A Different Shade of Justice

Asian American Civil Rights in the South

By Stephanie Hinnershitz

296 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3369-5
    Published: October 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3370-1
    Published: August 2017

Justice, Power, and Politics

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In the Jim Crow South, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and, later, Vietnamese and Indian Americans faced obstacles similar to those experienced by African Americans in their fight for civil and human rights. Although they were not black, Asian Americans generally were not considered white and thus were subject to school segregation, antimiscegenation laws, and discriminatory business practices. As Asian Americans attempted to establish themselves in the South, they found that institutionalized racism thwarted their efforts time and again. However, this book tells the story of their resistance and documents how Asian American political actors and civil rights activists challenged existing definitions of rights and justice in the South.

From the formation of Chinese and Japanese communities in the early twentieth century through Indian hotel owners’ battles against business discrimination in the 1980s and ’90s, Stephanie Hinnershitz shows how Asian Americans organized carefully constructed legal battles that often traveled to the state and federal supreme courts. Drawing from legislative and legal records as well as oral histories, memoirs, and newspapers, Hinnershitz describes a movement that ran alongside and at times intersected with the African American fight for justice, and she restores Asian Americans to the fraught legacy of civil rights in the South.

About the Author

Stephanie Hinnershitz is assistant professor of history at Cleveland State University.
For more information about Stephanie Hinnershitz, visit the Author Page.


“An important addition to southern civil rights history . . . [a] careful, accessible study of Asian American legal and organizational challenges to Jim Crow laws and de facto practices.”--Choice

A Different Shade of Justice is a marvelous accomplishment of shaping a mountain of archival work into a set of narratives that help depict Asian American struggles for civil rights in the South, stories that have, until now, been largely invisible in civil rights history.”—Daryl Joji Maeda, author of Chains of Babylon

“Accessible, well written, and thoroughly researched, this study elucidates a little-known archive of legal cases involving Asian Americans in the U.S. South. Demonstrating how Asians challenged racial discrimination through the court system, Hinnershitz’s innovative scholarship expands our notions of civil rights and racial justice under legal segregation and its legacy.”--Leslie Bow, author of Partly Colored