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548Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril QuestforJustice: Louis A. BedfordJr. and the StruggleforEqual Rights in Texas. By Darwin Payne. (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2009. Pp. 290. Black and white plates, notes, selected bibliography, index. ISBN 9780870745222, $22.50 cloth.) Direcdy or indirectly, Louis A. BedfordJr. was connected to some of the most influential figures in the struggle for racial equality in not only Dallas and Texas, but also in the entire United States. Bedford's grandfather was Mack Matthew Rodgers, a prominent African-American political leader in Texas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As an aspiring member of the legal profession in the 1 950s and 1 960s, Bedford was taken under the wing of the redoubtable civil rights lawyer WilliamJ. Durham, famed for, among other things, his role in the case of Sweatt v. Painter. Bedford even managed in his only meeting with Martin Luther KingJr. to tempt die Nobel Prize winner to play his first game of pool since school days. Later on, Bedford mentored so many up-and-coming lawyers and activists that their names read like a veritable who's who of distinguished African Americans in Dallas. Darwin Payne's QuestforJustice recounts Bedford's struggle during the 1940s and 1950s to forge a career for himself in the legal profession, his role as legal advisor to the new generation of more militant civil rights activists in Dallas and its environs in the ig6os and 1970s, and his contribution to the amazing expansion ofAfrican Americans' political influence in Dallas in recent decades. It is commendable that Payne has focused upon the life and times of the kind of figure so often overlooked by history: a leader who, even if not always the most influential or prominent player, still made a significant contribution to numerous important campaigns. However, Quest forJustice would be a more satisfying study if it contained a greater amount of information about the man and less about his times. All too frequendy, die book offers only hints of how Bedford perceived or felt about his many remarkable experiences. Moreover, Payne's habit of paraphrasing Bedford's words or thoughts without providing citations creates confusion over who is die originator of die insight proffered—is it Bedford or Payne? In places, it also seems as though Payne's objectivity and candor are compromised by the collaboration he received from Bedford, such as interviews widi him and access to his papers. In handling the few episodes in Bedford's life diat do not show him in an entirely complimentary light, like his unsuccessful forays into local electoral politics during the 1970s and 1980s that on occasion actually split the black vote, Payne seems more concerned with defending than explaining his protagonist's behavior. QuestforJustice provides new or more detailed information on two episodes of note to those interested in the history of the civil rights movement in Texas: the student sit-in movement in Marshall and the desegregation of downtown Dallas. The book also sheds light upon the challenges faced and obstacles surmounted by African-American lawyers in Dallas during the second halfofthe twentieth century . However, under the guise of establishing context, Payne regularly interrupts the narrative's flow with excessively long but only marginally relevant descriptions of figures (like John Mercer Langston) and episodes (such as school desegrega- 2Oi o Book Reviews54g tion in Dallas) that have received definitive treatment elsewhere. QuestforJustice is a not entirely unrewarding book, but for an essentially biographical work it falls short of striking the perfect balance between macro- and micro-level discussions. It really needed to provide less of the former and more of the latter. Truman State UniversityJasonJ. McDonald Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950. By Heidi J. Osselaer, forward by Janet Napolitano (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009. Pp. 240. Illustrations, map, tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780816527335, $45.00 cloth.) Winning Their Place is a fascinating study documenting die efforts of AngloAmerican women to achieve woman suffrage and win elective office in Arizona from 1 883 to 1 950. The book adds to a growing body ofliterature that explains the early enfranchisement ofwomen in the West, and it makes an important contribution...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 548-549
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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