Race and the Foundations of American Law

  • Reparations
  • Discovery Doctrine
  • Redlining
  • Jim Crow Laws
  • Fugitive Slave Act
  • Brown v. Board
  • Separate But Equal
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Reconstruction
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Voting Rights Act

Learn to:


  1. Identify how “race” been defined historically by the law

  2. Assess the development and continued influence of racial hierarchy in education, law enforcement, and housing

  3. Develop strategies to make the current legal regime more equitable


This course illuminates the way racial hierarchy has played a role in the development of American law. It examines the historical origins of racial hierarchy beginning in the colonial period and continues that examination through modern legal doctrine. Students will evaluate the continuing impact of the history of white supremacy in areas such as housing, law enforcement, and education. The course concludes with an analysis and critique of some current efforts to repair the harms that have been created by racial hierarchy.

Division of Online Learning

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