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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson quotes Maya Angelou: 'I am the dream and the hope of a slave'

Business Insider
Business Insider
 2022-04-08

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wipes away tears on Friday as she speaks at a White House event honoring her historic Supreme Court confirmation.
  • Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson quoted Maya Angelou saying she is "the dream and the hope of the slave."
  • Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • "In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States," she said.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson gave a soaring speech on Friday to mark her Supreme Court confirmation, quoting Maya Angelou's famous words in saying that she too was "the dream and the hope of the slave."

"We have come a long way toward perfecting our union," Jackson said, echoing President Lincoln's famous words. "In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Angelou's words come from "Still I Rise," a poem from one of her most famous works.

Jackson called it an "honor of a lifetime" to become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she once clerked for, after he retires later this summer.

"It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States," Jackson said. "But we've made it!"

The historic nature of the moment was impossible to miss. Jackson delivered her remarks on the South Lawn of the White House, a building that was partially constructed by enslaved people, as First Lady Michelle Obama famously reminded Americans . Jackson was flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to hold the office, and President Joe Biden.

Jackson thanked her parents, "who attended racially segregated schools growing up," as she put into perspective her confirmation and what it means for the nation. She also credited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Constance Baker Motley, and many others "who did the heavy lifting that made this day possible."

"And for all of the talk about this historic nomination and now confirmation, I think of them as the true path-breakers," Jackson said. "I am the just the very lucky first inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all."

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Comments / 258

The Viking
04-09

How can she feel proud knowing that she was only picked because of her gender and race. It’s like getting a participation trophy. She never would have even been considered based on her accomplishments.

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128
John Smith
04-09

a biological female that has given birth to two biological females, can't define what a woman is, but she is going to be one of the most important opinions in women's rights?

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115
James Dunn
04-09

Very sad day for America . She is a racist and on top of that not qualified for the job . Noticed she said she is African American instead of American . The woman doesn’t even know what she is .

Reply(2)
64

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