Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in America
A Reference Handbook
by Michael C. LeMay
April 2021, 388pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6729-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6730-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More than 3,000 black Americans were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968.

This book covers civil rights and civil liberties politics in the United States from the ratification of the Bill of Rights to current-day controversies, such as the travel ban and proposals to end birthright citizenship.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: A Reference Handbook provides a thorough overview of civil rights in U.S. history, detailing all the relevant amendments to the Constitution and reviewing key Supreme Court decisions and landmark cases on the topic. Aimed at general readers as well as high school, college, and university students, it focuses on the role of federal courts in civil rights and civil liberties politics. It also profiles the primary actors in civil rights and civil liberties, both organizations and people.

The volume comprises seven chapters. Chapter 1 presents the history and background of the topic, and Chapter 2 discusses problems, controversies, and solutions. Chapter 3 consists of essays by contributors that round out the coauthors’ expertise. Chapter 4 profiles important organizations and people, while Chapter 5 offers relevant data and documents. Chapter 6 is composed of an annotated list of important resources. Finally, Chapter 7 offers a useful chronology citing and describing the major events related to the topic from the nation’s founding until 2019.


  • Enables a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of politics with respect to civil rights and civil liberties
  • Provides a comprehensive annotated list of resources for further reading and research
  • Lists and describes the landmark Supreme Court decisions that define civil rights and liberties in the United States
  • Clarifies and makes accessible the historical struggle to assure and expand the basic rights and liberties of citizens
Michael C. LeMay, PhD, is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He is author of thirty academic books, including more than a dozen on the topic of U.S. immigration history and policy. He has written a dozen library reference books . Most recently he coauthored, with Al Mariam, First Amendment Freedoms: A Reference Handbook and authored The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965: Remaking America.

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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