Journal Entry 6: Thurgood Marshall

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Sixth Stop: Thurgood Marshall!

Why did I ask Toni to go with me to the play? There wasn’t a play and I needed to buy tickets. I searched the box office frantically and the only tickets I saw were for the Rocky show and the front seats were a lot of money but I was paying it. No matter what.

The next day, when I arrived at the bookstore, Toni wasn’t there yet. I was actually running late since I hate to stop in Manhattan to get the tickets for the play. To top of my running late, work was such a hassle because after all of the historical journeys, when certain things happened, I had a different perspective on what was actually taking place. While this helped me, it also brought about a sadness because I wished more people could take the journey.

“Hey Jared,” David greeted me, “You know where Toni is at?”

“No, you haven’t heard from her?” My skin started to perspire just a little.

“No. I thought she might have been with you. With your date and all.”

This was not good. Had she bailed because I asked her out? Did she have no intentions of going out with me ever? All these thoughts started to go through my mind as the time went on and she was a no show.

“You look like you could use one of my Mocha Frappe’s?” Candace interjected into my thoughts.

“Actually, I could.” I exhaled. “A large one.”

“Great, follow me.” She was always so happy and excited.

Kane had to be over the moon about having her on his team. Most of the guys I worked with were stressed, angry and on the verge of breakdowns.

After I had slurped down half of the large frappe, David said, “Looks like we’re going to have to get going.”

She was going to miss it. I was going to miss her and there would be no date. This was not looking like it was going to be my day.

Great.

“Can we wait a few more minutes? I know she wouldn’t want to miss this and I’m sure something has come up,” I hope my pleading wasn’t too noticeable.

David smirked and said, “That’s fine.”

It must have been noticeable.

As soon as he finished his words, the door chimed and in rushed Toni.

“WOW!” David whistled as all heads turned towards her as she floated towards us.

“Suga, you look absolutely incredible.” David beamed.

“Awww, thanks.” She exhaled loudly as if she had run a mile. “I was at the hairdressers and she had me under that dryer for hours it seemed. I actually was so engrossed with reading one of Frederick Douglass autobiography, I forgot the time. I ran here from the station.”

“It’s fine, suga. David made sure we waited.”

Toni turned towards me, but I was still stunned and hadn’t said anything as of yet. She looked utterly gorgeous. She had on a print flair dress that came to her mid-thigh, tall, print heels, and her hair was long and flowing like she had a press and curl or something. Her make-up was flawless and her perfume helped to paralyze me. Then she smiled.

Damn.

“Thanks,” she smiled which turned something on inside of me.

I had moved to the place where I was in her space and my hand reached up to tame a stray hair out of her face. My hand lingered and so did her eyes on mine.

“You look beautiful,” I finally said.

She was a darker woman but I saw the blush as her eyes diverted. On instinct, I grabbed her chin and lifted it back up. “Seriously, you’re gorgeous.”

“Thanks, Jared.”

“Well, now that that’s out the way. Let’s get moving.” David sounded far in the background.

******

We were in a large living room with an older man and woman and two boys. The men were arguing and the mother looked exasperated.

“The client was guilty as sin. He told the court his money dropped but he needed the food.” One of the young boys argued.

“That doesn’t equate guilt. There would need proof that he stole the food and not about the money dropping.” The other boy explained. “Dad, were there any other facts about the case?”

“Nope. This was the case, now you solve it.”

“Wait, there’s nothing to solve. He’s guilty.” The first boy yelled.

“Did he steal the food? Is there proof?” The second one yelled back.

“What proof? He was caught?” The first boy stood up.

“What the hell does that mean in these days. Anyone of us could be picked up for fitting the description.” The second boy stood up too.

“Oh, you’ve read the constitution. What, only five-thousand times because you stay in trouble.”

“Shut up,” the second boy yelled.

“Thurgood,” The man’s baritone voice overpowered the energy in the room. “Keep to the argument. Even if attacked personally. What is your argument?”

The boy looked at his father, then back at what could have been his brother and said, “Present the facts that he stole and we’ll have a case.”

He sat down and continued to cut into the pork chops.

The first one looked towards his father and asked, “Are there any facts?”

“None.”

The boy shrugged his shoulders and said, “I rest my case.”

“Thank God almighty,” the mother breathed. “Now, I can enjoy my meal.”

They all laughed and begin to eat.

Toni turned towards us with a smile on her face, “this must be Thurgood Marshall.”

David nodded his head.

“So, he and his family would debate cases ever since he was young,” I added.

“Yes, his father would listen to the cases at the courthouse and bring them back to discuss with his sons. They argued often and if they were ever in trouble, they had to recite the United States’ Constitution.  This honed his skills and knowledge of the law from an early age.”

“That was a good thing with all of his accomplishments.” Toni inserted. “I’ve studied law and what he brought to our society is often noted as more accomplished than Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X put together. My professor argued that Mr. Marshall’s accomplishments were more profound and impact our lives daily than those of the others. The class erupted in protest, but I get the concept.” Toni added.

“This is true. It’s not popular but with his key cases, Murray v. Pearson and Brown v. Board of Education, they have had a lasting and domino effect on our society.” David agreed. “Out of the three he’s not the most popular, but he was arguably just as dedicated to the cause.”

“Why show us this scene?” I had to ask.

“Well, Thurgood’s upbringing allotted him a significant advantage over his peers. He literally was arguing cases at a young age, even if they were to his family. His knowledge of the Constitution was probably bar none to his opponents. He reached the highest court there is to serve as a judge, The Supreme Court and that’s an honorable and significant achievement that went back to here.” He waved his hand in front of him. “Their struggle, their triumphs, their encounters made up who he was and what he stood for. Everyone doesn’t have to be poor and downcast to make an impact. However, training not only starts at home, but it should be cultivated and encouraged there as well.”

“Hmm.” Toni murmured. “So this was a family lesson?”

“No, it’s a life lesson,” David replied. “What you spend your time on, doing the most, what you invest in is where you’ll get your return. The same goes for children and adults of all ages. What you make a priority will be a priority.”

“Got it,” I replied.

The weirdest things came from these lessons, but they all made sense. Thurgood Marshall was so good because he was training for years before he actually was able to use some of those skills. The meaning could be anything but the one that came to mind is to never despise small beginnings. We are in constant preparation for what is to come, so when it does show up, we are ready to take it by the horns and excel beyond anyone’s imagination.

I nodded my head and repeated, “I get it.”

David smiled while Toni continued to watch the family eat and converse.

When we arrived back to the store, I turned towards Toni and asked, “Are you ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she beamed.

“Have fun you two.” David laughed.

“We will.” I placed my hand out for her to grab and hers met mine. “Let’s go.”

******

Thank you for experiencing Thurgood Marshall with us! We hope you stay tuned as we continue to explore various figures during this month and that you’ll take this snippet and learn more about Judge Marshall and his contribution to the legal and social community.

 

What’s next?

Day 7:

  • How do you think Toni’s and Jared’s date went?
  • Experience the next historical figure, Marian Anderson, the first African-American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera
  • Find out who Day 8 will feature