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Justice Marshall's Retirement

July 07, 1991

The decision of Justice Marshall to retire saddened me. As an African-American lawyer and daughter of a judge who shared Marshall's beliefs, as I do, I feel that all Americans have lost a great voice. He, alone of late, safeguarded individual rights for all citizens. Justice Marshall's brilliant career demonstrated a profound admiration for our Constitution. He is correct when he states that it has been the "life, not the birth, of the Constitution that is the miracle." Such wisdom has been lost by his brethren on the Supreme Court, unless it suits their conservative purposes.

I was 6 years old when the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka school desegregation ruling was made. At age 9, I became the only black child in a school in a privileged white neighborhood of Philadelphia. My white classmates never rejected me. Rather, they opened their homes to me, broadening my views and theirs in the process. My experience helped me realize that my abilities equaled or exceeded those of my classmates. I never had cause to believe in black inferiority from then on.

THOMASINA M. REED

Los Angeles

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