This is the first--and the only authorized--biography of Elbert
Parr Tuttle (1897-1996), the judge who led the federal court with
jurisdiction over most of the Deep South through the most
tumultuous years of the civil rights revolution. By the time Tuttle
became chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fifth Circuit, he had already led an exceptional life. He had
cofounded a prestigious law firm, earned a Purple Heart in the
battle for Okinawa in World War II, and led Republican Party
efforts in the early 1950s to establish a viable presence in the
South. But it was the inter-section of Tuttle's judicial career
with the civil rights movement that thrust him onto history's
When Tuttle assumed the mantle of chief judge in 1960, six years
had passed since" Brown v. Board of Education" had been decided but
little had changed for black southerners. In landmark cases
relating to voter registration, school desegregation, access to
public transportation, and other basic civil liberties, Tuttle's
determination to render justice and his swift, decisive rulings
neutralized the delaying tactics of diehard
segregationists--including voter registrars, school board members,
and governors--who were determined to preserve Jim Crow laws
throughout the South.
Author Anne Emanuel maintains that without the support of the
federal courts of the Fifth Circuit, the promise of Brown might
have gone unrealized. Moreover, without the leadership of Elbert
Tuttle and the moral authority he commanded, the courts of the
Fifth Circuit might not have met the challenge.
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