the decisions of the Supreme Court against segregation but who were under constant pressure--social, political, and personal--to speak for the white South. Some were ostracized by their communities as traitors. Others joined their state legislatures and local school boards in developing the elaborate delay strategies that for decades circumvented the Supreme Court's decisions.

About the Author

J. W. Peltason was president of the American Council on Education.


"The personalities of these 58 southern federal judges, the external pressures exerted on them, and their judicial decisions, are covered in great detail. The author includes in his discussion a brilliant analysis of the steps taken by segregationists to defeat the integration rulings of these courts."--Kirkus Reviews


"A clear and comprehensive account of the legal struggles in the federal courts over segregation and desegregation in the public schools of the nation. It gets behind the newspaper headlines and gives a play-by-play account. . . . This book is indeed full proof of the delays and difficulties of the law and the pressures of local public opinion."--Senator Paul H. Douglas, from the introduction