San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



In this Article, Professor Cottrol examines a pervasive culture of pessimism amongst a minority of underclass Black Americans the likes of which must be addressed if America's laws and public policy is to complete the unfinished work of the Civil Rights Revolution. The author argues that the development this culture is the result of long-term historical trends, the results of which came to fruition after the Second World War. He suggests Americans must shift their focus from familiar histories of southern slavery and Jim Crow to an examination of the histories of race relations in northern cities. Further, the author argues that to understand the law of race, Americans must examine how formally egalitarian legal doctrine was applied in actual practice. In conclusion, racially tailored ameliorative efforts can be constitutionally viable and the author discusses legislation that has the potential to help transform underclass culture.