Black History Month for me was always special. At our school we had special programs and even better was all the programs we had at church each year. There were the plays, poetry readings and guest speakers. The concerts featuring special music show cased the talents of so many including my sister.
Growing up my heroes were Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm. I was in high school and college when they took their places in the Democratic Party and changed it forever. So I really think it is time to make history and appoint and African-American female to the Supreme Court. The first African-American female Supreme Court appointee will be a special person. I often think she would have to be an incarnation of these two great women. Each woman would so eloquently pass the scrutiny of this Congress. Could you imagine either one of them face to face with the members of Congress.
Barbara Jordan was a lawyer and an educator who rose through the ranks and to my memory gave one of the best keynote speeches ever heard at any political convention. I was in my first year of college and getting ready to vote in my first election. We had hoped she would be the first black female to be appointed to the Carter Administration as US Attorney General but that did not happen. It was a dream “deferred.” Nevertheless, she went on to greatness.
Shirley Chisholm was another trailblazing woman. She was not a lawyer but an educator. A great teacher and advocate for equal education and employment opportunities. She went on to have a historic political career. She awed us all by having the courage and commitment to run for president in 1972. I was still just in high school. She was passionate about her campaign and each speech rallied our support. We all felt empowered by her eloquence and determination to make a difference. Another “dream deferred.”
Now, other heroic African-American women have made their way through the ranks by doing excellent work and making a difference. They are waiting for the chance to courageously step forward. It is the time for one of these African-American females to take a seat on the Supreme Court. Leah Ward Sears, former justice on the Georgia Supreme Court, wrote that the ideal Supreme Court Justice should have a strong character, be a visionary and be a patriotic American. There are African-American women who have the courage and the sense of justice that is needed.
This is a significant moment in time and President Obama has the once in a lifetime opportunity to fulfill those dreams and hopes that Barbara Jordan referred to at the 1976 Democratic National Convention and Shirley Chisholm expressed when she had the courage to run for president. More importantly, these are the dreams and hopes of all those little girls who were empowered by two courageous women and who now are inspiring the next generation. Many of them are now in the position to step into history and help bring more diversity to the decisions to be handed down in the next few years.