UNITED KINGDOM: On Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered a keynote speech at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, commemorating the tragic deaths of four Black girls killed in a church bombing 60 years ago.
Jackson urged a commitment to preserving and educating about the history of racism and violence in the United States.
Jackson, the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, emphasized the importance of remembering such atrocities, cautioning against complacency and ignorance. She stated, “Our past is filled with too much violence, too much hatred, and too much prejudice, but can we really say that we are not confronting those same evils now?”
The 1963 dynamite bombing claimed the lives of four girls and played a pivotal role in the enactment of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Jackson’s speech comes amid ongoing debates in various states over history education curriculum, particularly in Florida, where restrictions on teaching topics related to racism and slavery have been imposed. Florida’s recent regulations on Black history education have drawn criticism for their focus on how enslaved individuals acquired skills for their “personal benefit.”
Governor Ron DeSantis, who leads Florida and is a Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, has also banned the teaching of “critical race theory” in the state’s schools and prohibited Advanced Placement courses in African American Studies earlier this year.
Jackson’s remarks echoed her opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision last year that essentially halted affirmative action admissions practices in colleges and institutions.
She characterized this ruling as “ostrich-like” and stressed the importance of knowledge and truth in addressing racism’s enduring legacy in the U.S.