- Faith & Family
It was June 13, 1967, when President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court as an associate justice. Marshall, then solicitor general, had long been a voice for the voiceless and a sterling example of how Blacks, when given the opportunity, are just as equipped as whites to achieve greatness in their chosen fields.
We often speak of Marshall because of his role as the chief counsel of the NAACP and his success in arguing the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation case. He was our knight in shining armor, a negotiator of the highest caliber and a man that never stopped fighting for his Black sisters and brothers.
What’s more, Marshall refused to grow fat, rich and complacent in his seat of privilege and authority — in stark comparison to many of our so-called Black political leaders today. Instead, he remained unwaveringly committed to civil rights and liberties for all, free speech and the freedom of women to choose reproductive methods. And because he recognized that the poor and minorities were the least able to secure a fair trial, he was adamantly opposed to the death penalty. In his latter years, when the Court became increasingly conservative, he said, “Power, not reason, is the new currency of this country’s decision-making.”
The progress of Blacks in America was turned backwards when Clarence Thomas was tagged to replace Marshall on the Supreme Court. “Uncle Thomas” ironically benefited from affirmative action but led the fight against it. He voted on the side that gave free speech to corporations and allowed them to make unlimited donations to elections — paving the way for super PACs and subsequently diluting the vote of ordinary citizens. And he sides with those who support the death penalty.
In the days of Marshall, Blacks could count on the Supreme Court to protect our rights and remove barriers so that we could have greater access to the American Dream. We need another man or woman with Marshall’s fervor and character —someone that can help to free Blacks from our current nightmare.