will, in my view, be a far more meaningful and humbling experience. 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. 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. 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. 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. At the Convention he objected that The progress has been dramatic, and it will continue. And so again at the Constitutional Convention eloquent objections to the institution of slavery went unheeded, and its opponents eventually consented to a document which laid a foundation for the tragic events that were to follow. Thurgood Marshall 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. He opposed slavery and the counting of slaves in determining the basis for representation in Congress. 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. These omissions were intentional. “To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy." 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. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy. The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. July 4, 1992. 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. 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. 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787). 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. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of "liberty," "justice," and "equality," and who strived to better them. May 8, 1981. But the effects of the Framers' compromise have remained for generations. 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. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. The final draft adopted in 1776 did not contain this criticism. 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. 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787). Along the way, new constitutional principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society. I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever "fixed" at the Philadelphia Convention. Like many anniversary celebrations, the plan for 1987 takes particular events and holds them up as the source of all the very best that has followed. “We the People” included, in the words of the Framers, “the whole Number of free Persons.” United States Constitution, Art. See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). Thurgood Marshall Award. 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. In the meantime, blacks joined America’s military to fight its wars and invested untold hours working in its factories and on its farms, contributing to the development of this country’s magnificent wealth and waiting to share in its prosperity. 11, 222 (New Haven, Conn., 1911). He opposed slavery and the counting of slaves in determining the basis for representation in Congress. 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." On December 8, 1953 Thurgood Marshall, the chief legal counsel … Read More(1953) Thurgood Marshall, “Argument Before the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. … 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. 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…. Name: _____ Date: _____This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of theconstitutional bicentennial celebration. 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. “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” 4. On August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. A Commission has been established to coordinate the celebration. 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. In the meantime, blacks joined America's military to fight its wars and invested untold hours working in its factories and on its farms, contributing to the development of this country's magnificent wealth and waiting to share in its prosperity. 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. They arose from the contradiction between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice,” and “equality,” and who strived to better them. 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. 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 Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States July 4, 1992 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA. What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America’s history in determining the condition of Negroes. 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. 3. 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. 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. 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. The official meetings, essay contests, and festivities have begun. In fact, he wrote the final draft of the Constitution, the very document the bicentennial will commemorate. Established by the American Bar Association and the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice in 1992, the Thurgood Marshall Award honors U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. Responsibility edited by Mark V. Tushnet ; foreword by Randall Kennedy. [N]o one seems to have doubted the correctness of the prevailing opinion of the time.”, 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. 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. 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. of the “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. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. The progress has been dramatic, and it will continue. During his 14-year tenure on the Court, Justice Marshall sided with the freedom of speech and the press in several landmark cases which set the precedent for the modern interpretation of the First Amendment we are familiar … 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). United States Constitution, Art. The 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920). It took a bloody. 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. 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