People Out of Place: A Constitutional History of the Long 60s lecture by Dr. Risa Goluboff write up

Submitted by LHRC on Wed, 02/12/2014 - 09:43

On January 14, 2014 the GWU History Department presented a guest lecture by Dr. Risa Goluboff entitled “People Out of Place: A Constitutional History of the Long 60s”.  Dr. Goluboff is a historian of civil rights, labor and constitutional law at the University of Virginia.  She spoke to a group of GW students and faculty gathered in the Teamsters Labor History Research Center.  Her lecture focused on how U.S. vagrancy laws were used historically to oppress and control marginalized people and how challenges to those laws eventually resulted in their being struck from the books, particularly after the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision declaring vagrancy laws unconstitutional.   For Dr. Goluboff the lens of vagrancy laws brings into focus the social and legal history of the 1960s.  Vagrancy laws were generally vague and addressed a person’s status not his or her behavior.  After the laws were removed states replaced them with more specific laws such as loitering with criminal intent or disorderly conduct.  Twenty-five people attended Dr. Goluboff’s lecture.