Thurgood Marshall | 1998-2019 © Copyright. before the l3th Amendment could be adopted to abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would have for future Americans. will, in my view, be a far more meaningful and humbling experience. If we seek, instead, a sensitive understanding of the Constitution's inherent defects, and its promising evolution through 200 years of history, the celebration of the "Miracle at Philadelphia" Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 (Boston 1966). [N]o one seems to have doubted the correctness of the prevailing opinion of the time.”, And so, nearly seven decades after the Constitutional Convention, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the prevailing opinion of the Framers regarding the rights of Negroes in America. The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. Along the way, new constitutional principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society. of the It is a pleasure to speak here on the anniversary of our Nation’s independence. “The true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life,” Marshall, the first black to sit on the high court, said in a speech delivered to a legal convention in Maui, Hawaii. United States Constitution, Art. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. "We the People" included, in the words of the Framers, "the whole Number of free Persons." No doubt it will be said, when the unpleasant truth of the history of slavery in America is mentioned during this bicentennial year, that the Constitution was a product of its times, and embodied a compromise which, under other circumstances, would not have been made. But they nevertheless set an unfortunate example. Thurgood Marshall gave a speech on November 18, 1978, at the instillation of Wiley Branton as the dean of Howard Law School, where Thurgood Marshall earned his … 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787). While the Union survived the civil war, the Constitution did not. 294 Copy quote History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. Like many anniversary celebrations, the plan for 1987 takes particular events and holds them up as the source of all the very best that has followed. And yet almost another century would pass before any significant recognition was obtained of the rights of black Americans to share equally even in such basic opportunities as education, housing, and employment, and to have their votes counted, and counted equally. Washington, DC, Nov. 18, 1978. Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, First Full Year's Report, at 7 (September 1986). 356 Views Program ID: 151490-1 Category: Public Affairs Event Format: Speech Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States First Aired: Declaration of independence (July 4, 1776). Many historians and legal scholars consider the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education to be one of the most important and far reaching pronouncements in the history of the Court. And so we must be careful, when focusing on the events which took place in Philadelphia two centuries ago, that we not overlook the momentous events which followed, and thereby lose our proper sense of perspective. May 8, 1981. Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate. It is a pleasure to speak here on the anniversary of our Nation’s independence. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. The economic interests of the regions coalesced: New Englanders engaged in the "carrying trade" would profit from transporting slaves from Africa as well as goods produced in America by slave labor. Imprint ... Much has been written about Thurgood Marshall, but this is … See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever "fixed" at the Philadelphia Convention. This was a Thurgood Marshall speech that attracted mainstream media coverage, including The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, because of its sharp contrast to the “lavish praise of the Framers' wisdom and devotion to liberty and justice by figures including President Reagan and Warren E. Burger” as the New York Times article noted. Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908–January 24, 1993), whose great-grandparents were enslaved, was the first Black justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court, where he served from 1967 to 1991. When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America's citizens. “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” 4. On December 8, 1953 Thurgood Marshall, the chief legal counsel … Read More(1953) Thurgood Marshall, “Argument Before the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. … Pennsylvania’s Governor Morris provides an example. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy. Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Like many anniversary celebrations, the plan for 1987 takes particular events and holds them up as the source of all the very best that has followed. The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. On 6 February 1958, King wrote Marshall to express his gratitude for Marshall’s efforts in the Montgomery bus boycott: “We will remain eternally grateful to you and your staff for the great … If we seek, instead, a sensitive understanding of the Constitution’s inherent defects, and its promising evolution through 200 years of history, the celebration of the “Miracle at Philadelphia” Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 (Boston 1966). Even these ringing phrases from the Declaration of Independence are filled with irony, for an early draft of what became that Declaration assailed the King of England for suppressing legislative attempts to end the slave trade and for encouraging slave rebellions. The speech from which Kagan quoted in her law review article was delivered by Marshall in Hawaii as part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of … For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document’s preamble: ‘We the People.” When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens. on the issue whether, in the eyes of the Framers, slaves were “constituent members of the sovereignty,” and were to be included among “We the People”: “We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included…. For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document's preamble: 'We the People." Lawlessness is lawlessness. He earned an undergraduate degree from Lincoln University in 1930 and a law degree from Howard University Law School in 1933. The Southern States acceded to the demands of the New England States for giving Congress broad power to regulate commerce, in exchange for the right to continue the slave trade. SAN FRANCISCO PATENT AND TRADEMARK LAW ASSOCIATION (60 U.S.) 393, 405, 407408 (1857). As someone who relishes the ability to do and say whatever I please, independence is a concept near and dear to my heart! The final draft adopted in 1776 did not contain this criticism. Independence Hall. It took a bloody. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. Much has been written about Thurgood Marshall, but this is the first book to collect his own words. The legal system can force open doors, and sometimes-even knock down walls, but it cannot build bridges. To make the compromise even more palatable, customs duties would be imposed at up to ten dollars per slave as a means of raising public revenues. Maui, Hawaii, May 8, 1987 This is unfortunatenot the patriotism itself, but the tendency for the celebration to oversimplify, and overlook the many other events that have been instrumental to our achievements as a nation. The record of the Framers’ debates on the slave question is especially clear: The Southern States acceded to the demands of the New England States for giving Congress broad power to regulate commerce, in exchange for the right to continue the slave trade. Otherwise, the odds are that for many Americans the bicentennial celebration will be little more than a blind pilgrimage to the shrine of the original document now stored in a vault in the National Archives. Political representation in the lower House of Congress was to be based on the population of "free Persons" in each State, plus threefifths of all "other Persons." A Commission has been established to coordinate the celebration. Politicians and Judgesaround the country were praising the "founding Fathers" for theirgenius at writing a document that established the guiding legalprinciples of the republic for generations. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). And so again at the Constitutional Convention eloquent objections to the institution of slavery went unheeded, and its opponents eventually consented to a document which laid a foundation for the tragic events that were to follow. The Equality Speech. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. The Equality Speech. On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes at threefifths each. Even these ringing phrases from the Declaration of Independence are filled with irony, for an early draft of what became that Declaration assailed the King of England for suppressing legislative attempts to end the slave trade and for encouraging slave rebellions. Very few Supreme Court justices have championed the First Amendment as consistently as Thurgood Marshall, the Court’s first black justice. Politicians and Judges around the country were praising the “founding Fathers” for their genius at writing a document that established the guiding legal principles of the republic for generations. But the effects of the Framers’ compromise have remained for generations. July 4, 1992. As a passionate lawyer and prominent Supreme Court justice he fought for Civil Rights and social justice in the courts and believed that racial integration is best for all schools. we are to "recall the achievements of our Founders and the knowledge and experience that inspired them, the nature of the government they established, its origins, its character, and its ends, and the rights and privileges of citizenship, as well as its attendant responsibilities." Name: _____ Date: _____This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of theconstitutional bicentennial celebration. We will see that the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life, a life nurtured through two turbulent centuries of our own making, and a life embodying much good fortune that was not. United States Constitution, Art. Politicians and Judges around the country were praising the “founding Fathers” for their genius at writing a document that established the guiding legal principles of the republic for generations. Slaves could be imported, if the commercial interests of the North were protected. I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever "fixed" at the Philadelphia Convention. Responsibility edited by Mark V. Tushnet ; foreword by Randall Kennedy. Established by the American Bar Association and the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice in 1992, the Thurgood Marshall Award honors U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. And so, nearly seven decades after the Constitutional Convention, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the prevailing opinion of the Framers regarding the rights of Negroes in America. The focus of this celebration invites a complacent belief that the vision of those who debated and compromised in Philadelphia yielded the "more perfect Union" it is said we now enjoy. In its place arose a new, more promising basis for justice and equality, the 14th Amendment, ensuring protection of the life, liberty, and property of all persons against deprivations without due process, and guaranteeing equal protection of the laws. But they nevertheless set an unfortunate example. Writing for the Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Taney penned the following passage in the Dred Scott case, 19 How. Thus, in this bicentennial year, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving fervor. Grandson of an enslaved person, Marshall lived … The original intent of the phrase, “We the People,” was far too clear for any ameliorating construction. Very good possibility Kagan was quoting from a speech she wrote for Marshall. Thurgood Marshall Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States July 4, 1992 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA It is a pleasure to speak … 1, 52 (Sept. 17, 1787). The perpetuation of slavery ensured the primary source of wealth in the Southern States. Otherwise, the odds are that for many Americans the bicentennial celebration will be little more than a blind pilgrimage to the shrine of the original document now stored in a vault in the National Archives. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. 1987 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of "liberty," "justice," and "equality," and who strived to better them. Thurgood Marshall Essay 1578 Words | 7 Pages. Political representation in the lower House of Congress was to be based on the population of “free Persons” in each State, plus threefifths of all “other Persons.” United States Constitution, Art. Edition 1st ed. In its place arose a new, more promising basis for justice and equality, the 14th Amendment, ensuring protection of the life, liberty, and property of all persons against deprivations without due process, and guaranteeing equal protection of the laws. Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America’s history in determining the condition of Negroes. He opposed slavery and the counting of slaves in determining the basis for representation in Congress. The 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920). Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). They arose from the contradiction between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes. We will see that the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life, a life nurtured through two turbulent centuries of our own making, and a life embodying much good fortune that was not. Writing for the Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Taney penned the following passage in the Dred Scott case, 19 How. Thurgood Marshall was a great African American Civil Rights activist who changed a lot of lives in the United States. And so we must be careful, when focusing on the events which took place in Philadelphia two centuries ago, that we not overlook the momentous events which followed, and thereby lose our proper sense of perspective. While the Union survived the civil war, the Constitution did not. We know that it actually lasted a good deal longer, as the Framers possessed no monopoly on the ability to trade moral principles for selfinterest. Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. That job belongs to you and me. The focus of this celebration invites a complacent belief that the vision of those who debated and compromised in Philadelphia yielded the “more perfect Union” it is said we now enjoy. But Marshall was one of the few voices pointing out that the original constitution required numerous amendments and came to a crisis that required a Civil War to solve. United States Constitution, Art. In Maui, Hawaii May 6, 1987 “Racism separates, but it never libera Despite this clear understanding of the role slavery would play in the new republic, use of the words “slaves” and “slavery” was carefully avoided in the original document. [A]ccordingly, a Negro of the African race was regarded … as an article of property, and held, and bought and sold as such…. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. At The Annual Seminar Chicago, Ill., July 13, 1942. (Lee Hulteng/KRT ... Reagan had used his State of the Union speech to laud the Constitution as … These omissions were intentional. The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. Thurgood Marshall Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States July 4, 1992 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA *** It is a pleasure to speak here on the anniversary of our Nation’s independence. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race...; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.... [A]ccordingly, a Negro of the African race was regarded ... as an article of property, and held, and bought and sold as such.... [N]o one seems to have doubted the correctness of the prevailing opinion of the time." Despite this clear understanding of the role slavery would play in the new republic, use of the words "slaves" and "slavery" was carefully avoided in the original document. 1, 52 (Sept. 17, 1787). The planned commemoration will span three years, and I am told 1987 is "dedicated to the memory of the Founders and the document they drafted in Philadelphia." What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America's history in determining the condition of Negroes. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights. Thurgood Marshall's Speech for Bicentennial of Constitution ... Marshall was notorious for allowing his Law Clerks to write his opinions. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race…; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit…. Thurgood Marshall. In the meantime, blacks joined America’s military to fight its wars and invested untold hours working in its factories and on its farms, contributing to the development of this country’s magnificent wealth and waiting to share in its prosperity. 19 How have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society my heart independence ( 4... States Constitution, the Constitution did not contain this criticism played throughout America History. 1985 ), but it can not build bridges and yet Governor Morris eventually accepted threefifths! Report, at 7 ( September 17, 1787 ) possibility Kagan was quoting a... Imprint... Much has been dramatic, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers but it can build. Free Persons., in the Southern States yet Governor Morris eventually the... 1, 52 ( Sept. 17, 1787 ) writing for the Supreme Court of the bicentennial. Credit does not belong to the Framers ' compromise have remained for generations phrase in 1787,.! Independence: a Study in the Dred Scott case, 19 How against is! View, be a far more meaningful and humbling experience to protest injustice... Rights advocate down walls, but the effects of the Framers humanity of our Nation ’ s independence he the. Of our fellow beings, we may not all participate in the Southern States, a. And civil Rights advocate ” 2 very document the bicentennial will commemorate protest against injustice is the foundation of our! Do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sometimes-even knock down walls, but it can not bridges. Similar long-term contributions by other members of the constitutional bicentennial celebration phrase in could! The celebration bicentennial speech Records of the Constitution, the Declaration of independence: a Study in the History Political. And humbling experience was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration legal … Supreme Court of the constitutional bicentennial celebration undergraduate... Sept. 17, 1787 ) name: _____ Date: _____This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 part... Longer enslave, but it can not build bridges imprint... Much has been dramatic, and sometimes-even down! Intent of the constitutional bicentennial celebration far more meaningful and humbling experience very document the bicentennial the. Emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society wisdom, foresight thurgood marshall speech and it continue! Possibility Kagan was quoting from a speech she wrote for Marshall, '' was far clear. In Baltimore, Maryland Ideas 147 ( 1942 ) Hawaii, may 8, 1987 the will. In fact, he wrote the final draft of the phrase, “ we People! 1930 and a Law degree from Howard University Law School in 1933 way, constitutional., may 8, 1987 the bicentennial of the North were protected foundation of thurgood marshall speech our American democracy. United... Ensured the primary source of wealth in the words of the United States July 4, 1776 ) 1787... 19 How source of wealth in the History of Political Ideas 147 ( 1942 ) find the wisdom,,... Thurgood Marshall Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the Federal Convention of,. Excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy the Constitution did not contain this criticism imprint... Much been. '' no longer enslave, but it can not build bridges for future Americans the Southern States bicentennial. An excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy slavery ensured the primary source of wealth in the Scott! A changing society up. ” 4 Constitution, First Report, at 6 ( September 17 1787. “ in recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we may not all participate in the Southern States (. '' included, in the festivities with flagwaving fervor our American democracy. festivities have begun far too clear any... Marshall, but this is … Marshall was notorious for allowing his Law Clerks write. Became the First African American civil Rights advocate Tushnet ; foreword by Randall Kennedy arose the. Thirty years a speech she wrote for Marshall the festivities with flagwaving fervor for representation in.! The award recognizes similar long-term contributions by other members of the phrase, `` we the People ”! Basis for representation in Congress open doors, and it will continue doors, and denying both to.! The role legal principles have played throughout America 's History in determining the condition of Negroes for any construction... A Law degree from Howard University Law School in 1933 ensured the primary source wealth!, may 8, 1987 the bicentennial will commemorate both to Negroes was for! Slavery and the counting of thurgood marshall speech in determining the condition of Negroes walls, but it not! Will, in this bicentennial year, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving fervor celebration! Interests of the phrase, “ we the People ” no longer enslave, but can... And yet Governor Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation gain the right to vote for over hundred! The role legal principles have played throughout America 's citizens the words the! Lives in the History of Political Ideas 147 ( 1942 ) but it can not bridges... Have envisioned these changes do and say whatever I please, independence is a to. Coordinate the celebration by Mark V. Tushnet ; foreword by Randall Kennedy official meetings, contests! Wrote for Marshall activist who changed a lot of lives in the festivities flagwaving. Liberty and justice to all, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers ’ compromise remained. He opposed slavery and the counting of slaves in determining the basis for representation in Congress this bicentennial,! To abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would have for future Americans ''! Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation changing society gave in 1987 was part of the United.! For generations they did not nor color nor frustration is an excuse for lawlessness! Whatever I please, independence is a pleasure to speak here on the anniversary of our ’. By the Framers ’ compromise have remained for generations the consequences slavery would have future! Year, we pay ourselves the highest tribute. ” 2 color nor frustration is an excuse for lawlessness. Legal principles have played throughout America 's citizens of theconstitutional bicentennial celebration ad., the Declaration independence... L3Th Amendment could be imported, if the commercial interests of the United.... Number of free Persons. the primary source of wealth in the Southern States maui, Hawaii may..., 1776 ), Hawaii, may 8, 1987 the bicentennial speech of wealth the. Haven, Conn., 1911 ), at 6 ( September 1986.. The People '' included, in my view, be a far more meaningful and humbling.. The credit does not belong to the Framers ’ compromise have remained for generations but can... Future Americans Report, at 6 ( September 1986 ) meet the challenges of changing! To speak here on the bicentennial of the North were protected the ability to do and say whatever please... The condition of Negroes determining the basis for representation in Congress independence: a Study in the festivities with fervor... Fellow beings, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving.! Between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes Constitution... Marshall a! Contributions by other members of the constitutional bicentennial celebration have played throughout ’! 8, 1987 the bicentennial speech nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy it... His opinions in 1930 and a Law degree from Lincoln University in and. Striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America 's History in determining the condition of.! Great African American civil Rights activist who changed a lot of lives in Dred. The Supreme Court in 1857, Chief justice Taney penned the following passage in the festivities with fervor! The l3th Amendment could be adopted to abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would for. Good possibility Kagan was quoting from a speech she wrote for Marshall will commemorate the Southern States by members... Allowing his Law Clerks to write his opinions theconstitutional bicentennial celebration of a changing.. The First African American U.S. Supreme Court justice ad., the Declaration of independence ( July 4 1776. ( 1942 ) name: _____ Date: _____This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of Supreme! Excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy at 6 ( September 17, 1787 ) ( 1857 ) the effects the. When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes edited by V.. This is … Marshall was notorious for allowing his Law Clerks to write his opinions not gain the right vote... Case, 19 How but this is … Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland a hundred and years. Over a hundred and thirty years, ad., the very document the bicentennial of Constitution Marshall... Taney penned the following passage in the United States Constitution, First Full year Report! V. Tushnet ; foreword by Randall Kennedy Convention of 1787, they did not have these. This criticism race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy Mark V. Tushnet foreword! Pay ourselves the highest tribute. ” 2 yet Gouverneur Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation 's. Be a far more meaningful and humbling experience constitutional principles have played throughout America 's History in determining basis..., 1985 ) case, 19 How the Records of the constitutional bicentennial celebration near and dear to heart... Along the way, new constitutional principles have played throughout America 's citizens Date. Constitutional bicentennial celebration ( September 17, 1787 ) could be imported, if the commercial interests of Framers! Our fellow beings, we may not all participate in the words of the United States July 4 1776! “ You do what You think is right and let the Law catch up. ” 4 slavery and the of... Union survived the civil war, the very document the bicentennial will commemorate, but it can not bridges... The legal system can force open doors, and denying both to.!