Mighty Justice Summary and Reviews

Mighty Justice

My Life in Civil Rights

by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe

Mighty Justice by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe X
Mighty Justice by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Nov 5, 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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About this book

Book Summary

"Dovey Johnson Roundtree set a new path for women and proved that the vision and perseverance of a single individual can turn the tides of history." —Michelle Obama

In Mighty Justice, trailblazing African American civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree recounts her inspiring life story that speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times. From the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the segregated courtrooms of the nation's capital; from the male stronghold of the army where she broke gender and color barriers to the pulpits of churches where women had waited for years for the right to minister—in all these places, Roundtree sought justice.

At a time when African American attorneys had to leave the courthouses to use the bathroom, Roundtree took on Washington's white legal establishment and prevailed, winning a 1955 landmark bus desegregation case that would help to dismantle the practice of "separate but equal" and shatter Jim Crow laws.

Later, she led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the AME Church in 1961, merging her law practice with her ministry to fight for families and children being destroyed by urban violence.

Largely unknown to most Americans, trailblazing African American civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree broke color and gender barriers in courtrooms, the U.S. Army, and churches before dying at the age of 104 in 2018. Her inspiring life story speaks movingly and urgently to our troubled times.


About the Authors
Dovey Johnson Roundtree was an attorney and minister who was of the first women to be commissioned an Army officer and who helped win a landmark case banning segregation in interstate bus travel. She died in 2018 at the age of 104.

Katie McCabe is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washingtonian Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and Reader's Digest, among others. Her National Magazine Award–winning article on black medical legend Vivien Thomas was the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, winner of three Emmys and a 2005 Peabody award.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Roundtree never gave up on America. Her story is at the same time infuriating, heartbreaking, moving, joyous, and powerful. Read it and you will feel inspired." - Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

"Dovey Roundtree is my hero. This is not only a great read, but a must read. I recommend it to anyone thinking about justice or trying to find ways to overcome challenges they face." - Charles J. Ogletree, author of Without Parole: America New Death Penalty

"Dovey Roundtree's nobility, the courage and effectiveness of her work, are enough to restore one's hope for the human race. The book, though it describes an era that is past, is above all a study of something that doesn't change much---human character and its possibilities." - Lance Morrow, Time magazine essayist and author of Evil

"You will learn so very much about determination, values, courage, manners, and the moral strength of this family. The experience will enhance your appreciation for the struggles and achievements against the odds, and the meanness of stereotypes. And you will see and learn American history and human history at its best." - Dr. Walter J. Leonard, former president of Fisk University and founding committee chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University

"To read how Dovey Roundtree struggled to help others and to make a difference in our world is exalting. This book tells what one determined, unstoppable woman did with her life to change laws and traditions to make America a better, fairer, and more respectful country." - Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, USAF (Ret.), president, Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation

"An amazing story that humanizes the raw emotions of thousands of early twentieth-century achievers ... living the dreams of the entire African American community." - Citation of the Judges, Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize

"Manages to immerse readers in Roundtree's life, creating a real sense of what it was like to live as a black person in segregated Charlotte and the Jim Crow South." - The Charlotte Observer

"Beautifully and engagingly told." - Johnnetta Betsch Cole, President Emerita, Spelman College and Bennett College

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Reader Reviews

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Diane H. (Leawood, KS)

True Inspiration
I am so grateful to have received an advance copy of "Mighty Justice". The story of Dovey Roundtree is one that will stay in my memory for years to come. Dovey Roundtree was a pioneer who overcame so many obstacles to accomplish the things she did as a teacher, a lawyer and a minister.
The story is beautifully written and, in my opinion, should be compulsory reading in every history class. Katie McCabe, through her writing, brings to life the story of Dovey Roundtree. This book would make an excellent selection for any book group as the issues contained in it are ones that are still prevalent in society today.
Great story!

Suzette P. (Chicago, IL)

Mighty Woman
This memoir is alternately inspiring and disquieting, as the author relates her childhood with her formidable grandmother, her school years being mentored by other great women, including Mary McLeod Bethune, her groundbreaking work in the military during WWII, and her career as a civil rights lawyer and later minister, always giving credit to those that helped her. She fought against Jim Crow her entire life, and was one of two lawyers who eventually won the landmark case "Sarah Keys v. Carolina Bus Company", ending Jim Crow practices on bus routes in the South. I had never heard of Ms. Roundtree prior to reading this book, which is a great shame considering that I'm a lawyer myself. She experienced and fought misogyny and racism throughout her life, persevering despite periods of ill health and great grief. Ms. Roundtree took on some truly interesting cases, including the successful defense of a man accused of killing a Washington socialite (it was later revealed that the woman had been JFK's mistress), and the representation of a man in a divorce matter who later killed his ex-wife and a doctor and shot others in a jealous rage. While I had studied "Brown v. Board of Education" in law school, never have I read such an inspiring description of the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling on the lives of black Americans. There are certain great people who pave the way for others and make life better for many and Ms. Roundtree is one of those people. And, boy, can she write! Katie McCabe is the co-author and the two have created an important work that has relevance to today's events. One cannot read this book without thinking of the racism still prevalent, including the white supremacist march in Virginia in 2018 and the countless other indignities and crimes against people of color. (My reading copy lacks the foreword by Tayari Jones, who wrote "An American Marriage" - I'm really looking forward to reading that when the book is published!) Highly recommended.

Julia A. (New York, NY)

A Deeply Personal History of the Civil Rights Movement
In this remarkable book, the late Dovey Johnson Roundtree and her collaborator Katie McCabe present the history of the U.S. civil rights movement pre and post-Brown v. Board of Education in a way that made me understand both the struggle and the U.S. Constitution in new ways. It also caused me to question the deficits in my own education, in that I had up to this point never read or heard anything about Ms. Roundtree. In her long, distinguished, and inspiring career, she was present for the great moments we've all studied in school, as well as at the low points when it looked like desegregation of public schools, interstate transportation, and even the United States Armed Forces would never happen. Roundtree didn't live to see the publication of this book (she died in 2018 at age 104), but this reader hopes that the book will give accord her her rightful place in history, and will become required reading for those who would understand the underpinnings of the quest for equal rights, and who would acknowledge how far we still have to go. This is on balance a truly wonderful book, even as it lays open thoughts about all that is left to do to make the vision a reality.

Rosemary C. (Golden, CO)

A trailblazing life
Dovey Roundtree's account of her life is an excellent read. Writing in her nineties, she shows profound reflection on how her childhood formed her and led her to take on racism and sexism throughout her working life-and thereafter. This would be a good book club assignment, especially for those interested in history and law. Dovey's life is an inspiration and the tone of her story makes we wish I'd known her.

Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)

This is a must read
If you only read one more book about a black woman fighting for equal rights, you have to read this one. Dovey's determination and drive are amazing. Her life shows how a good mentor can propel a person's life; and how important it is to have a loving, nurturing home life. She not only became a lawyer but also a pastor and mentor for others. Mighty Justice is very well written and the explanation regarding "separate but equal" really clarified why there was such a battle over it. I will share this book with my reader friends.

Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)

Inspiring Story of a Civil Rights Heroine
Wow! Dovey Roundtree's story drew me into to her world from the first pages describing her childhood in Jim Crow North Carolina, raised by an amazing grandmother who never allowed the degradation and torment she experienced quell her determination to ensure her granddaughters were educated. Dovey's story introduced me to activists with which I was unfamiliar who worked within the system, with the assistance of Eleanor Roosevelt to change the status quo and create an Army officers training program for women of color. Ms. Roundtree was specifically selected for the first class. The distinction she subsequently achieved as a lawyer is a must read for anybody interested in 20th Century American history, women who helped change America, and the determination of activists that lead to the passing of the Civil Rights Act. It is hard to imagine where we as a nation would be today without Dovey Roundtree.

...3 more reader reviews

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More Information

"Dovey Johnson Roundtree set a new path for women and proved that the vision and perseverance of a single individual can turn the tides of history." —Michelle Obama

Largely unknown to most Americans, trailblazing African American civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree broke color and gender barriers in courtrooms, the U.S. Army, and churches before dying at the age of 104 in 2018. Her inspiring life story speaks movingly and urgently to our troubled times.

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