In her new biography on Loren Miller (1903-67), historian Hassan covers the life of a man who was, by turns, a journalist, civil rights activist, attorney, and judge. Using archives from the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, the author traces Miller’s early childhood in a mixed-race family through his career as a municipal judge in Los Angeles. A considerable portion of the book describes the subject’s travels with Langston Hughes to Soviet Russia for a film on race relations in that country. Later chapters focus on Miller’s work as a civil rights attorney and his appearance with co-counsel Thurgood Marshall before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hassan’s attempt to capture the social and political atmosphere occasionally leads to overly long passages on minor .details, but she successfully explains how Miller was a key character in the civil rights struggle in America. – A recommended work that adds to the corpus of civil rights histories and offers a rich portrait of a central figure in the related struggle in California. John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston