Jackson’s speech highlights US race struggles, progress

Apr 8, 2022, 2:25 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris applaud Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Jackson...

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris applaud Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Jackson speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 8, 2022, celebrating the confirmation of Jackson as the first Black woman to reach the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

With those words, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson acknowledged both the struggles and progress of Black Americans in her lifetime.

Her words, delivered from the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, one day after her historic Senate confirmation, were a tribute to generations of Black Americans who she said paved the way for her elevation to the nation’s highest court.

“I have now achieved something far beyond anything my grandparents could have possibly ever imagined,” Jackson said, noting they had gained only grade school educations before starting their family and later sending their children to racially segregated schools.

“The path was cleared for me, so that I might rise to this occasion,” she said. “And in the poetic words of Dr. Maya Angelou, I do so now.”

Quoting Angelou’s famous poem, “And Still I Rise,” Jackson added: “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”

Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who was a prominent surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, said Jackson’s speech was an awe-inspiring reminder of how far Black Americans have come amid their ongoing struggle.

“Expressing that realization out loud for all of the world to hear, as she is about to take her place as the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, was just magnificent,” said Turner.

“It is vitally important that we, as Black people, continue to remind this nation from whence we came,” she said. “The pain that it took to get to a ‘Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’ could not be understated.”

Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said that she has been lucky on her path to the high court. Although her arrival breaks one of the remaining racial barriers in American democracy, many Black Americans still struggle to surmount systemic blocks.

She namechecked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights icon, as well as Black federal judicial trailblazers such as Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Constance Baker Motley, thanking them for their leadership and role modeling.

“For all of the talk of this historic nomination and now confirmation, I think of them as the true path breakers,” Jackson said. “I’m just the very lucky first inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all.”

Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, watched Jackson’s speech from the White House lawn as an invited guest on Friday. With the sun shining through clouds over Washington, there was a palpable joy in the crowd over what Jackson symbolizes for the country, she said.

“It just felt like the ancestors were dancing.”

“I can see myself, in now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Campbell added. “(Jackson) understands the significance of this moment for Black women, for women, for the nation. And it is a game changer.”

Others watching the speech also noted the diversity at the event and the image at the center — President Joe Biden flanked by the first Black female Supreme Court justice and the first Black and Asian American vice president.

Just before Vice President Kamala Harris introduced the president, she gushed over what Jackson’s confirmation will one day mean to her young, Black goddaughter.

“When I presided over the Senate confirmation vote yesterday, while I was sitting there, I drafted a note to my goddaughter,” Harris said. “I told her that I felt such a deep sense of pride and joy about what this moment means for our nation and for her future.”

Speaking directly to Jackson, Harris added: “And I will tell you, her braids are just a little longer than yours.”

Although the occasion will be noted in history books as a symbol of racial progress, Turner said Jackson’s elevation to the Supreme Court should be celebrated by Americans of all races and creeds.

“Not only should the entire Black community be proud, the entire country should be proud because this has certainly been a long time coming,” she said. “And from this victory, we certainly have an opportunity to continue to build and create more victories. We’re not done yet.”

___

Aaron Morrison writes about race and justice for the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - SAS planes are grounded at Oslo Gardermoen airport during pilots strikes, in Oslo, Friday, A...
Associated Press

Carrier SAS files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The move adds to the likelihood of travel chaos across Europe as the summer vacation period begins. The Stockholm-based group said it […]
3 hours ago
A Somali man carries a child as he and others who fled drought-stricken areas arrive at a makeshift...
Associated Press

Ukraine’s shadow: Deadly crises like Somalia starved of aid

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — More than two dozen children have died of hunger in the past two months in a single hospital in Somalia. Dr. Yahye Abdi Garun has watched their emaciated parents stumble in from rural areas gripped by the driest drought in decades. And yet no humanitarian aid arrives. Shortly after Russia invaded […]
3 hours ago
FILE- Sri Lanka's new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with The Ass...
Associated Press

Sri Lanka PM says talks with IMF difficult due to bankruptcy

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are more complex and difficult than in the past because it is a bankrupt nation, the country’s prime minister said Tuesday. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told lawmakers that recent discussions with a visiting IMF mission were fruitful but not as straightforward as […]
3 hours ago
Associated Press

IEA: High prices, uncertainty will slow growth in gas demand

BERLIN (AP) — The International Energy Agency says high prices for natural gas and supply fears due to the war in Ukraine will slow the growth in demand for the fossil fuel in the coming years. In a report published Tuesday, the Paris-based agency forecast global demand for natural gas will rise by 140 billion […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. After the ...
Associated Press

Companies could face hurdles covering abortion travel costs

After the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the federal right to an abortion that’s been in place for half a century, companies like Amazon, Disney, Apple and JP Morgan pledged to cover travel costs for employees who live in states where the procedure is now illegal so they can terminate pregnancies. But the companies gave scant […]
3 hours ago
70-year-old Valentyna Klymenko, who lives alone in her war-damaged building from Russian aerial bom...
Associated Press

Ukrainians displaced near Kyiv fear for war-damaged homes

BORODYANKA, Ukraine (AP) — Valentyna Klymenko tries to return home as late as possible to avoid the darkness of her war-damaged home outside Ukraine’s capital. She visits friends, goes to the well for water or looks for a place to charge her phone. The 70-year-old Klymenko then returns alone to an apartment that used to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Jackson’s speech highlights US race struggles, progress