Sixty-eight years ago on a brisk late fall morning, December 8, 1953, the course of American History was changed as a team of legal experts from the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People (NAACP) The team’s talent had been nurtured by the late Dean of Howard University Law School, Charles Houston. These men and women lawyers had been put through hundreds of moot court proceedings arguing the merits of the case that was to be presented that morning in front of the nine Supreme Court Justices. These lawyers had been tried and tested by the injustices of Jim Crow America but were still standing. Especially, Thurgood Marshall who was heading the legal team that morning presenting before the highest court in the land. Mr. Marshall had been put through the wringers of white racial hatred from seemingly all regions of this nation’s White Americans. This wasn’t Mr. Marshall’s first rodeo and he surely was about to be thrown off his saddle by level of hatred that was evident in the nation this particular Tuesday morning.
As Thurgood Marshall and his legal team approached the doors of the highest court in the land on December 8, 1953 the pressures of segregation was threatening to rip this nation asunder. At issue the doctrine of separate but equal between the races of black and white was being challenged. This national doctrine was established by the Supreme Court ruling Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896, which mandated that segregation of the races was the law of the land. This race-driven doctrine, however, was being challenged by Oliver Brown and the NAACP against the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas. You see segregation of the public schools was not only within the bounds of the laws of this nation but it had been legally endorsed by the highest courts and laws in the land. So from Beacon Hill to Stone Mountain Georgia, from the Nation’s Capitol to the ex-capitol of Dixie, Richmond, Virginia, from Dallas to Detroit, from the despair of Clarendon County, South Carolina ton outright bigotry of Topeka, Kansas, from every molehill and township, every city and county of the supposed international democratic symbol of freedom of the world, racial segregation ran supreme and racial bigotry festered every second of every day in the United States of America.
However, on this day, December 8, 1953, a tall lanky 32-year-old attorney from my hometown Baltimore City, Maryland who was raised in the bastion of Maryland segregation stepped before those nine jurists of the Supreme Court and made his plea, the plea for the millions of our ancestors caught in the evil web of racial segregation to end this travesty of injustice. Thurgood Marshall, understood the stakes of this battle. It was a battle for the very soul of America. It was indeed a righteous battle and Thurgood Marshall and his team of legal experts were on the right side of justice. The call was simply this for once America’s judicial system must rule for the abolishment of segregation in all public schools in this country. The Chief Justice Fred Vinson and those 8 jurist hear the argument but Earl Warren and 8 jurist would rule on May 17, 1954 that Thurgood Marshall’s argument was a just one. What follows on my blog today’s in their words my voice, are the words spoken on December 8, 1953, by the late, great, dynamic, and honorable former Justice of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall. Who on that Tuesday, December 8th morning represented every black person in the United States who was suffering, or had suffered by this vicious mandate racial injustice that was allowed to grow like a cancerous infection without treatment. This disease of racial hatred was killing this nation from the inside out and had to stop.
Now 68 years later the disease of racial hatred and bigotry continues unabated and the American Lie of equal justice for all is still a myth as the gaps of disparity widen and generations of people of color fall into the malaise of hopelessness, when will America live up to the creed of equality of all races? Certainly, when Thurgood Marshall stood at that Supreme Court podium 68 years ago he surely expected that this situation would have resolved itself by now. When will America face up to its stained history and fix this thing? When will that broken promise of equality that existed on December 8, 1953, be mended?