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Judge Jackson’s long journey to the court — and ours

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10.04.2022

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

Sometimes history can be summed up in a single sentence of naked simplicity. But there were all kinds of complex elements squeezed in between every vowel and consonant in that declaration by incoming Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on Friday in a ceremony on the White House South Lawn.

Jackson will become the first Black woman to serve on the highest court in the land — and the fervent applause she received after delivering that line was a powerful homage to both her journey and that of the country she serves.

But to understand the full importance of her ascent you need to dwell on the word that sits like a leaden anchor at the center of that sentence: segregation.

Jackson was born in 1970, when the victories of the civil rights movement were beginning to manifest themselves in housing, employment, sports, education and entertainment. But racial divisions remained stark after decades of legally sanctioned segregation that followed 250 years of legal enslavement of Blacks.

Because neither the passage of laws nor the dismantling of racial codes erased the deeply ingrained narrative of racial inferiority. America had long been invested in the separation of races and, to be more specific, the automatic........

© Washington Post


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