Political institutions since the seventeenth century have shaped the meaning of race in the United States. In turn, attempts to maintain or change the significance of race have shaped those institutions, and all phases of the political process. Today, in some ways as much as ever, U.S. society is fundamentally marked by racial inequality. And race, politics, and law continue to be intertwined. This course explores the legal consequences of racial inequality and efforts to overcome it, using relations between blacks and whites (African-Americans and European-Americans and all of those in-between) as a focal point. However, we will also examine the plight of Latino Americans, the most populous minority group in this country. Throughout the semester, we will pay particular attention to the causes of contemporary racial mobilization and its consequences.