MICHAEL KLARMAN, Harvard Law School, author of “From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality”

“Schmidt, one of our most talented young legal historians, has written an engaging and fast-paced narrative of one of the civil rights movement’s epic events: the sit-in demonstrations. Thoroughly researched and convincingly argued, Schmidt’s book is a model of the ‘new’ legal history: He demonstrates how ordinary Americans shape the development of constitutional law and how the sundry interactions of diverse institutions influence constitutional change in unpredictable ways. The sit-in movement finally has the legal history it deserves.”

RISA L. GOLUBOFF, dean, University of Virginia School of Law

“Schmidt has written the definitive legal treatment of the sit-in movement of the 1960s. He masterfully weaves together the social, political, and legal history of the transformative protests of the brave African American college students who challenged Jim Crow. Schmidt is unafraid to look at the messiness of the law—the confusions, gaps, and inconsistencies that most scholars try to neaten up. There is conflict here, and that conflict is deeply illuminating. The Sit-Ins tells a fascinating story that adds much to our understanding of the relationship between law and social movements, the role of popular constitutionalism outside the courts, and the meaning of the Constitution itself.”

DAVID L. HUDSONFreedom Forum Institute

“A brilliant new book …. The book should be required reading for anyone who wants to learn more about the role of law in the civil rights movement and how law interacts with social protest.”