Outside Reading — Things That We Knew But Would Rather Forget edition

Who’s Afraid of Ketanji Brown Jackson? by Sherrilyn A. Ifill

Writing for The New York Times, Sherrilyn A. Ifill, the brilliant and insightful president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, draws from the historical record to explain the bad-faith arguments grounded in bigotry that can be expected in the weeks to come as the Grand Old Party voices its opposition to Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming a Supreme Court Justice. She also persuasively argues that there’s a tremendous and vital benefit to the different perspective the eminently qualified judge is bound to bring to the highest court in the land, quoting Justice Byron White’s admiring assessment of the contributions of his colleague Thurgood Marshall: “He characteristically would tell us things that we knew but would rather forget; and he told us much that we did not know due to the limitations of our own experience.”

Autherine Lucy Foster, First Black Student at U. of Alabama, Dies at 92 by Richard Goldstein

Here’s one of those things that the right wing of U.S. politics is actively engaged in trying to force the nation to forget. This obituary of Autherine Lucy Foster is understandably centered on her legacy as the first Black student at the University of Alabama, in 1956. Her time on campus last only three days, every one one of them marred by the loud bigotry of her new classmates and campus leaders, until she was suspended and then expelled on the basis of nonsensical infractions against the institution’s honor. In recent years, the university has been straining to make up for this ugly history by heaping honors upon Foster, including naming a building after her, in 2019. Up to that point, the structure bore the name of a former governor who was also a prominent leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Remember that the official veneration of hatemongers is not distant history.

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