Nov. 2: Emanuel 75L discusses Tuttle's civil rights legacy
Until now, no biographer had examined the life of Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle, chief judge of Atlanta’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit—the court responsible for many cases that dismantled segregation in the years immediately following Brown v. Board of Education.
Anne Emanuel 75L, professor of law at Georgia State University, clerked for Tuttle. Her book, Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution was released this month. A reception, discussion and book signing with Emanuel, Judge Phyllis Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Dr. Elbert Tuttle Jr. 57MR and Judge Horace Ward will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum Theater. The event is free and open to the public.
Tuttle was not a native son of the South. A Californian raised in Hawaii, he was an aviator in both World Wars and received a Purple Heart in the latter. He worked his way through Cornell University Law School as a reporter in New York City. Tuttle and his brother-in-law, William Sutherland, founded the Atlanta firm Sutherland & Tuttle in 1924.
Appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower, the liberal Republican jurist heard many landmark civil rights cases including Martin Luther King Jr.’s challenge for the right to assemble and demonstrate in Albany, Ga.; James Meredith’s appeal for admission to the University of Mississippi; and Julian Bond’s case to claim his seat in Georgia’s House of Representatives. Named chief judge of the 5th Circuit in 1961, Tuttle was involved in voters’ rights, civil liberties, desegregation and discrimination cases throughout that decade. In 1981 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg calls Emanuel’s book a thorough and engaging account of an extraordinary life.
“For those interested in America's racial history and transformation, this book is a must—a tour de force, covering not just Tuttle but the often violent times he lived in,” Totenberg wrote.
The event is co-sponsored by Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, (the current incarnation of the firm Tuttle co-founded) and The University of Georgia Press.