...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Give a Thought to your Heroes
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (1)
Share on Facebook
So the other day in writing about the postage stamps that I was all excited about, I talked about the block of stamps honoring those who’d fought for, died in, upheld, witnessed the Civil Rights Movement. And I thought about talking about some of my heroes from that time – like Robert Parris Moses who now runs “The Algebra Project” and like Ella Baker, Jo Ann Robinson, and Rosa Parks and the women who organized and who risked their lives in the struggle. I find myself using language like that – “the struggle” when I think back because that’s how it was. And courage is one of my big things – I admire it so, and read about it and wonder about it. I read about the “righteous Gentiles” and the Freedom Riders and wonder.

And today I saw in the paper that Constance Baker Motley has died. Damn. She was one of my heroes too.

Constance Baker Motley – as I just looked her up on the National women’s all of fame (D)O go! Cool site!) As a lawyer, she was instrumental in working on civil rights issues, arguing before the Supreme Court ten times and apparently won 9 out of 10 cases. She worked on Brown v Board of Education, working for Thurgood Marshall in his position with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. And she was the lead attorney for James Meredith when he integrated “Ole Miss”. She was the first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate. First woman, first African-American to serve as Manhattan Borough President (to most of us outside New York, this means little but MAN is it a powerful position). In 1966 she was appointed as a federal court judge by LBJ.

As a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, (she became Chief Judge in 1982, and in ’86 gained “senior status” whatever that means) it says on a website) she wrote opinions that I remember reading and using for my THESIS, written in 1975. My Master’s thesis involved prisoners’ rights, which focused on a 1974 Supreme Court Case. Thrilling, no? But seriously, what she did had an impact on this country in ways we just don’t know.

She had just passed her 84th birthday when she died on September 28, yesterday; the UK’s newspaper the Guardian ntes that she would have celebrated 40 years on the bench in 2006.

She was, in activist terms, in civil rights terms, in humanitarian terms, hot stuff.

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.