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. While the Union survived the civil war, the Constitution did not. Thurgood Marshall delivered a speech on “The Legal Attack to Secure Civil Rights,” at the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Wartime Conference, in Chicago, Illinois, during July 1944. At Howard, where he was first in his class, he was mentored by Charles Houston, a professor and leader of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Speeches The Legal Attack to Secure Civil Rights. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). It is a pleasure to speak here on the anniversary of our Nation’s independence. Thurgood Marshall Speech delivered on September 6, 1990, before the Annual Judicial Conference of the Second Circuit, quoted in Supreme Justice Speeches and Writings Thurgood Marshall. I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer and civil rights activist who served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” 4. The Bicentennial Speech. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Thus, in this bicentennial year, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving fervor. 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.” Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, First Report, at 6 (September 17, 1985). They arose from the contradiction between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes. before the l3th Amendment could be adopted to abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would have for future Americans. 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787). 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. 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. May 6, 1987 – Thurgood Marshall Delivers His Famous “Bicentennial Speech” Posted on 05/06/2009 by rhapsodyinbooks Thurgood Marshall, born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, was the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. IV. 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. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. 1, 52 (Sept. 17, 1787). 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. 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. Independence Hall. 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. When contemporary Americans cite "The Constitution," they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago. Edited by J. Clay Smith, Jr. (2002). 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 … What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America’s history in determining the condition of Negroes. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave. 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. 11, 222 (New Haven, Conn., 1911). Thurgood Marshall Essay 1578 Words | 7 Pages. When contemporary Americans cite "The Constitution," they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago. 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. And yet Governor Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation. 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787). It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of "liberty," "justice," and "equality," and who strived to better them. 356 Views Program ID: 151490-1 Category: Public Affairs Event Format: Speech Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States First Aired: 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. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). 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…. Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland. of the The Sword and the Robe. 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 good possibility Kagan was quoting from a speech she wrote for Marshall. But the effects of the Framers' compromise have remained for generations. 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. May 8, 1981. 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. As a result of compromise, the right of the southern States to continue importing slaves was extended, officially, at least until 1808. Pennsylvania’s Governor Morris provides an example. Thurgood Marshall. The legal system can force open doors, and sometimes-even knock down walls, but it cannot build bridges. On August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He once admitted, “By the time I reached the second grade, I got tired of spelling all that out and had shortened it to Thurgood.” 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. Thus, in this bicentennial year, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving fervor. "The inhabitant of Georgia [or] South Carolina who goes to the coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their dearest connections and damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Government instituted for protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a Practice." (Lee Hulteng/KRT ... Reagan had used his State of the Union speech to laud the Constitution as … 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." Pennsylvania's Gouverneur Morris provides an example. Remarks on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago. 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.” Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, First Full Year’s Report, at 7 (September 1986). 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. 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." He earned an undergraduate degree from Lincoln University in 1930 and a law degree from Howard University Law School in 1933. 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 … Philadelphia, PA. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. 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. It was not the first such compromise. United States Constitution, Art. As someone who relishes the ability to do and say whatever I please, independence is a concept near and dear to my heart! 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. 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. "We the People" included, in the words of the Framers, "the whole Number of free Persons." Along the way, new constitutional principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society. They arose from the contradiction between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes. As someone who relishes the ability to do and say whatever I please, independence is a concept near and dear to my heart! The 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920). 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. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). In a time of flag waving and patriotic rhetoric, Marshall’s comments surprised many and created Front-page headlines: 1987 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution. Very few Supreme Court justices have championed the First Amendment as consistently as Thurgood Marshall, the Court’s first black justice. A Commission has been established to coordinate the celebration. THE BRETHREN and other books document this. But they nevertheless set an unfortunate example. That job belongs to you and me. “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. What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America's history in determining the condition of Negroes. Acceptance Speech. 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. Thurgood Marshall's Speech for Bicentennial of Constitution ... Marshall was notorious for allowing his Law Clerks to write his opinions. 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. 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. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. It was not the first such compromise. “Racism separates, but it never libera 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). 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. 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…. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave. We the People” no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the Framers. It took a bloody civil war before the l3th Amendment could be adopted to abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would have for future Americans. And yet Gouverneur Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation. 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 final draft adopted in 1776 did not contain this criticism. Remarks of Thurgood Marshall When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America's citizens. (60 U.S.) 393, 405, 407408 (1857). 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 … 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. 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. 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. 294 Copy quote History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice,” and “equality,” and who strived to better them. But the effects of the Framers’ compromise have remained for generations. 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. 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. Thurgood Marshall | 1998-2019 © Copyright. At the Convention he objected that Thurgood Marshall. 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 Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States July 4, 1992 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA. United States Constitution, Art. 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. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. Marshall later became chief counsel for the NAACP and argued numerous civil rights cases before the Suprem… This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. According to ThurgoodMarshall.com. Reflecting on his two decades on the Court and particularly on recent affirmative action rulings by the High Court, Justice Marshall reminded his audience that the United States had not yet achieved racial equality or as he termed it, a colorblind society. The official meetings, essay contests, and festivities have begun. Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate. 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 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. 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. United States Constitution, Art. The Equality Speech. 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