If you live long enough, you will see a lot; things that you thought would never come to fruition.
When you are young, events that occur don’t have as much impact upon your psyche. Maybe it is because we lack the maturity to understand them.
For example, segregation happened when I was a child. In fact, I am a product of it. I went to segregated schools. I can’t honestly say that I understood the ramifications of it.
There were reasons why children like me did not feel the sting of segregation. First and foremost, we felt love and had love in the East Winston section of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
We had good teachers and received a good education. Our parents inspired us each day to achieve. Our faith leaders gave us a spiritual underpinning that never left us.
Leaving home and going to college was a defining moment for me. My eyes saw the social injustices of the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement was prominent during this part of my life.
I understood more fully the hate that racism brought. The physical and emotional pain were on full display. Men and women were killed because they wanted a better life for us.
The sacrifices they made were the moral ingredients that changed laws and gave us hope.
America became familiar with the names of Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, and Adam Clayton Powell. There were many others in this fight for freedom.
If you were around and socially conscious during the ‘60s and ‘70s, you knew what was happening in this country. Many of us attended rallies and volunteered when we could.
During this era, the Supreme Court was made up of 9 white men. I always thought that was the way it would always be.
I was never so happy to be wrong.
Thurgood Marshall was the first African American male to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. He served from October 1967 until October 1991.
He argued as a lawyer before the Supreme Court, with the case being Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The high court ruled that state laws establishing racial segregation were unconstitutional.
Justice Thurgood Marshall was a role model for men and women of color who wanted to pursue a career in law. I believe many of my attorney friends were influenced by him in some way.
Now, America is gearing up for another first on the U.S. Supreme Court. If all goes well, we will have the first African American woman on the nation’s highest court.
During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden promised that if elected he would nominate an African American woman. He is now keeping his promise.
The stage is set. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement at the White House.
He said, “I enormously appreciate the privilege of serving as part of the federal judicial system-nearly 14 years as a Court of Appeals Judge and nearly 28 years as a Member of the Supreme Court.”
He added that the work has been challenging and meaningful.
This will be a defining moment in the presidency of Joe Biden. Some will say his pathway is clear. I will say that I am cautiously optimistic. I heard someone say once that it’s not over until it’s over.
Excitement and anticipation loom large regarding the President’s choice. Who will it be?
President Biden said, “The person that I nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.”
February is Black History Month, and a Black woman will be nominated for the Supreme Court. Sometimes life brings about such compelling moments that you are left speechless.
This is one of those moments.