On November 4, 2008, Americans went to the polls and elected the first black president in the history of the United States. Barack Obama was clearly a gifted politician with impressive achievements and a compelling life story. Still, his historic election wouldn't have been possible if earlier generations of African Americans hadn't paved the way. This book tells the stories of pioneering African-American lawyers and politicians. It details their efforts to guarantee black people the same rights enjoyed by other Americans, including the right to vote. In courtrooms, statehouses, and the halls of Congress, the people profiled in this book have helped make the United States what the framers of the Constitution hoped: "a more perfect Union."