From Cambridge University Press:
The term ‘civil rights’ has such a familiar presence in discussions about American politics and law that we tend to use it reflexively and intuitively, but rarely do we stop to think about what exactly we mean when we use the term and why certain uses strike us as right or wrong. In this book, Professor Christopher W. Schmidt tells the story of how Americans have fought over the meaning of civil rights from the Civil War through today. Through their struggles over what it means to live in a nation dedicated to protecting civil rights, each generation has given the label new life and new meaning. Civil Rights in America shows how the words we use to understand our world become objects of contestation and points of leverage for social, political, and legal action.