Civil rights leader and legislator Lloyd A. Barbee frequently signed his correspondence with "Justice for All," a phrase that embodied his life’s work of fighting for equality and fairness. An attorney most remembered for the landmark case that desegregated Milwaukee Public Schools in 1972, Barbee stood up for justice throughout his career, from defending University of Wisconsin students who were expelled after pushing the school to offer black history courses, to representing a famous comedian who was arrested after stepping out of a line at a protest march. As the only African American in the Wisconsin legislature from 1965 to 1977, Barbee advocated for fair housing, criminal justice reform, equal employment opportunities, women’s rights, and access to quality education for all, as well as being an early advocate for gay rights and abortion access.
This collection features Barbee’s writings from the front lines of the civil rights movement, along with his reflections from later in life on the challenges of legislating as a minority, the logistics of coalition building, and the value of moving the needle on issues that would outlast him. Edited by his daughter, civil rights lawyer Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten, these documents are both a record of a significant period of conflict and progress, as well as a resource on issues that continue to be relevant to activists, lawmakers, and educators.